A smooth and comfortable ride is a universal desire in any mode of transportation, and this holds true for air travel. Turbulence, often caused by atmospheric pressure differences, jet streams, mountainous terrain, weather fronts, or thunderstorms, can disrupt both the aircraft and passengers’ peace.
Recent studies have linked turbulence to climate change, but an Austrian company claims to have developed a system that could significantly mitigate this issue. In this article, we explore how this Vienna-based firm aims to reduce the impact of turbulence through innovative technology.
A Revolutionary Solution
The Vienna-based company has introduced the Turbulence Cancelling system, designed to monitor, forecast, and manage turbulence using a combination of sensors, lidar, and flight control software. According to the company, this system can reduce the turbulence loads felt by passengers by more than 80% by employing counteracting control surface deflections.
How It Works
The system consists of two-meter-long rods equipped with sensors attached to an aircraft’s wings. These sensors detect subtle fluctuations in air pressure along various parts of the plane’s fuselage. They then make real-time adjustments to the wings, much like how a bird’s feathers stabilize it mid-air.
The collected data is processed through a “Turbulence Suppressing Program,” which rapidly calculates the necessary adjustments to the aircraft’s control surfaces to counteract turbulence.
It’s worth noting that this technology is designed for addressing turbulence during mid-air flight, rather than during takeoff and landing. The system is capable of compensating for mild turbulence by adding half a G force, as claimed by the company. Flight tests with manned demonstrator aircraft have reportedly demonstrated an impressive reduction of turbulence loads felt by passengers by over 80%.
Ensuring Safety and Control
The technology’s adjustments are distinct from the pilot’s inputs and can be overridden at any moment. This feature ensures that they do not interfere with the regular flying controls, maintaining the pilot’s authority over the aircraft.
Addressing a Growing Issue
Recent research indicates that clear-air turbulence, which can be deadly, is on the rise due to climate change. The total annual duration of severe turbulence over the North Atlantic, a major air route, has increased by 55% from 1979 to 2020. This trend poses significant challenges to the aviation industry, resulting in annual costs ranging from $150 million to $500 million in the United States alone. These expenses stem from increased flying time due to detours and reduced speeds caused by turbulence, as well as added maintenance costs for aircraft wear and tear.
While technologies like the Turbulence Cancelling system hold promise in addressing this growing concern, it will likely take some time before they become accessible for commercial jets. At present, they are primarily considered as an add-on for light sport aircraft. However, the long-term goal is to enhance safety and resilience, allowing aircraft to navigate through heavier turbulence with greater confidence.
- Vienna-based company develops Turbulence Cancelling system to monitor and reduce the impact of turbulence during mid-air flight.
- Sensors and flight control software make real-time adjustments to aircraft wings to counteract turbulence.
- The system has demonstrated an over 80% reduction in turbulence loads felt by passengers in flight tests.
- Clear-air turbulence is on the rise due to climate change, costing the aviation industry millions annually.
- Wider adoption of such technologies in commercial aviation may take time, but the goal is to enhance safety and resilience.
Hi, I’m Oren, founder at BIGINTRO, a content strategy agency that helps B2B companies drive growth. We develop search, social, PR, and content marketing strategies tailored to business goals. I also have a dog named Milo.