Airborne Volcanic Object Imaging Detector

Project Description

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What is AVOID?

AVOID  is an awareness device for providing real-time imagery of volcanic ash ahead of a jet aircraft. Information is supplied to the cockpit from two fast-sampling, imaging infrared cameras that are tuned to detect hazardous volcanic ash particles in the airspace up to 100 km ahead of the aircraft day or night. At normal flight cruising altitudes and speeds this will give a pilot-7 – 10 minutes warning of a potential dangerous encounter with an ash cloud.

How does AVOID work? 

AVOID consists of two infrared cameras, each filtered to a specific wavelength channel.  By measuring the differences in radiation received at each wavelength, the AVOID software is able to convert the signal into ash concentration.  When coupled with GPS and airspeed data, “ash dosages” can be quickly determined and displayed in real-time.

Why do airlines need AVOID?

Volcanic ash is very hazardous to aircraft as it can cause severe damage to the engines, which can be catastrophic during flight.  In 2010, the eruption of  Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland caused flights over the north Atlantic to be grounded because of volcanic ash in the atmosphere.  Aircraft fitted with the AVOID system are able to fly in regions where volcanic ash might be present as the system will enable provide sufficient time to divert around the hazard.

Where can I find out more?

A collaboration between Nicarnica Aviation, Airbus and Easyjet to perform a test flight of the AVOID system took place in October 2013.  You can learn more about the test  from the video on our youtube channel or from the article published in Nature Scientific Communications.

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