World’s First LiDAR Windshear Detection System

  1. The Hong Kong Observatory won the top ICT award for their LiDAR windshear detection system.
  2. Doppler LiDAR is used in non-rainy conditions and Doppler Radar when raining.
  3. The system includes the first automatic windshear detection software.

The Hong Kong Observatory’s LIDAR windshear alert system won Information and Communication Technology – ICT  Award of the Year from the Hong Kong government. It is the world’s first operational system applying laser technology in airport windshear detection. It scans runway flight paths and provides minute-to-minute warnings to aircraft landing and taking off.

Dr. Ping-Wah LI, from the Hong Kong Observatory, provides a detailed description of the LiDAR Windshear Alerting System – LIWAS in his paper entitled, “Wind Shear – Its Detection and Altering.” Noting that the LiDAR technology can only be used in rain free conditions, there is also a Doppler Weather Radar that can be used during rainstorms. It turns out that the Doppler Weather system is not as reliable during clear sky conditions, so both are needed.

The windshear phenomena is particularly troublesome during landing and takeoff, when changes in altitude can be catastrophic.  There are a number of causes of windshear including terrain, seabreeze, microburst and jet induced. Dr. LI has also developed the first software to automatically detect windshear.

A very interesting and well written paper.

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