Understanding the Power of the
Schneider Electric Enhanced Flight
Hazard Products
John Thivierge, Aviation Product Manager...
2
One of the challenges facing flight planners and flight dispatchers is the lack of access to reliable and
timely flight ...
3
The enhanced turbulence forecast is an eddy dissipation rate (EDR) based forecast that integrates mountain
wave, boundar...
4
An aviation professional making decisions based on this limited set of information would likely to be overly cautious
wi...
5
With specific information that eliminates guesswork, the Schneider Electric Enhanced EDR-Based Turbulence
forecast produ...
6
Figure 4 shows an example of icing conditions over North America based on the small aircraft category
and using the max ...
7
Flight-level specific. As with the turbulence product, the icing forecasts offer multiple individual flight levels
(FL05...
8
Thunderstorms create some of the most intense turbulence and icing known to aviators.
Avoidance is the best strategy, an...
9
Max top value. Instead of identifying multiple flight levels, the enhanced thunderstorm forecast provides a max
top valu...
November 2013
©2013SchneiderElectric.Allrightsreserved.
Schneider Electric USA, Inc.
1390 Piccard Drive., Suite 200,
Rockv...
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Understanding the Power of the Schneider Electric Enhanced Flight Hazard Products

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One of the challenges facing flight planners and flight dispatchers is the lack of access to reliable and timely flight hazards information needed to make informed decisions. Traditional flight hazard forecasts are categorical, providing general ‘light’, ‘moderate’, or ‘severe’ descriptions. They cover large geographical areas that force flight planners and flight dispatchers to make assumptions or route around large areas — adding time and cost to the flight.

This non-specificity leaves the user to interpret the severity, timing, and location of the potential flight disruption. To eliminate guesswork and increase safe and efficient operations, aviation businesses need flight hazard forecasts that are timely, accurate and granular.

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Understanding the Power of the Schneider Electric Enhanced Flight Hazard Products

  1. 1. Understanding the Power of the Schneider Electric Enhanced Flight Hazard Products John Thivierge, Aviation Product Manager, Weather; Schneider Electric Make the most of your energySM
  2. 2. 2 One of the challenges facing flight planners and flight dispatchers is the lack of access to reliable and timely flight hazards information needed to make informed decisions. Traditional flight hazard forecasts are categorical, providing general ‘light’, ‘moderate’, or ‘severe’ descriptions. They cover large geographical areas that force flight planners and flight dispatchers to make assumptions or route around large areas — adding time and cost to the flight. This non-specificity leaves the user to interpret the severity, timing, and location of the potential flight disruption. To eliminate guesswork and increase safe and efficient operations, aviation businesses need flight hazard forecasts that are timely, accurate and granular. State-of-the-art information technology now makes such forecasts available. Schneider Electric, which previously operated as four well-known brands — Kavouras, Meteorlogix, DTN, and Telvent — has invested in both science and technology during the past several years to develop and patent new flight hazards forecast methods and bring this much needed innovation to the aviation industry. Enhanced forecasts for turbulence, icing and thunderstorms provide the accuracy and resolution needed for safer and more efficient airline, corporate flight and helicopter operations. The new forecast data is available in both graphical and digital formats for use in flight-following, flight-planning and decision-support systems. Using the new technology, routes can now be optimized based on user-defined variables. Schneider Electric uses a meteorologically-based global weather data model that provides forecasts every three hours for the next 36 hours. A high-definition North America model updates hourly for the next 18 hours for the entire flight hazards forecast suite. The use of high definition, 0.5 degree weather models allows Schneider Electric to provide the most precise forecasts on the market today, giving flight planners the ability to better plan future or long-duration flights on a global basis with a high degree of confidence. The system, rooted in science, will help users maximize efficiency as well as increase flight safety. Enhanced forecasts better serve aviation
  3. 3. 3 The enhanced turbulence forecast is an eddy dissipation rate (EDR) based forecast that integrates mountain wave, boundary layer, convective, and clear air turbulence (CAT) into a single forecast product. It reflects the rate at which the turbulence energy is absorbed by breaking down eddies into smaller and smaller eddies until it is ultimately converted into heat by viscous forces. Quantitative data. Today, the aviation community typically utilizes a qualitative turbulence forecast that defines large areas (both vertically and horizontally) with forecast areas denoted as light, moderate or severe. As an International Civic Aviation Organization (ICAO) standard, EDR is an atmospheric turbulence metric and provides a quantitative measurement of turbulence based on a scale from zero to one. Aircraft specific. EDR-based turbulence forecasts relate to EDR thresholds set by manufacturers that vary from aircraft to aircraft. For example, a forecasted value of 0.4 EDR would have a greater effect on a smaller aircraft than on a large-body aircraft. In this way, the EDR turbulence forecast defines the specific aircraft types at risk by the turbulence. Table 1 indicates ICAO’s mapping of EDR values to traditional turbulence categorical values. The EDR values given below describe the severity levels for a medium-sized transport aircraft under typical en-route conditions. With average EDR values, it is not specific to aircraft types; operators should consult with the manufacturer to determine the EDR that reflects risk for a particular aircraft. Flight-level specific. This feature of Schneider Electric’s enhanced forecasting provides turbulence forecasts for flight levels 050, 100, 125, 180, 240, 270, 300, 320, 340, 370, 390, 450 and 530. Better decision-making. How does EDR optimize route planning and flight following in a real-life flight situation? Figure 1 shows a traditionally sourced World Area Forecast Center (WAFC) prognostic chart that provides a very broad overview of potentially hazardous en-route weather — and leaves much open to interpretation and guesswork from end users. It forecasts a large area of potential turbulence west of Hudson Bay from below FL250 and up to FL350. It also shows large areas of thunderstorm activity with embedded cumulonimbus (CB), implying severe turbulence, east of Florida. Turbulence EDR Value Categorical Value 0.10 Light 0.40 Moderate 0.70 Severe Table 1. Sample Table mapping EDR to categorical values1 1 Source : ICAO Annex 3 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation Eighteenth edition Feb 2013 Figure 1. Standard High Level SIGWX chart u
  4. 4. 4 An aviation professional making decisions based on this limited set of information would likely to be overly cautious with longer re-routes or unnecessary flight cancellations — both of which increase operating costs. Further, information is not specific to the type of aircraft operating in these areas; a Boeing 747-400 and an Embraer 190 operating in the same sector will be affected in a drastically different way by the same turbulence event. In contrast, the new EDR turbulence forecasts for the same forecast period, based on Schneider Electric’s scientific model, are more precise and aircraft agnostic — and can help with better and more informed decisions. Figure 2 shows well-defined areas of turbulence, as well as intensity, for the same areas as the WAFC chart, including forecast turbulence off the East Coast. Further, it specifies turbulence from FL240-FL530. Figure 3 illustrates the additional analysis available from Schneider Electric, utilizing the multiple-flight-levels information and based on the same scientific calculations and weather models behind the forecasts shown in Figure 2. It shows how the forecast turbulence activity varies significantly at different flight levels, due to jet stream activity west of Hudson Bay. This detail allows users to better plan cruising levels and avoid potentially hazardous turbulence for aircraft. With better resolution of forecast turbulence areas, better focus on specific Flight Levels, and identification of the turbulence force associated with a specific type of aircraft, users can eliminate the interpretation needed when just referencing Figure 1. Figure 2. Schneider Electric EDR Turbulence Forecast FL240-FL530 u
  5. 5. 5 With specific information that eliminates guesswork, the Schneider Electric Enhanced EDR-Based Turbulence forecast product is an invaluable tool in today’s busy aviation workplace where quick decisions based on reliable and timely information are critical. For many pilots, aircraft icing is one of the most dangerous in-flight hazards. To date, icing forecasts have been one-size-fits-all. Aerodynamic icing studies show that different aircraft accumulate ice differently, even in the same meteorological environment. Therefore, the generic icing forecasts available to the aviation community today do not offer the level of aircraft specificity needed to make the best flight decisions, forcing aviation professionals to look at multiple forecasts and make judgment calls based on limited information. To address this situation, Schneider Electric has developed a universal and objective quantitative metric for aircraft performance loss that can be applied to ice accumulation for specific airfoils. Objective approach. The enhanced icing forecast product uses the icing calculations based on National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) research on ice accretion specific to individual air foils to analyze the resulting performance losses. With this method, Schneider Electric creates aircraft-specific icing forecasts. Categories based on aircraft type. The icing product allows users to better view icing conditions in relation to their aircraft type. Aircraft are all grouped in three separate categories: small, medium, and large. The aircraft used in the examples below for each of the categories are a Beechcraft King-Air, Embraer 145 and a Boeing 737, respectively. Schneider Electric can also provide guidance to help classify aircraft types in these three categories. Aircraft-specific icing forecasts remove much of the ambiguity inherent in today’s ‘one-size-fits-all’ icing forecasts and help identify when a particular aircraft might be more vulnerable to icing than the forecast indicates. Icing
  6. 6. 6 Figure 4 shows an example of icing conditions over North America based on the small aircraft category and using the max combined icing layers. In this example, the tooltip identifies a base and top for the icing conditions. Figure 5 shows icing for the medium aircraft category, and Figure 6 shows icing for large aircraft. Please note the differences in icing intensity based on the aircraft types, as currently the only information available is generic categorical values that need to be interpreted by the users. Figure 4. North America icing for small aircraft category u Figure 5. North America icing for medium aircraft category u
  7. 7. 7 Flight-level specific. As with the turbulence product, the icing forecasts offer multiple individual flight levels (FL050, 100, 140, 180, 240, 270) as well as a combined max layer to better optimize flight cruising levels. Figure 7 shows how multiple flight levels can be used to better guide aircraft through potentially hazardous icing areas. Figure 6. North America icing for large aircraft category u Figure 7. North America icing for medium aircraft category for multiple Flight Levels FL050 FL140 FL180FL240
  8. 8. 8 Thunderstorms create some of the most intense turbulence and icing known to aviators. Avoidance is the best strategy, and accurate thunderstorm forecasts help aircraft avoid or minimize the storm hazards. Experienced forecasters use many subjective and objective tools to forecast convection locations; but, at best, they specify a time range of several hours over which convection will occur. Flight planners and followers would benefit greatly if more precise storm timing was available. Schneider Electric is now able to provide this advanced forecast desperately needed by the aviation community. More precise area and time period. As with the turbulence and icing products, the Schneider Electric thunderstorm product offers multiple forecast periods to better plan or follow flights before and after departure. As shown in Figure 1, traditional sources provide ’generic‘ forecasted convective activity over large areas, for a six-hour period. The enhanced thunderstorm forecast also identifies precise areas with intensity, allowing the flight tracker to make small corrections to flights instead of avoiding large areas. Figure 8 shows forecast convective activity represented in a color-coded, radar-like view that allows users in flight planning and flight following to quickly identify areas of flight risk. Thunderstorms Figure 8. The enhanced thunderstorm forecast identifies precise areas with intensity Figure 9. Max Top value is provided with the Thunderstorm forecast product
  9. 9. 9 Max top value. Instead of identifying multiple flight levels, the enhanced thunderstorm forecast provides a max top value that indicates the top most altitude forecasted for that area of thunderstorms. Intensity indication. As shown in Figure 9, the thunderstorm forecast also identifies the ’intensity‘ of the thunderstorm, measured in meters per second of vertical velocity. Convective turbulence and icing are best correlated to storm draft speeds or vertical velocity; the higher the updraft velocity, the higher the accompanying turbulence and icing. Without that associated turbulence and icing, thunderstorms would hardly be hazardous to aircraft. Any forecasted vertical velocity values less than 15 meters/second can be considered moderate, values from 15 to 50 could be considered severe, and anything greater than 50 meters/second should be considered extreme. The enhanced thunderstorm forecasts use a color scale as shown in Figure 10 that helps the user easily identify vertical velocity values. Figure 10. Scale of thunderstorm forecast intensity
  10. 10. November 2013 ©2013SchneiderElectric.Allrightsreserved. Schneider Electric USA, Inc. 1390 Piccard Drive., Suite 200, Rockville, MD 20850 Phone: 1-301-354-5566 Fax: 1-301-354-5567 http://www.schneider-electric.com/us

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