Radar Observes the Weather

By Louis J. Battan | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 8
RADAR AIDS THE PILOT

The instrument panel of a modern airliner is an array, rank on rank, of dials and indicators which all play an important part in the operation and navigation of the airplane. Before adding another instrument, it is necessary to show that it will serve an important function. When radarscopes were first brought into cockpits, some pilots were skeptical, but just a little experience proved that radar was useful indeed. For the first time it became possible to "see" through clouds and locate areas with severe weather.

Some meteorologists proposed late in the forties that airborne radar would be a valuable instrument for commercial airliners because of its weather-observing abilities. However, the airline industry did not move recklessly. Existing airborne radar sets had some problems. The available sets were not suitable for airline use. For the most part they had been designed for military purposes, such as bombing or directing gunfire. In general, the sets were quite heavy because they had fairly complicated functions to perform. Some weighed 400 pounds or more. Further

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