Flybe, Europe’s largest regional airline and AirDat LLC, a private US-based weather forecaster, today announced a partnership to provide real-time metrological data for Europe directly from Flybe’s 83-strong fleet of aircraft.
Flybe aircrafts will be the first in Europe to carry AirDat’s proprietary Tropospheric Airborne Meteorological Data Reporting (TAMDAR) sensor. The sophisticated airborne weather sensor streams atmospheric data in real time from the aircraft to AirDat’s data centre. From there, the information is quality checked, processed, and assimilated into TAMDAR-optimised, high-resolution forecast models for European weather customers.
Flybe’s high-frequency business model will enable AirDat to collect more than 1,000 unique weather observations each day. The initial phase of the installation will result in 20 aircrafts becoming equipped by May 2012. AirDat’s TAMDAR system will, in turn, provide weather data and operational benefits to Flybe, including enhanced Iridium-based satellite voice and data communications capability, automated weather reports and real-time flight and departure information for passengers.
Commenting on the partnership, Flybe’s UK Managing Director Andrew Strong said: “It’s a testament to our high-frequency business model and extensive European reach that AirDat has chosen Flybe as its first European partner airline. What’s more, it’s a real win-win deal, with Flybe gaining ground to air communication throughout the UK and Europe which will provide many benefits for both our customers and our flight operations.
Jay Ladd, AirDat’s CEO added: “We are pleased to be working with Flybe to deploy our TAMDAR advanced weather technology throughout Europe. TAMDAR will stream richer, real-time atmospheric data from Flybe aircrafts that will help accelerate SESAR weather programs while significantly improving forecasts to better protect public and economic interests throughout the region.”
The combination of AirDat’s advanced proprietary weather modelling capabilities and Flybe’s extensive route network—which covers 96 airports and 17 countries—will enable AirDat to offer substantially improved weather data, modelling, and forecasting capabilities to customers throughout Europe.
The partnership will ultimately equip up to 100 Flybe aircrafts with the TAMDAR system, generating nearly 20,000 daily weather observations (up to 1200 vertical ‘soundings’ when equated to the weather balloon system) throughout the UK and Western Europe. The system will provide Flybe with expansion opportunities in the areas of volcanic ash sensing and data transmission, as well as on-board Wi-Fi, credit card processing and aircraft data management and communications. This will be possible via the concurrent integration of US-based Avionica’s satLINK integrated communications module.
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