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RELEASE NO. 04-035

June 8, 2004

Voice Over:


Most airplanes fly out of their way to avoid atmospheric turbulence, but not a 757 flying laboratory based at NASA'S Langley Research Center. "We're a weather research flight and there's some weather over in the area of Vulcan. Once we get over there we want to go down to a lower altitude and penetrate the weather for data purposes."


The former airliner is equipped with an experimental radar system designed to detect turbulence associated with thunderstorms,“NASA is working on an enhanced turbulence detection radar system, which is a software signal processing upgrade to existing predictive Doppler windshear systems that are already on airplanes.”


To see how well the enhanced radar performed, the 757 and its crew went looking for the kind of bumpy weather most air travelers find jarring. Researchers say the system did what it was designed to do. It detected turbulence not seen by the plane’s radar. NASA says airliners could get this kind of upgrade within the next few years.




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