Camera spots ash in the sky

In summer 2012, the UK's easyJet -- the fourth-largest airline in the world -- will begin using a Norwegian system that employs infrared (IR) cameras tuned to detect hazardous volcanic ash particles up to 100 km ahead of an aircraft.

Infrared cameras are being installed on easyJet aircraft to detect hazardous volcanic ash particles
Infrared cameras are being installed on easyJet aircraft to detect hazardous volcanic ash particles


In summer 2012, the UK's easyJet -- the fourth-largest airline in the world -- will begin using a Norwegian system that employs infrared (IR) cameras tuned to detect hazardous volcanic ash particles up to 100 km ahead of an aircraft.

At normal flight cruising altitudes and speeds, the so-called “Avoid” system will provide pilots with a 7-10 minute warning of a potential dangerous encounter with an ash cloud.

In just a few years, the device may be standard equipment on all new passenger aircraft. It is already being installed next year on 20 new Airbus A320 jetliners on order from easyJet.

Sales of the camera, which is suitable for use on all types of aircraft, are being handled by Nicarnica (Kjeller, Norway), a spin-off from the Norwegian Institute for Air Research that was founded in 2009 to commercialize the technology developed by senior researcher Dr. Fred Prata.

-- By Dave Wilson, Senior Editor, Vision Systems Design

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