A probe was under way last night to determine whether a weather warning radar system with “known issues” was in use on the fateful Singapore Airways flight SQ321 and failed to notify pilots of trouble ahead.

It is not known exactly which system was being used aboard the Boeing 777 which encountered “sudden extreme turbulence” but the airliner has previously used the Honeywell RDR-4000.

This system was first used in 2006 and was said to provide less signal loss and better detection of troublesome fronts.

However, it emerged last night that an accident report by the Dutch Safety Board revealed an aircraft operated by Netherlands airline Transavia in 2016 encountered unexpected turbulence flying from Amsterdam to Spain, resulting in “serious injury” to three cabin crew.

The Honeywell RDR-4000 radar was being used on the flight.

The investigation stated that soon after the system was deployed across the fleet in 2009, the airline’s flight operations department “started receiving questions about the RDR-4000 and complaints regarding the [in]correct functioning of the weather radar”.

Honeywell provided an update in 2011 that it said “solved many of the outstanding issues”. The report said there was no indication the radar did not function properly during the Transavia flight.

Weather radar system on aircraft provides the pilot and flight deck with the necessary information to avoid – not penetrate – adverse weather and cannot overcome turbulence but depends upon those flying the plane having expert knowledge of meteorological phenomena.

One limitation of weather radars is they indicate only the presence of liquid water but a thunderstorm does not have the same reflectivity over its altitude range because the quantity of liquid water in the atmosphere decreases with altitude.

Article source: https://airlines.einnews.com/article/713739654/7kzkhbGO0QXZk2nb?ref=rss&ecode=vaZAu9rk30b8KC5H

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