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Pocket weather trackers to help pilots fly in hills

Discussion in 'Indian Air Force' started by Virajith, Jun 6, 2013.

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  1. Virajith

    Virajith Captain SENIOR MEMBER

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    Army pilots will soon have a new gizmo to keep updated about the latest weather conditions in their vicinity when flying in the hills. The Army Aviation Corps (AAC) is in the process of acquiring pocket weather trackers for its aviators.

    Sources said about 100 such gadgets are being procured, which would initially be deployed with aviation units based in the northern command. ACC squadrons and flights based in the Northern Command, which operate helicopters, carry out logistic missions in high altitude areas, where weather changes are frequent and often without warning.

    Pocket weather tracker is a portable device that provides essential meteorological information like wind speed, maximum wind gust, wind chill, ambient temperature, barometric pressure, altitude and relative humidity to facilitate safe and efficient flying operations.

    Flying in the mountains is precarious, especially for helicopters which have to navigate through valleys rather than flying high over the ridgelines like fixed-wing aircraft. Sudden changes in wind speeds, unexpected formation of cloud cover and variation in atmospheric pressure are routine. This calls for heightened situational awareness by pilots. Flying in the north-eastern sector also has similar challenges.

    The Army’s requirement is for light weight, battery-operated, rugged, water proof and snow proof weather trackers that can be strapped on to the wrist and have an inbuilt memory to store at least 2,000 measurements automatically for future reference.

    A few years ago, the Army had equipped its helicopters with hand held GPS systems for effective navigation when flying in varied terrain and environmental conditions.

    The ACC, which is operating at just 66 per cent of its sanctioned fleet strength, is desperately in need to new generation utility helicopters to replace the vintage Cheetah and Chetak helicopters. While the indigenously developed Dhruv helicopters are gradually coming in, the process to acquire 197 light helicopters for high altitude operations remain virtually grounded.

    The gizmo

    A pocket weather tracker is a portable device that provides essential meteorological information such as wind speed, maximum wind gust, wind chill, ambient temperature, barometric pressure, altitude and relative humidity to facilitate safe and efficient flying operations
    A few years ago, the Army had equipped its helicopters with hand-held GPS systems for effective navigation when flying in varied terrain and environmental conditions



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