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Laser Radar Watches the Friendly Skies

Photonics Spectra
Apr 1997
Ben C. Barker Jr., Philip Brockman and Grady J. Koch, NASA Langley Research Center

Rain, fog, high winds and snow are notorious for ruining air travel schedules. Not only do these conditions inhibit the smooth (and tightly scheduled) flow of aircraft, but they add to the air traffic controller’s burden. Laser radar research under way could help reduce weather-related delays at major airports without endangering passengers or flight crews.
Laser radar is studying wake vortices (air disturbances around aircraft) to help determine whether planes at busy airports can safely fly closer together during bad weather -- thus reducing delays…


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