When Gulfstream’s G650 enters service later this year, pilots will find a pleasant surprise, a Honeywell RDR 4000 3-D weather radar that is far easier to operate than earlier systems. The radar has been flying for a few years on airliners, and the G650 is the first business jet application. New features just implemented on the RDR 4000 include turbulence detection, hail and lightning display and a new attenuation display.
A Hawker Beechcraft King Air B200GT crashed into a small hotel July 28 while on a daylight approach in poor weather to Francisco Alvares de Assis Airport (SBJF) in southeast Brazil. All eight people aboard the aircraft died in the accident, but nobody on the ground was injured or killed.
Vaisala, a provider of weather-measuring equipment and services, has upgraded the quality of its Global Lightning Dataset GLD360 “with greater location accuracy, improved polarity classification and peak current estimates,” according to the company.
Weather Services International (WSI) has released a new version (4.0) of its Fusion software, which it bills as a “workflow-based aviation-planning/decision-support tool.” The latest version adds more meteorological features, including an easy-to-understand graphic presentation of weather events and conditions.
Taking a proactive approach toward the anti-icing regulations proposed by the FAA in June 2010–and still unscheduled for adoption into the FARs–Spirit AeroSystems (Booth No. C11720) has been working with Wichita State University and an undisclosed supplier to develop two new anti-icing systems for nacelles surrounding large aircraft engines.
Weather was not my best subject in flight school, though I readily accepted its importance for pilots. On the FAA written exam for my ATP, six of the eight questions I got wrong were about weather.
Three helicopters being used to warm crops against cold temperatures and frost overnight in Western Palm Beach County, Fla., crashed in the early morning hours of December 8 in separate accidents between 2:10 and 7:40 a.m. The accidents involved two Robinson R44s and one Bell 206L-3. Only the pilot of the 206, the most extensively damaged of the three aircraft, sustained serious injuries.
The FAA’s Draft Advisory Circular 20-147A released last month provides new guidance to aircraft manufacturers on compliance with regulations covering engine induction system icing and engine installation ice requirements. Comments on the draft AC are due by November 1.
Progression in the development of both aircraft and their systems have made it so that in many cases pilots manage the systems more than they handle the airplane. However, old-fashioned piloting skills remain as essential as ever since such systems can be affected by interference from outside sources such as the sun–a vulnerability that might rear its head quite soon.
Pilots who like the XM satellite weather products WxWorx delivers to cockpit displays might like to access the same weather products on their office or portable computers. WxWorx has released the new WxWorx Online QuikLink subscription service so pilots can do just that. Like the airborne products, the QuikLink online service comes in three sizes and monthly fees, Wings ($14.99), Wings Plus ($24.99) and Wings Elite ($49.99).