Trial of a Slant Visual Range Measuring Device

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  • 1 German Aerospace Research Establishment (DLR), Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany
  • | 2 Hagenuk GmbH, Hamburg, Germany
  • | 3 German Meteorological Service, Hamburg, Germany
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Abstract

Each year fog at airports renders some landing operations either difficult or impossible. In such instances, visibility is the most important information for the pilot of a landing aircraft. Visibility may be constant, decreasing, or increasing with respect to the altitude; however, it is not possible to distinguish this with existing airport sensors. This paper describes a new technique for measuring slant visual range that makes use of a slant scanning device, an eye-safe laser radar.

This device has been tested by the German Meteorological Service in Quickborn, Germany, over a period of one year. A comparison with commercial visibility sensors shows that it is possible to measure visibilities with the slant-looking laser radar in the range from 50 m up to 2000 m and to even distinguish inhomogenities like ground fog. Statistics of the Quickborn measurements show that the atmosphere in that region is not homogeneous in 38% of fog situations, which would at the present lead to a restriction of the air traffic.

The first installation of this instrument at the Hamburg airport is described.

Abstract

Each year fog at airports renders some landing operations either difficult or impossible. In such instances, visibility is the most important information for the pilot of a landing aircraft. Visibility may be constant, decreasing, or increasing with respect to the altitude; however, it is not possible to distinguish this with existing airport sensors. This paper describes a new technique for measuring slant visual range that makes use of a slant scanning device, an eye-safe laser radar.

This device has been tested by the German Meteorological Service in Quickborn, Germany, over a period of one year. A comparison with commercial visibility sensors shows that it is possible to measure visibilities with the slant-looking laser radar in the range from 50 m up to 2000 m and to even distinguish inhomogenities like ground fog. Statistics of the Quickborn measurements show that the atmosphere in that region is not homogeneous in 38% of fog situations, which would at the present lead to a restriction of the air traffic.

The first installation of this instrument at the Hamburg airport is described.

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