Sferic Solutions: Mitigating weather-related risk
While aviation technology and policies are ever-changing, there is one factor that will always be an issue: The weather. High winds, heavy rains, hail, and lightning all endanger aviation equipment, passengers, and crew. Anuj Agrawal, CMO of Earth Networks, explains how Earth Networks mitigates weather-related risk and streamlines aviation operations.
How do advanced weather detection and visualisation technologies benefit airport operations?
Poor weather-related decision-making is not only dangerous to people and equipment, but also to reputation and operations. When so much rests on making the right decision, increasing numbers of aviation businesses are turning toward weather detection and visualisation technologies. Earth Networks recently introduced Sferic Solutions to help airport operations professionals manage severe weather. Our tools, which are powered by our unique total lightning network (ENTLN), help aviation operations to:
- Make critical weather-related decisions
- Access high-quality weather data
- Stay weather alert
- Streamline operations
- Comply with safety regulations
One client that experiences these benefits is ENAV. The quality of Earth Networks’ weather and lightning data made ENAV’s choice for severe-weather safety in their Italian, European, and North African air spaces very easy. Approximately one year into using Earth Networks, a dangerous situation developed in their airspace.
In February 2016 an unexpected storm developed over Linate Airport. The use of Earth Networks technologies allowed personnel to alert ATC prior to the event’s onset and meant they could track the storm cell movement.
Why do your clients need severe weather visualisation and alerting capabilities for ground side operations?
Groundside operations incidents are just as common and can be even more dangerous than in air incidents. While in the air, passengers and crew are normally protected by the exterior of the plane. On the ground, however, refuelling crews, baggage crews, and other critical personnel are in direct danger.
We’ve been working with Orlando International Airport for approximately seven years and have improved their on-time performance; streamlined operations; and increased safety on the tarmac, in the towers, and throughout the airport. Sferic Maps allows the landside operations to see storm systems as they move through Florida, thus enabling them to make better operations decisions. Accessing updated, local weather conditions, watching weather as it happens in real-time, and receiving prompt alerts on a web-based system during weather events, is significant. It allows our airport operations customers to respond more efficiently in providing information and to make decisions that keep safety as our number one priority.
How important is safety compliance when it comes to deciding on a weather detection and visualisation solution?
A big concern for aviation operations around the globe is compliance. Different regions have different guidelines or policies when it comes to severe weather conditions and various operations. For example, Parts 23 and 25 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) in the U.S. state that crews should not refuel aircraft when lightning is within five miles of the airport, due to the fact that it can ignite fuel vapours in the air. Airport regulatory agencies around the world have similar policies designed to keep ground crew safe during dangerous weather. Burlington International Airport, located in Vermont, U.S., is one of the many U.S. airports that rely on our Outdoor Alerting System to set alert parameters for when lightning moves too close.
About Anuj Agrawal
Anuj Agrawal heads up Earth Networks marketing and product management teams, and is responsible for global marketing, product development, and demand generation programmes.