Researchers help predict turbulence

German researchers develop a turbulence detection system

As reported by AVweb German researchers have designed a light detection and ranging (LIDAR) instrument, as a way to see clear air turbulence ahead of the plane. The system uses lasers mounted to the aircraft which send a short-wave ultraviolet laser radiation into the air and measures backscatter from air molecules to determine the air density, from differentials in the density it can provide information on the state of turbulence in the air ahead of the aircraft. The technology is still being tested in Germany.

Use of LIDAR to detect clear air turbulence was developed as a European project demonstration of LIDAR based Clear Air Turbulence detection (DELICAT). A Cessna Citation was used to test the system. The team would like to make a turbulence detection system that can be integrated into aircraft, allowing accurate prediction of turbulence for pilots and making it easier to warn passengers.