Hanscom Field in Bedford, Mass., has been recognized for outstanding achievement in airport snow removal and ice control. The general aviation facility received the Northeast Chapter of the American Association of Airports’ Balchen/Post Award, which recognizes the dedicated efforts of snow crews in maintaining airports in a safe and operational status during the winter. Hanscom Field recorded more than 69 inches of snow during the 2012 to 2013 winter season, significantly more than the airport’s average of 47 inches, and crews responded to 17 storms during that time.
In response to the powerful tornado that ravaged areas of Oklahoma City on Monday, business aviation charity Sky Hope Network has organized a community relief fund to aid several aviation professionals who lost their homes and also the family of an FAA title examiner who was killed in the tornado. In its first day, the campaign raised nearly $10,000, all of which will be distributed directly to the victims. Donations can be made through June 1 via Sky Hope’s website.
The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) began a month-long test last week aimed at better predicting when and where thunderstorms might tear their way across Colorado’s Front Range and adjacent Great Plains region. The research uses high-altitude aircraft to improve storm lead times, especially in the crucial six- to 24-hour window before storm formation.
As thunderstorm season approaches in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s worth remembering how weather-radar technology has improved in the past three decades. Southern Airways Flight 242, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9, crashed in Pauling County outside Atlanta on April 4, 1977, after flying directly into a severe thunderstorm, calling attention to the then little understood issue of radar signal attenuation in areas of heavy precipitation.
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.
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.
Honeywell won a $49 million contract to upgrade the National Weather Service’s ground-radar, wind-profiler network that will predict severe storms earlier and provide more accurate warnings of upcoming storms. Honeywell’s work on the production phase of the next-generation NOAA wind-profiler network includes upgrading the NOAA network of wind profilers that provide upper air wind data for crucial weather forecasting tasks.
The National Convective Weather Forecast (NCWF), which combines National Weather Service (NWS) radar mosaics and cloud-to-ground lightning data into a
six-color hazardous weather depiction, is now available on the Internet and the NWS information networks.
Mitsubishi MU-2B-40, Bunnell, Fla., Aug. 25, 2006–The NTSB determined that the crash of the MU-2 resulted from an inadvertent encounter with thunderstorms. The commercial pilot, cruising at FL280, had received a sigmet about convective activity. His onboard weather radar was working, and Jacksonville Center was equipped with Nexrad-derived weather displays, which indicated weak to moderate echoes above FL240.
Some pilots don’t look forward to flying in bad weather, but helicopter pilot and TV news reporter Johnny Rowlands actually fires up his Bell JetRanger and goes after the very worst in bad weather. Twice in May, on the 4th and 8th, Rowlands used “NewsChopper 9,” KMBC-TV’s Bell JetRanger, to track tornadoes that were savaging the Kansas City area, destroying property and killing people.
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