Using a Wind Urchin for Airport Wind Measurements

Anthony O'Connor, Irish Met Soc talk

15th November 2018, 18.30, Custom House Dublin

Author Anthony O’ Connor is a Chartered Engineer and member of the Institute of Engineering & Technology. He graduated in 2013 from Dublin Institute of Technology with a First Class Honor’s Degree in Electrical Services and Energy Management. He obtained a Diploma in Microprocessor Systems from Dublin Institute of Technology in 1992. He was the owner and CEO of Lithoteck Graphic Systems and was responsible for bringing Fujifilm Graphics to Ireland. He lectured at Dublin Institute of Technology from 2015 to 2016 and is completing an MPhil. 

Abstract—— Low level wind shear and turbulence present a serious safety risk to aircraft during the approach, landing and take-off phases. Low level wind shear has been identified as one of the primary factors for aircraft go-arounds and aborted landings. Aviation reports have concluded that pilots need to have improved information in relation to tailwinds, wind shear and wind variations on approach and during the landing phases. During any given year, wind shear occurs thousands of times at airports around the world, affecting the arrival and departure of aircraft. At present wind is measured using anemometers and wind vanes in airport terminal areas. Anthony will argue that a solution to the problem of forecasting low level wind shear and turbulence for the approach, landing and go-around flight phases for aircraft could be addressed by incorporating the Wind Urchin as part of the Low Level Wind Shear Alerting System in all airports. Initial research produced a wind profile providing greater resolution of the wind data showing when turbulence is high and when it is safe for aircraft to land. Anthony's research has found that the majority of flight Go-Arounds are as a result of wind conditions. The direct Go-Around cost annually is €550 million and by 2036 with passenger numbers reaching 8 billion, this cost will increase to over 1 billion euro. Given that climate change is happening with ever more increasing severe weather events, it is logical to assume that an increasing amount of flights will also be affected by wind related weather. Incorporating the Wind Urchin which is a low maintenance, low cost 3-D total wind measuring instrument into an existing LLWAS could potentially save passenger lives and save millions annually in direct costs alone.


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