Air Transport World

Airline technology award: AlliedSignal. (1995 company of the year, AlliedSignal Commercial Avionics Systems)

Most experienced pilots know that awful feeling of unexpected lightness in the pit of the storeach during approach or takeoff, when the airplane seems overly attracted to the ground. In its more humerous and benign forms, it is an irritating wind shift; in its most dangerous aspect, it is a microburst, a concentrated fury of nature focusing power on a small area. A low-altitude encounter with such phenomena has potentially fatal consequences.

Airlines train pilots to avoid downbursts by visual recognition of wind-shear patterns and teach survival techniques for dealing with accidental encounters. But this is not always adequate. A tool was needed in the airplane that would give pilots adequate warning of a wind shear BEFORE the aircraft physically entered one. …

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