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1999-8 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 11, 1999

Aviation Magazine Honors NCAR/FAA Researchers for Turbulence Detection Method

David Hosansky
UCAR Communications
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E-mail: hosansky@ucar.edu

BOULDER -- In its February 8 issue, Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine awarded one of its annual Laurels in the electronics category to two researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research for their lead role in developing a new method of measuring atmospheric turbulence from commercial aircraft. The magazine honored Larry Cornman and Tenny Lindholm

. . .for developing technology and beginning the implementation of an aircraft-based system to gather detailed turbulence data. The data will be obtained automatically by aircraft during revenue operations and periodically data-linked to the ground, where it will be used to improve current forecast models and, ultimately, warn flight crews of hazardous conditions ahead. The FAA [Federal Aviation Administration]-funded program-- spearheaded by NCAR and initially implemented by United Airlines and AlliedSignal--eventually will include aircraft from other airlines for a total of up to 350 transports flying routes over the U.S. and across the Pacific Ocean.

The research was sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NCAR's primary sponsor) through an interagency agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration's Aviation Weather Development Program. Corinne Morse, also at NCAR, was the lead software engineer on the project.

This year's award is Cornman's second Laurel from the magazine. In 1990 he was recognized for his work on the Low-Level Wind Shear Alert System, developed at NCAR with FAA funding. The system is now deployed at airports around the country. Cornman has worked for the past decade on methods of detecting and forecasting turbulence in the United States and elsewhere. He holds undergraduate degrees in both mathematics and physics from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a graduate degree in physics from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Lindholm, a former Air Force pilot, is a specialist in matching the needs of weather information users with the research and development activities of scientists and engineers. He earned a bachelor's degree from the U.S. Air Force Academy in aeronautical engineering and three master's degrees from different institutions. Lindholm has worked on all aspects of the uplink and downlink of weather information for over five years.

"I'm very pleased that Aviation Week recognizes the importance of turbulence research," says Cornman. "I used to call turbulence the 'silent problem' of aviation safety. Maybe now it's finding a voice."

Turbulence gained national attention in December 1997, when a United Airlines plane plunged 30 meters (100 feet), killing one passenger and injuring over 100 others en route from Japan to Hawaii. Although rarely fatal, a significant turbulence incident happens every other day on a commercial flight somewhere in the United States. Overall, 43% of weather-related aviation incidents are due to turbulence. Consequences vary from spilled food trays to broken bones. Pilots face some of their most challenging and dangerous situations when flying through turbulence over or near mountainous terrain.

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Tenny Lindholm (front) and Larry Cornman examine a turbulence detection display in their lab at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

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Larry Cornman.

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Tenny Lindholm.

-The End-

Visuals: Photos are available via the Internet using anonymous ftp: Log on to ftp.ucar.edu, using the userid: anonymous; password: [your e-mail address]; directory: /communications [include the slash]; lindcorn.tif, larr1.tif, tenn2.tif

Note to Editors: For more information, see NCAR press release 1997- 29: NCAR Research Turns Commercial Aircraft into Turbulence Sensors, on the Web at http://www.ucar.edu/communications/newsreleases/1997/insitu.html

See also:
NCAR 1999-3 Scientists Proe the Jet Stream for Clues to Clear Air Turbulence
NCAR 1998-8 FAA and NCAR Chart Juneau's Turbulent Skies
1998-6 First Test Flights Are a Hit: Onboard Sensor Reveals Invisible Turbulence Ahead of Aircraft in Time to Issue Warnings
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The National Center for Atmospheric Research and UCAR Office of Programs are operated by UCAR under the sponsorship of the National Science Foundation and other agencies. Opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any of UCAR's sponsors. UCAR is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.
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Last revised: Fri Apr 7 15:38:50 MDT 2000
Last revised: Mon Mar 15 09:58:19 MST 1999