Delta Pilots Are Using a New App to Help Them Spot and Avoid Turbulence
It’s also helping the airline to save on fuel costs.
Delta has made a big step forward in improving its technology with a new turbulence tracker that is helping to reduce its carbon footprint and give customers a smoother ride.
In a blog post, Delta Air Lines revealed the success of its new rough air finder. Launched in April, Delta’s Flight Weather Viewer app gives pilots real-time radar readings of air flow patterns and can predict where turbulence will hit—right on the flight deck.
Pilots enter their flight plan data and the app gives them a color-coded map showing where turbulence can be expected—and can help them make more informed decisions on how to avoid it. Typically a pilot only has four options: ascend, descend, slow down, or change the route.
According to Delta, the data is “customized by aircraft type, since turbulence affects a 737 narrow body differently than a much larger A330. It is also available in real time, thanks to fast and secure connectivity via Gogo’s in-flight Wi-Fi network, instead of through the traditional ACARS digital datalink system that’s been in place since the late 1970s.”
The app was created for Delta by Basic Commerce and Industries, a defense contractor that has developed technology for the FAA as well as missile defense systems and aircraft carriers. It is also currently working on adding features to the app that will allow pilots to detect lightning, hail, and volcanic ash.
The new technology being used to create live turbulence reports and forecasts has been patented and is recognized by the FAA and the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
Delta also posted an infographic called Delta Talks Turbulence on its website that explains the causes of turbulence.
According to NASA’s Weather Accident Prevention Project, turbulence costs airlines a combined $100 million every year in extra fuel costs. It’s also one of the leading causes of airsickness and in-flight injuries. Earlier this month, severe turbulence injured 22 passengers and two crew members aboard a JetBlue flight that was forced to have an emergency landing in Rapid City, South Dakota.