Observatory and GFS probe the skies to boost aviation safety

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 April, 2011, 12:00am


The Observatory has launched a study into wind shear and turbulence to improve aviation safety during bad weather.

As part of the programme, the Government Flying Service has installed a sensor probe on one of its aircraft, which will collect meteorological data for a new website exclusively for the aviation community.

The study was important because many pilots relied on their own judgment, and giving them more information would help them make better decisions, said GFS senior pilot Eric Leung Man-chiu.

Wind shear and turbulence - the sudden change in wind direction or speed and the rapid, irregular motion of air - have long bothered pilots worldwide, and the study will help find weeather patterns.

The data will be sent to the Observatory, which will analyse it for inclusion in a database. However, as the updates are not instant, pilots will still have to use their own judgment when flying.

The system cost more than HK$2 million to set up.

In the event of a rescue operation, the GFS will assess the wind shear and turbulence along the flight path before taking off.