Things about Aircraft weather radar you should know

It is common that the majority of commercial aircraft nowadays carry an Airborne Weather Radar system that is most often built into the aircraft nose. Airborne Weather Radar provides the pilot with a local (ahead only) weather picture in the cockpit and allows him to identify and avoid specific, undesirable weather formations. A maximum range of 180 Nm is common although the commonly used range (as selected by pilots) would normally be in the 30 to 80 Nm range.


Airborne weather radar is an excellent tool on aircraft used to avoid dangerous clouds, such as Cbs. It is invented and developed to detect the position of the active and significant cloud cells and its intensity in order to provide information to the pilot for their avoidance. Weather radar works on a principle of sending radio waves and measuring the radio waves energy that returns, and also the time it takes to return. The reflectivity of water particles will depend on its size, concentration, and composition of the precipitation.


The bigger the size of the water droplet and the intensity, the greater the reflectivity. The ‘wetter’ the precipitation, the greater the reflectivity. It needs to be noted that the frequency band of the radio waves (X band) is selected not to detect any cloud, small precipitation such as drizzle, fog or wind, as the droplets are too little or don’t exist. It also cannot detect wind shear or clear air turbulence, as the precipitation do not exist.

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