Aviation weather will be easier to navigate thanks to a new radar system
Not much bothers me after 40 years in aviation. I’ve seen the engine failures, the maintenance issues, the diversions. But I have to admit, I have a very healthy respect (fear?) for aviation weather, specifically big, booming thunderstorms. Don’t get me wrong – I love the beauty, power and magnificence of an afternoon summer storm, but only if I’m safely on the ground, or in flight with a high tech radar.
Fortunately, Honeywell has just received FAA TSO approval for the all-new IntuVue RDR-7000 (even the name makes me feel safer) and pilots may finally be getting the upper hand with weather avoidance. The latest and most advanced addition to the IntuVue advanced radar system will bring advanced radar capabilities to more aircraft, allowing pilots to safely circumnavigate hazardous weather.
The technology has been available to large commercial and military aircraft, but the new version will reach out to smaller platforms, such as regional and business jets and even helicopters. The IntuVue radar shows a vertical view of thunderstorms, providing pilots with an intuitive view of the upcoming weather in their flight path.
This new weather radar can accurately display lightning and hail (yes, I said hail) up to 160 NM in front of the aircraft. It can also detect turbulence up to 60 miles ahead and windshear up to 5 miles ahead. Where do I sign up?
The secret sauce in this technology is the 3-D volumetric scanning, which enables the radar to analyze a storm cloud in 17 different scans from the ground up to 60,000 feet! The best part of this radar is its fully automatic operation, allowing the pilot to concentrate on finding the safest route through the weather, instead of spending his/her time messing with the tilt and gain and all that busywork.
Any reduction in pilot workload while transitioning through an area of potentially severe aviation weather will have a positive impact on the safety of the flight. I look forward to the day when this type of radar is standard on most airplanes – hopefully I’ll still be flying then!