Tailored weather research could offer airlines big cost savings and ease air-traffic-management (ATM) planning tasks for agencies such as Eurocontrol, according to the UK Meteorological Office. The Bracknell, UK-based weather centre is about to offer contract services to organisations which it believes could benefit from the availability of targeted weather data.

Bob Lunnon, head of Bracknell's Aviation Applications Research Department, says that meteorological research, tailored to an airline's specific route structure, has the potential to save a carrier time and money. European ATM could benefit from research into how much airspace use could be gained if visual meteorological conditions (VMC) separation were accepted in instrument-flight-rules (IFR) airspace in good weather. Products which he predicts Bracknell will offer include:

- precise wind information for particular routes and exact heights;

- prediction of optimum routing with calculated time-savings;

- prediction of variability of route times;


- site-specific windshear forecasts, and analysis of aerodrome windshear problems;

- improved forecasting of low cloud over hills;

- improved icing conditions forecasting, with details of specific requirements for pre-take-off ground de-icing;

- improved forecast of triggered lightning conditions for offshore helicopter operations, and analysis of the likelihood of triggered lightning conditions;

- site-specific forecasts of runway friction co-efficients.

Source: Flight International