Vaisala’s Innovative Winter Weather Technology Being Evaluated by Emirates at Copenhagen and Chicago Airports

Vaisala is working with Emirates on a new decision support system for winter weather at both Chicago and Copenhagen airports. The combination cloud service and equipment tested by Emirates, called CheckTime, monitors winter conditions and provides information to pilots so they can make decisions about keeping an airplane’s wings free of ice and snow. A decision to expand CheckTime to other Emirates’ stations with winter weather will be made following a thorough and complete analysis of test results.

Emirates, a multi-award winning airline, flies to more than 150 destinations across six continents. Emirates is the industry’s largest operator of Boeing 777s and Airbus A380s with 256 aircraft in total.

Emirates selected Copenhagen and Chicago as testing stations for CheckTime because both destinations experience adverse winter conditions. In addition, Copenhagen and Chicago are serviced by the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 777 aircraft, respectively, allowing Emirates to gain fleet wide experience for the performance of the CheckTime decision support system in winter weather.  During the initial tests, Emirates has been using the CheckTime system in parallel with existing manual cold weather operating procedures to examine and validate results.

CheckTime replaces a procedure where pilots manually use a combination of holdover timetables, information charts and observation of weather conditions to estimate the amount of de- and anti-icing fluids required, and the time beyond which it would no longer be desirable for the aircraft to depart under existing weather conditions. “By using a precise automated decision support technology rather than a cumbersome manual procedure to estimate the effective lifetime of the fluids, Emirates’ pilots will be able to better focus on other crucial aspects of safety and flight operations, and the airline can improve efficiencies and reduce environmental impacts,” said Nick Demetriades, Head of Aviation Information Services at Vaisala.

Developed by aviation weather experts, CheckTime uses Vaisala precision weather sensors that measure temperature, wind, precipitation type, and Liquid Water Equivalent (LWE) to calculate the impact of changing weather conditions on anti-icing fluid after the aircraft anti-ice time. Updated every minute, the system is able to provide dynamic decision support to the pilot via the airline ACARS computer or mobile application in the cockpit.

Vaisala has been providing solutions for the aviation industry for over forty years, and now has aviation installations in over 100 countries all around the globe in all types of climates. Vaisala provides weather information and equipment to ensure safe aviation travel 24/7, including severe and winter weather situations.