EasyJet Using Infrared Technology to Avoid Ash Clouds Surrounding Iceland

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EasyJet will use infrared technology to help its aircraft avoid the remains of the ash cloud caused by the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano.
The Luton-based airline is trialling a new technology called AVOID (Airborne Volcanic Object Identifier and Detector); a system that involves placing infrared technology on an aircraft to supply images to both the pilots and an airline’s flight control centre. The system produces images that will enable pilots to see ash clouds up to 100km ahead of the aircraft and at altitudes of between 5,000ft and 50,000ft.
At ground control level, staff will be able to use information from the AVOID system to build an accurate image of the volcanic ash cloud in real time, and subsequently open up large areas of airspace that would otherwise be closed during a volcanic eruption.
Dr Fred Prata, senior scientist at the Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU), invented the AVOID system. He said: “AVOID enhances the theory around volcanic ash clouds with live data. EasyJet is committed to bring our technology to life.”
The first test flight is to be carried out by Airbus on behalf of EasyJet within two months. If it proves successful, EasyJet will trial the technology on its own planes with a view to installing it on enough aircraft to minimise future disruption from ash.