Easyjet announce new technology to help AVOID ash cloud
June 4th, 2010 by elisa

Easyjet made an announcement today that it is to trial new in-plane technology that will detect ash clouds and allow pilots to fly round them.

The ash radar is known as AVOID (Airborne Volcanic Identifier and Detector) and if proven to work, it could end to the chaos caused by Eyjafjallajokull’s glacier.

Easyjet is the first to use the technology which works like a weather radar and uses infra red technology to send pictures to pilots and flight control centres which allow them to see an ash cloud 62 miles ahead.

It’s been invented by Dr Fred Prata of the Norwegian Institute for Air Research and will mean that the large areas of airspace previously shut down as a cautionary measure will now be allowed to be open as pilots will be able to change route before hitting an area of ash.

Easyjet chief executive Andy Harrison said: “The ash detector will enable our aircraft to see and avoid the ash cloud, just like airborne weather radars and weather maps make thunderstorms visible.”

The first test flight is to be carried out by Airbus on behalf of Easyjet within two months, using an Airbus 340 test aircraft. Subject to the results of these tests, Easyjet intends to trial the technology on its own aircraft with a view to installing it on enough aircraft to minimise future disruption from ash.

Also this week airlines have been asking for the new government to compensate them for the lost earnings during the ash cloud crisis, as they claim that the situation was mishandled by the CAA.

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