Published on Friday, June 4, 2010

Easyjet to pioneer ash cloud detector

Easyjet is to trial in-plane technology that will detect ash clouds and allow pilots to fly round them.
The ash radar is known as AVOID (Airbourne Volcanic Identifier and Detector) and could spell an end to the chaos caused by Eyjafjallajokull’s glacier.
The airline is the first to use the technology which works like a weather radar and uses infra red technology to send pictures to pilots and flight control centres which allow them to see an ash cloud 62 miles ahead.
The technology, invented by Dr Fred Prata of the Norwegian Institute for Air Research, will mean that huge areas of air space shut down during times when ash clouds have been spotted would now be opened up for flying.
EasyJet chief executive Andy Harrison said: "This pioneering technology is the silver bullet that will make large-scale ash disruption history.
“The ash detector will enable our aircraft to see and avoid the ash cloud, just like airborne weather radars and weather maps make thunderstorms visible.”
This week airlines have been calling for the new government to compensate them over lost earnings during the ash cloud crisis, claiming mishandling of the situation by the CAA.
By Dinah Hatch

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