A University of Iowa engineer and researcher is looking for a few good pilots. They’re looking for pilots who are familiar with not only flying in instrument conditions — cloudy weather — but also with weather-radar equipment onboard. They’re testing a new display concept by Rockwell Collins that should help pilots make better decisions when bad weather gets in their way and they have to choose a new route. The volunteer “test pilots” will fly in the lab, in a simulator equipped with the new weather-data system. Dr. Schnell says this is a test project for equipment that’ll be used in commercial airliners and possibly smaller business jets. Most now have weather radar, good for a hundred miles out, and they’re testing a combination a combination of that radar and data-link computer information like NEXRAD radar that can give a picture from far around in all directions. Engineer Mike Keller is also working on the study and says the main goal is to cut down on the delays that plague air travel. Despite a lot of technologies, he says weather delays are a big problem and this could be a tool to cut delays and get pilots where they’re going as safely as possible. They study’s underway now and they hope to find 12 commercially-rated pilots to take part. For details see the project’s website at http://opl.ecn.uiowa.edu/awids/
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