Honeywell shows off new airline radar system

August 18, 2012

Bad weather accounts for 70 percent of all aircraft delays, according to the FAA. Those delays are costly. But it’s not just delays, turbulence related event cost airlines millions of dollars a year in injuries and damages. KJZZ’s Al Macias reports on a new radar system that may help reduce delays and costs due to weather.

AL MACIAS: We’re on board a modified Boeing 757 that has just taken off from Phoenix Sky Harbor on a muggy afternoon with tall thunderheads in the distance. The pilots are flying into those clouds to show off a new weather radar system developed by Honeywell Technologies. Flying along at 32,000 feet the pilots can easily see the clouds and storms in front of them. This new system will tell them if there is lightning and hail inside those clouds. Honeywell says the new system provides a more comprehensive view of the weather that is much faster than satellite based radar systems, which may have up to a 20 minute delay. Alex Hagoo is the principal engineer for the IntuVue Weather Radar. He says the IntuVue system is on the plane and provides information in 20 seconds.

ALEX HAGOO: That’s the advantage of having the radar on the aircraft, because those information is happening right now.

MACIAS: On this trip Hagoo says the pilots received real-time information about lightning in the clouds ahead. Pilot Joe Duvall was once a commercial pilot. He now flies for Honeywell. He’s flown many test flights with this system.

JOE DUVALL: You have an easier way of avoiding those problems, you have an easier way of avoiding the turbulence. I can’t remember all the numbers we saw in there but it was about $150,000 per incident and that’s injuries and damage to the airplane.

MACIAS: Along with commercial airlines, the system is also being marketed to business jet manufacturers. The Honeywell plant in Deer Valley is producing the software packages for the business jets.

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