Aerocare uses UBIMET lightning detection for safer operations

Aerocare is the first Australian aviation provider to engage world-leading weather services provider UBIMET to detect lightning and monitor weather at several high-risk Australian airport locations.

Aerocare CEO Glenn Rutherford said more confident safety decisions could be made with advanced, location-specific weather forecasting and accurate lightning detection, which was not available through public weather services.

“Severe weather events and lightning incidents are a real risk to our business, and UBIMET’s detection technology and proprietary global lightning detection system remove much of the guesswork from planning and decision-making, with local teams receiving alerts and easily observing storm movement,” Mr Rutherford said.

“Aerocare will benefit from UBIMET’s extensive sensor network throughout Australia, their independent, in-house meteorological team, and an extremely user-friendly interface for information delivery.”

The user-friendly application allows Aerocare’s airport managers and supervisors to easily identify the location and direction of lightning activity, and see when it is within 30 nautical miles of their location, known as the ‘watch phase’.

SMS alerts are issued when lightning is detected within a ten-nautical-mile radius, the ‘alert phase’, and then if it comes within five nautical miles, ‘shutdown phase’ means all ramp activity must stop and the ramp cleared.

Mr Rutherford said Aerocare would also use UBIMET to track and create alerts for other weather elements including temperature, wind speed and direction, precipitation probability, visibility and UV index, ensuring the necessary precautions can be taken to ensure the safety and well-being of staff.

“The accurate, location-specific and activity-specific weather information will also help us protect aircraft and ground equipment, provide information to other airport stakeholders, and help to ensure costly delays are minimized,” he said.

The initial implementation phase has focused on airport locations at higher risk of thunderstorm activity and where publically-available monitoring is limited.

UBIMET, a world-leading private weather services provider, has access to advanced satellite, weather radar, weather buoy, radiosonde and lightning data for reporting and precise analysis.

Reliable and highly accurate weather forecasts and severe weather alerts are produced in real time using UBIMET’s own algorithms and models and the expertise of their meteorological team.

Working with international research institutions, UBIMET’s research and development team continually refine weather models and improve forecast technology to ensure the company remains an innovation leader.

UBIMET is the official weather services partner of the Red Bull Air Race and in 2012 Red Bull became a major shareholder in the Austrian-headquartered company.

UBIMET’s Australian operation was established in Melbourne in 2011 and they continue to provide services for numerous local sporting bodies including the Australian Olympic Sailing Team, Red Bull Racing Australia, the Australian Formula One Grand Prix, and the Australian Motorcycle GP.

Aerocare is the largest ground handler within the Australian and New Zealand region, with more than 3,000 team members currently servicing 3,200 flights per week and 41,200 passengers per day.