INTERNATIONAL Air Transport Association (IATA) has launched its Turbulence Aware data resource which can help airlines to avoid turbulence when planning route tactically in flight.
Turbulence Aware augments an airline’s ability to forecast and avoid turbulence by pooling and sharing (in real time)
According to IATA, airlines rely upon pilot reports and weather advisories to mitigate the impact of turbulence on their operations. These tools—while effective—have limitations due to the fragmentation of the data sources, inconsistencies in the level and quality of information available, and the locational imprecision and the subjectivity of the observations.
For example, there is no standardized scale for the severity of turbulence that a pilot may report other than a light, moderate or severe scale, which becomes very subjective among different-sized aircraft and pilot experience.
IATA director general and chief executive officer Alexandre de Juniac said “Turbulence Aware is a great example of the potential for digital transformation in the airline industry.
“The airline industry has always cooperated on safety—its number one priority. Big data is now turbocharging what we can achieve.
“In the case of Turbulence Aware, the more precise forecasting of turbulence will provide a real improvement for passengers, whose journeys will be even safer and more comfortable,” he said.
Turbulence, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is air movement that normally cannot be seen and often occurs unexpectedly. It can be created by many different conditions, including atmospheric pressure, jet streams, air around mountains, cold or warm weather fronts or thunderstorms. Turbulence can even occur when the sky appears to be clear.
While turbulence is normal and happens often, it can be dangerous. Its bumpy ride can cause passengers who are not wearing their seat belts to be thrown from their seats without warning.
IATA’S Turbulence Aware improves on the industry’s capabilities by collecting data from multiple contributing airlines, followed by a rigorous quality control. Then the data is consolidated into a single, anonymized, objective source database which is accessible to participants.
Turbulence Aware data is turned into actionable information when it is fed into an airline’s dispatch or airborne alerting systems. The result is the first global, real-time, detailed and objective information for pilots and operations professionals to manage turbulence.
According to FAA, turbulence is the leading cause of injuries to passengers and crew in non-fatal accidents and the challenge of managing turbulence is expected to grow as climate change continues to impact weather patterns. This has implications for both safety and efficiency offlight.
Turbulence Aware is already generating significant interest among airlines. Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and Aer Lingus have signed contracts; Delta is already contributing their data to the program.
The first operational version of the platform will be developed by end of 2018. Operationaltrials will run throughout 2019, with on-going feedback collection fromparticipating airlines. The final product will be launched in early 2020.