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Taking the bump out of turbulence

Stronger computing power, better satellite technology giving airlines a clearer picture of flying conditions

Published Mon, Sep 8, 2014 · 10:00 PM
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[NEW YORK] Just a few years ago, airlines got their weather reports by telex. Pilots pored over reams of paper and compared the forecasts with their flight plans. Once airborne, they depended on radio communications and rudimentary radar to avoid bad weather.

Now, pilots download detailed flight plans and weather reports full of intricate graphics onto tablet devices. Flight dispatchers track aircraft in real time and provide up-to-the-minute weather data. New generations of aeroplane radar systems allow for easy in-flight adjustments.

The result? Fewer of the bumps, jolts and spilled drinks that have been a part of flying ever since the Wright Brothers.

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