easyJet, Europe’s second largest low-cost airline after Ryanair, is testing AVOID ash cloud detection technology to prevent flight disruptions due to volcanic ash clouds.
The detection technology, developed in collaboration with Airbus and Nicarnica Aviation, uses infrared to see ash clouds up to 100 km ahead of an aircraft and at altitudes between 5,000 ft and 50,000 ft. Ash clouds cannot be detected by aircraft radar.
Air traffic in Europe was severely disrupted due to ash clouds from Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokul volcano in 2010. The new technology would help aircraft avoid similar ash cloud disruption in the future.
The tests will also involve creation of an artificial volcanic dust cloud by using a ton of volcanic ash from the Eyjafjallajokul explosion.