OK, so we all know that no one ever does anything more than talk about the weather. But the folks at the National Weather Service’s aviation branch are doing their best to make sure that when they do talk about the aviation climate, at least the dialogue is as accurate as possible.
As the crow flies, the distance between Baltimore and Newark is only about 160 mi. But during the height of thunderstorm season, when lines of towering cumulus march eastward–often erupting into wide, impenetrable walls of rain, turbulence and lightning–the distance can easily double, while travel times can triple.
The Honeywell weather information network (WINN), compared by some to a veritable Weather Channel for the cockpit, is now available to major and regional airlines following completion of a four-month trial in an Airbus A320.
Twelve aircraft, including five commercial and several corporate jets, were damaged during a severe thunderstorm that ripped through Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on July 14, ushering in the Arizona monsoon season and shutting down the airport for three hours. The north runway remained closed until noon the next day.
The Los Angeles board of airport commissioners awarded a $2.15 million contract to Jacobs Consultancy for a three-year study to evaluate air pollution emissions and their impact on surrounding communities. The study begins in June and includes installation of 11 air-monitoring stations in the LAX area and collection of data for 12 months.
While the term space weather may at first invoke visions of Capt. Kirk and his starship Enterprise encountering ion storms, it is in reality something which affects radio communications, satellite transmissions and signals intelligence. And because HF radio is particularly susceptible, it often forces airlines and any other aircraft operating on polar routes to switch to different tracks, and sometimes make unscheduled fuel stops.
A preliminary report issued by the UK Air Accidents Investigation Board on the January 4 crash of Challenger 604 N90AG at Birmingham, England, raises a suspicion that frost or ice on the wing may have been a factor. The aircraft, operated by Epps Aviation of Atlanta on behalf of agricultural machinery manufacturer Agco, had arrived the previous evening at 8:39 p.m. after a nonstop flight from West Palm Beach, Fla.
A 32-year-old advisory circular still used as the basis for showing compliance with in-flight icing protection rules is currently undergoing an “extensive” revision, and the FAA has published a draft version of it for comments. The objective of the revision, said the agency, is to provide a “uniform and modern” means of compliance with regulations for ice-protection requirements.
Weather satellites equipped to detect emergency locator transmitters helped rescue an estimated 1,500 sailors, hikers, downed pilots and others around the world last year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Its satellites, along with Russia’s Cospas satellites, form an international search-and-rescue system. NOAA said the 171 U.S.