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13 December 2011 13:32
EasyJet hopes to install a volcanic ash detection system on its aircraft by next year
Budget airline EasyJet hopes to install a volcanic ash detection system on its aircraft by next year.
The new system called AVOID (airborne volcanic object imaging detector) could help prevent unnecessary disruption from volcanic ash clouds.
AVOID, which has been successfully tested over the constantly active Mount Etna volcano in Sicily and at nearby active volcano island of Stromboli, involves two wing-based infrared cameras that can detect particles of ash in the air up to 60 miles ahead.
Developed by the US military, the technology enables pilots to detect an ash cloud ahead at altitudes between 5,000 and 50,000ft, allowing them to make adjustments to the plane's flight path to avoid any ash cloud.
With the use of the technology, airlines could cut down the number of flight cancellations due to ash clouds and associated
travel insurance claims.
The device has been installed on a microlight aircraft which has flown more than 30 hours to test the equipment.
Ian Davies, easyJet's engineering head, said: "The testing of the technology is an exciting next step in the journey to get AVOID on to easyJet aircraft which we hope to do by summer 2012."
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