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Proceedings Paper

Lidar wind sensing at cruise altitudes for flight-level optimization
Author(s): Russell Targ; Lawrence L. Ames
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Paper Abstract

It has been apparent for more than a decade that the weather-forecast wind speed reaching flight crews in commercial aircraft differs by an average of +/- 15 knots from the wind speed actually experienced during the flight at cruise altitude. We recently analyzed wind-versus-altitude forecasts and found that the forecast altitude of maximum wind is also in error, by an average of +/- 4800 feet. In this era of increasing free-flight operations, we propose the use of airborne laser radar to measure winds above and below the aircraft in real time, so that a pilot can optimize the flight altitude with respect to prevailing winds. Analysis shows that such a lidar system would generate fuel savings of $LR100,000 to $LR200,000 per aircraft per year, especially for transoceanic routes. THis saving would pay for the instrument in one to two years.

Paper Details

Date Published: 27 May 1996
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 2737, Air Traffic Control Technologies II, (27 May 1996); doi: 10.1117/12.241057
Show Author Affiliations
Russell Targ, Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space Co., Inc. (United States)
Lawrence L. Ames, Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space Co., Inc. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2737:
Air Traffic Control Technologies II
Robert G. Otto; James Lenz; Russell Targ, Editor(s)

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