Fast Five With Honeywell - Steve Slijepcevic
Q. How long has Honeywell been in the weather radar business?
A. We introduced our first x-band radar in 1954. We've brought new technologies to our products for seven decades and now offer a line of radar called IntuVue, the first in the industry to offer a 3D display of weather to significantly improve hazard detection and avoidance. Our newest version, the RDR-7000 Weather Radar System, comes to market in 2020 for business aircraft, helicopters, regional air transport, and military aircraft and can detect weather from zero to 60,000 feet altitude and out to 320 nautical miles in front of the airplane. Also, in the spirit of firsts, the RDR-7000 can detect turbulence up to 60 nautical miles. In addition to detecting typical storm cells, our weather radar detects hail, lightning, and wind shear.
Q. How does Honeywell differentiate itself in the weather radar business?
A. The key differentiator is our detection—vertically up to 60,000 feet altitude. We can tell pilots how tall a storm cell is, and the pilot can then determine the optimum flight path around that cell. The system is fully automated, so the pilot does not have to intervene to move the antenna. We also can detect wind shear at 5 to 10 nautical miles out, a terrific safety capability. We received an email from a pilot a couple of months back, flying through the Midwest one stormy day. She was able, through our system, to know the cell exceeded 45,000 feet in altitude and knew she couldn't fly above that and had to go around. That image of weather is unique.
Q. What is Honeywell doing to drive weather detection technology forward to keep people and aircraft safe?
A. In the context of the IntuVue RDR-7000 Weather Radar, the system is specifically designed to replace weather radar systems on smaller aircraft, such as business aviation and light helicopters. This system will be one of the only lightweight radar systems (at 16 pounds) able to see turbulence 60 nautical miles ahead. We also launched the IntuVue RDR-84K at OshKosh and will begin deliveries with general aviation customers before the end of 2019. While most radars use one beam of radar, the IntuVue RDR-84K uses multiple beams to identify several things simultaneously, in a system that weighs just 2 pounds.
Q. What do you see in terms of the future for this type of technology?
A. Whether an aircraft is controlled by a remote pilot, a virtual pilot autonomously, or a pilot on board, the IntuVue RDR-84K identifies weather, other flying objects without transponders, the ground and objects on the ground. Because this full capability comes in a 2-pound system, several RDR-84K radar sensors can be mounted on a single aircraft to provide sensing for the front, sides, below and to the rear of the aircraft—all connected—to simultaneously see potential hazards. It paints a much more comprehensive picture for the virtual or on-board pilot. And we have this technology flying on an urban air mobility prototype.
Q. How does weather link to Honeywell's overall connected aircraft goals?
A. Our scientists have made an art of studying water droplets and their patterns. We have the software, hardware (antenna and sensor) and weather expertise that support a pilot with a full, connected weather readout. We stitch together a much more comprehensive picture. Typically, our accuracy at 93% exceeds that of traditional weather forecasting.
Learn more about Honeywell's initiatives here.