New partnership aims to reduce turbulence injuries

Gogo and The Weather Company to send real-time data to pilots
The Weather Company will alert pilots about potential turbulence in real-time

Two companies have joined forces in an effort to reduce the number of turbulence injuries suffered by air passengers.

The Weather Company, which is owned by IBM, and in-flight connectivity provider Gogo have developed a new system that will enable the delivery of real-time turbulence reports and alerts directly to pilots.

Traditionally, pilots and other flight operations personnel received coded verbal reports with limited information on flight conditions, known as PIREPS.

But these did not offer real-time updates. Gogo will now connect aircraft with The Weather Company’s patented ‘Turbulence Auto PIREP System’ (TAPS), which features a turbulence-detection algorithm. This will provide pilots with live turbulence reports and alerts through The Weather Company’s apps.

“Leveraging Gogo’s expanded fleet of aircraft, The Weather Company can quickly share real-time turbulence data directly with pilots and dispatchers, thereby improving crew and passenger safety,” said Mark Gildersleeve, president of business solutions at The Weather Company.

“It is a great example of the ‘Internet of Things’ in action, where we are collecting massive amounts of data very quickly and then using that insight to provide guidance to all flights that will be traveling through impacted air space.”

Every year, turbulence incidents cost airlines approximately US$100 million due to crew and passenger injuries, unscheduled maintenance, operational inefficiencies, and revenue lost while planes are out of service. In fact, studies have shown that turbulence is the main cause of non-fatal injuries in the commercial airline industry.

Earlier this month, several passengers were injured when a Malaysia Airlines flight from London to Kuala Lumpur encountered severe turbulence. But The Weather Company claims that since its TAPS solution was launched, “some customers” have seen a 50% reduction in turbulence incidents.

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