Moderators: richierich, ua900, PanAm_DC10, hOMSaR

 
Sokes
Topic Author
Posts: 1646
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:48 pm

History of weather radar on commercial airliners

Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:27 am

Google doesn't give good results. Anybody knows something about it?
Why can't the world be a little bit more autistic?
 
User avatar
fr8mech
Posts: 8061
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 9:00 am

Re: History of weather radar on commercial airliners

Mon Jun 08, 2020 12:40 pm

I typed in “history airborne weather radar”

This was the first return:

http://aea.net/avionicsnews/anarchives/ ... eradar.pdf

I make no claim as to its accuracy.

You may get better, more specific answers if you ask better questions. Your question is overly broad.
When seconds count, the police are minutes away, or may not come at all.
It’s hard to win an argument with a smart person, but it’s damn near impossible to win an argument with a stupid person. ~B. Murray
Ego Bibere Capulus, Ut Aliis Sit Vivere
 
Sokes
Topic Author
Posts: 1646
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:48 pm

Re: History of weather radar on commercial airliners

Mon Jun 08, 2020 2:45 pm

fr8mech wrote:
I typed in “history airborne weather radar”

This was the first return:

http://aea.net/avionicsnews/anarchives/ ... eradar.pdf

I make no claim as to its accuracy.

You may get better, more specific answers if you ask better questions. Your question is overly broad.

Why do you think the question "Anybody knows something about the history of weather radar on commercial airliners?" is overly broad?
Why can't the world be a little bit more autistic?
 
BravoOne
Posts: 4094
Joined: Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:27 pm

Re: History of weather radar on commercial airliners

Mon Jun 08, 2020 3:28 pm

Sokes wrote:
fr8mech wrote:
I typed in “history airborne weather radar”

This was the first return:

http://aea.net/avionicsnews/anarchives/ ... eradar.pdf

I make no claim as to its accuracy.

You may get better, more specific answers if you ask better questions. Your question is overly broad.

Why do you think the question "Anybody knows something about the history of weather radar on commercial airliners?" is overly broad?



Regardless, WXR radar started showing up on US airliners around 1955/56 time period. It was not uncommon to see "Radar Equipped" stenciled on the fuselage near the boarding doors as airlines wanted to promote its potential safety feature. The range was not more than say 80NM when first introduced. I think RCA was one of the most prolific manaufactures back during that time period. I assume they were either bought, or merged with another avionics mfg. sometime around the early 60's.

At some point in time radar was mandated by the FAA for 121 pasenger operations. Freighters were exempted for awhile longer. I can recall crossing the western range and down over Nebraska in the early am hours in a non radar equipped L1049H with TS all around and the airplane lit up like a Roman candle. It must have been a sight to see if could have viewed it from a distance.
 
BravoOne
Posts: 4094
Joined: Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:27 pm

Re: History of weather radar on commercial airliners

Mon Jun 08, 2020 4:14 pm

At the 16:04 mark on this video you can see an early radar installation on the 1049H Connie. The scope retracted into a storage space in the floor when not in use. Pretty crude by todays standards, but cutting edge stuff in the late fifties.
 
BravoOne
Posts: 4094
Joined: Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:27 pm

Re: History of weather radar on commercial airliners

Mon Jun 08, 2020 5:28 pm

BravoOne wrote:
At the 16:04 mark on this video you can see an early radar installation on the 1049H Connie. The scope retracted into a storage space in the floor when not in use. Pretty crude by todays standards, but cutting edge stuff in the late fifties.



Forgot the link!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDRM85SkKUo
 
User avatar
fr8mech
Posts: 8061
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 9:00 am

Re: History of weather radar on commercial airliners

Mon Jun 08, 2020 6:23 pm

Sokes wrote:
Why do you think the question "Anybody knows something about the history of weather radar on commercial airliners?" is overly broad?


Bad grammar aside, because it doesn’t give context. It is also a closed question. A simple ‘yes’ or no’ would satisfy your question without providing any information.

How was airborne WX RADAR developed?
Who developed WX RADAR?
Why was WX RADAR developed?
Which aircraft was the first to carry WX RADAR?
Which commercial aircraft was the first to carry WX RADAR?
How has WX RADAR changed over the years?

I apologize, but since I’ve taken on the role of teaching my kids critical thinking, I‘ve tended more to the pedagogical, and yes, the pedantic.
When seconds count, the police are minutes away, or may not come at all.
It’s hard to win an argument with a smart person, but it’s damn near impossible to win an argument with a stupid person. ~B. Murray
Ego Bibere Capulus, Ut Aliis Sit Vivere
 
744lover
Posts: 205
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2000 5:29 am

Re: History of weather radar on commercial airliners

Mon Jun 08, 2020 6:37 pm

One quick knowledge nugget from the earlier days: Varig operated the Lockheed Electra in Brazil until the early nineties. Its both radars were nicknamed "Stevie Wonder" and "Ray Charles" since they could barely see a CB 10 miles ahead of you :)
 
bhill
Posts: 1835
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2001 8:28 am

Re: History of weather radar on commercial airliners

Mon Jun 08, 2020 7:21 pm

I am curious as well about the development of types of radar used for weather, and what frequency, power and methods are used. Such a wind use for wind shear, if any and if it can be used for clear air turbulence.
Carpe Pices
 
BravoOne
Posts: 4094
Joined: Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:27 pm

Re: History of weather radar on commercial airliners

Mon Jun 08, 2020 7:52 pm

bhill wrote:
I am curious as well about the development of types of radar used for weather, and what frequency, power and methods are used. Such a wind use for wind shear, if any and if it can be used for clear air turbulence.



Suggest you look up Honeywell Predictive Windshear and Turbulence Detection.
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 6076
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: History of weather radar on commercial airliners

Mon Jun 08, 2020 9:54 pm

United was a proponent of C band which was the original frequency used for weather radar. Most sets, maybe all now, use X-band for transport category planes. C band was thought to penetrate rain better to paint strong rainfall cores. Small planes that have radar, thinking light twins, use K band as it works better with small antennas inherent is those planes. The larger the antenna the better as bean is narrower and better defines the storm. Old sets used raw power to penetrate rain and get good returns, but newer sets don’t need to power as computerization allowed better processing of weak returns.

Weather radar “sees” rain and measures rainfall rates and gradients, not turbulence. A weather radar is useless without rainfall. One of the newest tricks is using aircraft position to aid in the radar processing to normalize strength of storms. In AF447 case, storms over water in the tropics don’t always show lots of rainfall where strong storms over the US Midwest in spring have huge amounts of water and strong gradients. The definition of contouring storms was skewed toward a Midwest gully washer and didn’t accurately depict strong storms with dangerous turbulence but comparatively low rainfall rates. Collins and Honeywell both have sets that use position and historical thunderstorm data to make a strong storm “look” the same regardless of location.
 
ELBOB
Posts: 322
Joined: Sun Jun 21, 2015 6:56 am

Re: History of weather radar on commercial airliners

Tue Jun 09, 2020 6:34 am

fr8mech wrote:

I apologize, but since I’ve taken on the role of teaching my kids critical thinking, I‘ve tended more to the pedagogical, and yes, the pedantic.


And well you should apologise, because all of the questions you suggested were limited in scope and did not investigate the entire problem space. Very closed thinking, bounded by the limits of your knowledge instead of openly investigating.


Anyway as opposed to "WX radar" the early sets were mainly known as "cloud-warning radar". In 1946 scientists from the UK T.R.E. carried out experiments around Singapore using a Lancaster equipped with radar operating on 3.2cm wavelength. It proved capable of detecting common rainclouds at 40 miles and towering cu-nim clouds at 100 miles.

A tangent from this at the time was investigation into "flashlight radar" which measured the reflection from clouds of a 11 megawatt visible-light flash focused using an old searchlight lens. Obviously this wasn't practical for airborne use but the idea was to precisely measure the height of the cloudbase from ground stations.
 
Sokes
Topic Author
Posts: 1646
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:48 pm

Re: History of weather radar on commercial airliners

Wed Jun 10, 2020 5:18 am

744lover wrote:
One quick knowledge nugget from the earlier days: Varig operated the Lockheed Electra in Brazil until the early nineties. Its both radars were nicknamed "Stevie Wonder" and "Ray Charles" since they could barely see a CB 10 miles ahead of you :)

:smile: What is "CB"?
Why can't the world be a little bit more autistic?
 
User avatar
Starlionblue
Posts: 20032
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2004 9:54 pm

Re: History of weather radar on commercial airliners

Wed Jun 10, 2020 5:43 am

Sokes wrote:
744lover wrote:
One quick knowledge nugget from the earlier days: Varig operated the Lockheed Electra in Brazil until the early nineties. Its both radars were nicknamed "Stevie Wonder" and "Ray Charles" since they could barely see a CB 10 miles ahead of you :)

:smile: What is "CB"?


CB is the METAR/TAF code for a cumulonimbus cloud. A dense, towering cloud associated with windshear and thunderstorms. The most significant threat you are looking for with the radar.

"CB" is used as a colloquial abbreviation. E.g. "ask for a deviation 20 miles right to get around those cee-bees."
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
User avatar
fr8mech
Posts: 8061
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 9:00 am

Re: History of weather radar on commercial airliners

Thu Jul 23, 2020 5:23 am

I've been listening to a podcast called American Innovations, and the last 3 episodes I listened to were about the development of airborne radar for the military during WWII. May not answer your specific question, but could provide some names to research.

https://wondery.com/shows/american-innovations/

The episodes' names are:
Radar - Welcome to Tuxedo Park
Radar - Mr. Bowen Goes to Washington
Radar - The Rad Lab

Hope it helps.
When seconds count, the police are minutes away, or may not come at all.
It’s hard to win an argument with a smart person, but it’s damn near impossible to win an argument with a stupid person. ~B. Murray
Ego Bibere Capulus, Ut Aliis Sit Vivere
 
User avatar
SheikhDjibouti
Posts: 2231
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2017 4:59 pm

Re: History of weather radar on commercial airliners

Thu Jul 23, 2020 10:50 am

Sokes wrote:
Google doesn't give good results. Anybody knows something about it?

I can't offer much except two dates and a photo; 1945 and 1954.
The caption with this photo mentions 1954.
1944-built Anson 11 modified with radar nose for demonstrating Ekco Electronics products. Operated by the firm from July 1954...



EKCO supplied weather radars for a variety of civil aircraft such as the Bristol Britannia, De Havilland Comet, Vickers Vanguard, Vickers VC10 and BAC 111.
(I have read that the Comet 4 was fitted with weather radar, which implies that the original Comet 1 was not. )

Meanwhile The Imperial War Museum has this artifact from ~1945/6, but it obviously wasn't made for a commercial aircraft.
[no picture available]
Imperial War Museum wrote:
British 10GHz 18 inch EKCO E190 airborne weather radar scanner. Serial number M566. Made by ECKO, Malmesbury post 1945 for RAF.


I say "artifact", but I believe the EKCO E190 was still in service up to 2001 (in the Belfast)
The Heavylift pair below include an Il-76, but no it's not an An-12 next to it, it's one of their ex RAF Short SC.5 Belfasts - a kind of C-130 on steroids. :lol:

Nothing to see here; move along please.
 
shamrock137
Posts: 367
Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2005 7:10 am

Re: History of weather radar on commercial airliners

Thu Jul 23, 2020 6:56 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Weather radar “sees” rain and measures rainfall rates and gradients, not turbulence. A weather radar is useless without rainfall. One of the newest tricks is using aircraft position to aid in the radar processing to normalize strength of storms. In AF447 case, storms over water in the tropics don’t always show lots of rainfall where strong storms over the US Midwest in spring have huge amounts of water and strong gradients. The definition of contouring storms was skewed toward a Midwest gully washer and didn’t accurately depict strong storms with dangerous turbulence but comparatively low rainfall rates. Collins and Honeywell both have sets that use position and historical thunderstorm data to make a strong storm “look” the same regardless of location.


Interesting! Hadn't really considered the impact of how we read weather radar to have geographic bias, but it makes sense. Wonder how often the database is updated and where it gets the position data from? Guessing its connected with the rest of the avionics to have access to GPS data.

https://www.rockwellcollins.com/~/media/Files/Unsecure/Products/Product%20Brochures/Radar%20and%20Surveillance/Weather%20Radar/WXR-2100/WXR-2100%20MultiScan%20ThreatTrack.aspx
Time to spare? Go by air!
 
tnair1974
Posts: 304
Joined: Sun Sep 15, 2019 5:37 pm

Re: History of weather radar on commercial airliners

Sat Jul 25, 2020 3:06 am

Interesting subject, some nice reading here.

The 1977 accident of Southern Airways Flight 242 in Georgia involved the pilots flying into what they perceived was a weaker part of a severe thunderstorm. Turned out it was an exceptionally violent part of the storm cell which caused both jet engines to flame out, but the plane's radar poorly distinguished precipitation areas that strong. The NTSB later made recommendations that included improvements to airborne radar to prevent this issue from happening again. My uncle's Piper had 1970s Bendix black and white weather radar that is somewhat like this except the more intense storm areas would blink.

Although I don't know how much this now involves aircraft radar, the development of Doppler radar was literally a life saver which greatly reduced the chances of wind shear causing more accidents along the likes of Delta 191 at DFW, Pan Am 759 at MSY, and Eastern 66 at JFK.
 
User avatar
Starlionblue
Posts: 20032
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2004 9:54 pm

Re: History of weather radar on commercial airliners

Sat Jul 25, 2020 6:56 am

tnair1974 wrote:
Interesting subject, some nice reading here.

The 1977 accident of Southern Airways Flight 242 in Georgia involved the pilots flying into what they perceived was a weaker part of a severe thunderstorm. Turned out it was an exceptionally violent part of the storm cell which caused both jet engines to flame out, but the plane's radar poorly distinguished precipitation areas that strong. The NTSB later made recommendations that included improvements to airborne radar to prevent this issue from happening again. My uncle's Piper had 1970s Bendix black and white weather radar that is somewhat like this except the more intense storm areas would blink.

Although I don't know how much this now involves aircraft radar, the development of Doppler radar was literally a life saver which greatly reduced the chances of wind shear causing more accidents along the likes of Delta 191 at DFW, Pan Am 759 at MSY, and Eastern 66 at JFK.


Doppler radar definitely includes aircraft radar. Predictive windshear systems use doppler returns from water droplets to warn of windshear ahead.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
Sokes
Topic Author
Posts: 1646
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:48 pm

Re: History of weather radar on commercial airliners

Sun Aug 02, 2020 6:03 am

fr8mech wrote:
I've been listening to a podcast called American Innovations, and the last 3 episodes I listened to were about the development of airborne radar for the military during WWII. May not answer your specific question, but could provide some names to research.

https://wondery.com/shows/american-innovations/

The episodes' names are:
Radar - Welcome to Tuxedo Park
Radar - Mr. Bowen Goes to Washington
Radar - The Rad Lab

Hope it helps.

It helps very much. I listened to the third part first and found it a bit emotionally overloaded. Thanks god I took the patience to listen to the first two parts.
I read speeches of Obama and Bush. Do Americans have a crush for big emotions?

If you enjoyed this I have a book for you:
"The art of scientific investigation". It's light reading and interesting if one is interested in how scientific ideas come to us.

I really enjoyed how the microwave radar breakthrough was found by going back to the earliest writings.
Why can't the world be a little bit more autistic?

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: David L, QF93, United857 and 20 guests

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos