Loganair has joined forces with the Met Office and aviation hardware specialists FLYHT Aerospace to improve the accuracy of weather forecasts and reduce flight emissions.
The project will see all 13 of Loganair’s Embraer 145’s equipped with FLHYT-WVSS-II atmospheric water vapour sensors which will measure weather data for the Met Office. The airline’s Embraer fleet operates three to four flights daily across the UK.
The sensors will routinely monitor environmental conditions around the aircraft during the flight and allow the airline to collect meteorological information.
It is hoped that the project will increase the industry’s understanding of non-CO2 effects of aviation, such as the emissions of nitrous oxides and sulphur dioxide, which are estimated to contribute to around 48 per cent of the environmental impact of flying.
The readings will help the Met Office to better predict extreme weather events and improve local forecasting of conditions such as thunderstorms, fog and rain showers.
This will, in turn, help Loganair prepare for instances of adverse weather, which present one of the biggest challenges for aircraft operations and can disrupt flights as well as ground crew operations.
According to Loganair, improved weather observations will “greatly improve weather-based flight planning and real-time updates”.
The project will also enable airlines to better understand the formation and potential reduction of contrails, which is a current focus within the airline industry. Indeed, American Airlines recently teamed up with Google Research and Breakthrough Energy for a study exploring contrail avoidance.
Loganair chief executive Jonathan Hinkles commented on the project:
“Loganair is resolutely committed to achieving Net Zero emissions by 2040 and this partnership signifies our dedication to confronting the environmental challenges posed by aviation head-on.
“Rather than evading the issue, we are taking the lead in pioneering solutions. We’ve taken great strides already through carbon offsetting and our GreenSkies initiative. However, this partnership will take our efforts to the next level, helping us to understand and tackle the non-CO2 effects of flying, which account for almost half of aviation’s environmental impact.
“It’s a first-of-its-kind initiative of this scale in the United Kingdom, setting a new standard for comprehensive weather data collection.
“As the project progresses, we anticipate groundbreaking insights into weather patterns, contrail formation, and their cumulative effects on the environment. Equipped with this knowledge, Loganair is poised to drive further transformative change within the industry and continue to set an example for sustainable aviation practices that others can follow.”
Met Office associate director of Technical Services, Bruce Truscott, added:
“Humidity measurements from aircraft will provide a much-valued addition to our observations capability, helping us to better define the three-dimensional structure of the atmosphere which in turn is expected to support improvements in forecast accuracy.”
Murray Skelton, FLYHT’s VP Business Development and Weather, also commented:
“Having these two leaders as partners validates our weather technology and our growing suite of actionable intelligence solutions.
“We look forward to installing our FLYHT-WVSS-ll hardware on Loganair’s aircraft over the coming months and to providing end-to-end program project maintenance and support for this innovative program.”