Understanding and Detecting Wind Shear

Challenge

Between 1970 and 1994, a number of flights during takeoff and landing were forced to the ground by invisible, violent “downbursts.” Pilots were literally blind sighted by these deadly wind shear events. During that time, wind shear resulted in 570 fatalities in the U.S.

Solution

In the 1980s, scientists and engineers from NCAR and academia, with support from the federal government, developed and conducted a research project dedicated to understanding this deadly phenomena. Based on wind shear research studies such as the Joint Airport Weather Studies (JAWS), NCAR scientists and engineers developed two wind shear detection systems that have been deployed throughout the USA and world, coined The Low-Level Windshear Alert System (LLWAS) and in collaboration with MIT-LL, the Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR).

Benefits

Savings in lives and property is estimated at $1B

Contact

Please direct questions/comments about this page to:

Bill Mahoney

Director, Research Applications Laboratory

303-497-8426

email