Route Optimization for Aviation Weather

How can we help when the weather is changing for the worse?

We help our clients make decisions about how to address, and even exploit, the changing weather conditions in near-real-time with advanced, dynamic routing advice. 

Potential routing and re-routing options to optimize flight plans and flight paths as weather develops in time can help achieve: 

  • maximize flight opportunities, 
  • minimize turbulence/maximize passenger comfort, 
  • minimize airborne risks (e.g. icing, hail, etc.), 
  • maximize fuel efficiency, and to 
  • minimize time to destination.
  • flight plan security - we check every 15m against weather and goals to verify.

In many parts of the world, pilots may only change their routing by coordinating with ATS. A 10 minute look-ahead with airborne radar might not even be actionable.  

With an accurate look-ahead of even 30-60 minutes by Meandair -- there is enough time arrange and benefit from an en route flight plan adjustment.

What does this look like?  

  • For GA clients this might mean a clear decision about a go or no go for flying, 
  • For BA clients it could be about offering flights with less turbulence to their clients, 
  • CA clients could avoid diversions/delays, increase safety and reduce fuel costs.
In almost every case, it's about reducing risk.  These critical and value adding business decisions are only possible because Meandair's data and advice is truly actionable.

Route Optimization for weather avoidance

The Meandair weather avoidance algorithms help pilots address the changing weather conditions just before and during flight.  The example illustrates how the original flight plan (red) was perhaps no longer viable.  Two alternatives were generated that would allow the flight to go through. The option in yellow skirts the predicted bad weather. The option in green assures bad weather can be avoided.  

Standard aviation weather data is too coarse and too out of date to use for this kind of routing advice. It's only possible with forecasts generated with very low sensor latency and high update rates for the actionable timeframe - i.e. only with Meandair Nowcasts! 

Route Optimization for passenger comfort

Turbulence is a serious problem for aviation.  Injuries, damage, legal consequences, and plain old discomfort are drivers for avoiding turbulence when possible.  Meandair have not only determined how to more accurately identify areas of clear-air turbulence, but also how to identify efficient routing options that bypass it.

Our route optimization algorithms borrow on our experience with dynamic routing of multiple UAVs. Very complex control problems like that are being solved with advanced ML/AI techniques, and the algorithms transfer very well to dynamically evolving weather systems. But only if you know how the weather is changing in enough detail. And because of our Nowcasting technology, we do.  

Route Optimization for risk avoidance

Safety minima tell pilots to avoid areas of convection, in general - keeping a safe distance from them.  Of course weather systems are moving constantly, and convection is not the only adverse weather condition to avoid.  Pilots do their best to stay wide enough and stay on time.

Hail, Ice, Windshear, Severe Turbulence, Lightning, etc. These can all pose serious hazards to aircraft; the kind where staying on time is no longer a concern. Pilots must avoid such areas, and because Meandair can identify and localize such hazardous conditions better than anyone, we can also help de-risk a flight with specialized routing advice.

Meandair uses only the best data sources to build and develop weather data. And satellite imagery is just one of our sources.  We also utilize ground and air weather sensor inputs from credible sources validated for aviation. And we make use of multiple NWP products from the most respected weather institutions in the world (DWD, NOAA, KNMI,  etc.)

Route Optimization for fuel savings

There's been significant research recently (by NASA and others) into flight path optimization for fuel efficiency.  This basically comes down to making use of wind energy in an optimal way.  Estimates suggest 7% or more could be saved.

Conditions for exploiting wind conditions occur regularly at higher flight levels, and often require a fairly precise awareness of shear conditions. With a 4D Nowcast from Meandair and clever routing algorithms, this kind of fuel saving wind exploitation becomes possible.

Adverse weather can often mean that certain destinations are unreachable (for a time); more often it means delays. Some of our clients are willing to spend more fuel and face a bit of turbulence if it means they get to their next appointment on time. 

Meandair is fine-tuning a route optimization algorithm that optimizes for ETA too.