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Pitch

Climate change seems like a distant, even fictitious, construct. Far from it, it is endangering your well-being in measurable ways.


Description

Summary

Most people believe that climate change is a distant problem to be faced by generations they cannot relate to.  Alternatively, climate change is often thought of as a construct of the political left, motivated by propagandist intentions.  As long as this credibility gap continues to exist, even rational humans will take very little action to arrest the root causes of climate change.

The solution lies in demonstrating vividly, the various deleterious impacts of climate change.  There is a fine line here with the risk of creating panic, but it will be a panic well worth its negative side effects, if it will arouse the consciousness of the sleeping majority.

One such vivid demonstration will be clearly evident by the measurement and analysis of turbulence in the earth's atmosphere, and specifically the hazardous Clear Air Turbulence (CAT).  The recent rise in frequency of air travel incidents including broken engine fan blades, unexplained fires, smoke, engine failure, overheated, overworked moving parts, cracked passenger windows, cracked windshields, ripped engine casings, etc. are clearly beckoning to us to take a closer look at the systemic issues associated with the safety of air travel around the globe.

This isn't a component level problem with any given airline or engine type or aircraft type.  It is a systemic problem that pervades all parts of all flying machines across the planet.  We are reaching the limits of the forces that the current generation of flying machines have been designed to withstand.  It isn't some abstract problem that may impact five generations down the road.  It is here NOW and will only get worse if unaddressed.

This is our wake up call to act as a rational species and save our sustained existence and that of our progeny.


Is this proposal for a practice or a project?

Project


What actions do you propose?

I propose that we expeditiously leverage any and all flying machines in the civilian and military space to seamlessly attach wireless protocol based turbulence measurement sensors.  Lidar sensors are gaining popularity and lower price ranges due to autonomous driving.  Lidar based or other turbulence measurement sensors can be affixed to airplanes of all types and categories with the intent of measuring, recording and analyzing turbulence as a function of time and other conditions on regularly traveled flight routes.  

The sensors can be affixed to the exterior of aircraft in symmetrical locations so as not to impact the aerodynamics of aircraft negatively.  They can transmit the turbulence data that they measure to the onboard computer via a wireless protocol in order to avoid the necessity for complex rewiring of aircraft.  Appropriate wireless protocols may need to be leveraged that will operate reliably through the aircraft hull in the presence of any EMC effects at higher altitudes.

In the long run, turbulence and associated data must be a mandatory part of the aircraft bus protocol.  As atmospheric conditions change, the ability to monitor such data is critical to air travel safety, even if simply to serve as a safety check that turbulence limits for which aircraft have been designed are not being exceeded.  The most hazardous type of turbulence is Clear Air Turbulence (CAT), pockets of which occur without warning related to severe weather, etc.  It is critical therefore, that pilots on any given route  have fair warning of conditions that could cause damage their aircraft and cause safety issues.

Such sensors could also be affixed to high altitude drones, satellites and other automated observational vessels that can continually measure and transmit dynamic turbulence to control towers around the globe.

Once the data is gathered, it must be rigorously analyzed and compared against the limits for which current aircraft have been designed.  If design limits are being reached, a few different courses of action will be necessary.

  1. FAA (and equivalent across countries) air travel policy will need to be altered to allow for safe passage of aircraft.
  2. System design analysis must be undertaken to strengthen existing aircraft to operate safely under worst case scenarios.
  3. A redesign of future aircraft must be undertaken to create stronger frames and engine parts to withstand higher turbulence.
  4. Electrification of aircraft must be undertaken with a corresponding subsidization of innovative companies capable of producing electric motors with the required configuration at a reasonable price.


Who will take these actions?

My consulting company is capable of taking on such a project as would other capable companies I assume. 

  1. We would need to work with the governments of all nations who operate airlines and aircraft of any category, with agencies such as the Federal Aviation Agency, National Transportation Safety Board, etc.
  2. We would also need to work with OEMs and suppliers in the aircraft manufacturing sector, both ICE engine based and electric motor based.
  3. We would work with airlines to affix sensors, gather and analyze turbulence data to root cause and work on corrective actions to prevent air travel hazards.
  4. Lastly, we would need to work with governments to incentivize businesses that are major sources of pollution and decrease the greenhouse gases that are giving rise to hazardous amounts of clear air and other turbulence in the atmosphere of the only planet we have at our disposal.


Where will these actions be taken?

We can start with the FAA equivalent agencies and airlines of the United States, and then work our way to other continents.


In addition, specify the country or countries where these actions will be taken.

United States


Country 2

United Kingdom


Country 3

Canada


Country 4

India


Country 5

China


Impact/Benefits


What impact will these actions have on greenhouse gas emissions and/or adapting to climate change?

  1. Continue to support safe air travel today and into the future.
  2. Motivate aircraft manufacturers to electrify future aircraft.
  3. Incentivize greenhouse gas causing businesses to minimize what they spew into the atmosphere.
  4. Awaken the public psyche to the very real cause and effect scenario being played out in our planet's atmosphere.


What are other key benefits?

  1. Continue to support safe air travel today and into the future.
  2. Motivate aircraft manufacturers to electrify future aircraft.
  3. Incentivize greenhouse gas causing businesses to minimize what they spew into the atmosphere.
  4. Awaken the public psyche to the very real cause and effect scenario being played out in our planet's atmosphere.


Costs/Challenges


What are the proposal’s projected costs?

Initial cost to instrument aircraft for data gathering, followed by data analysis - $5 million.

Future costs to design stronger aircraft, electrify aircraft, etc. cost TBD


Timeline

Initial instrumentation of aircraft with turbulence sensors to record data for analysis can start within 3 months of project initiation.  Next steps will entail evaluating various existing sensors to pick the optimal sensor that can operate at high altitudes under adverse conditions, be easily affixed to the exterior of aircraft, transmit data via a wireless protocol that will function through the aircraft's hull.  If such a sensor does not exist on the market, then additional time must be added to the project to design and manufacture the sensor prior to rollout across aircraft.


About the author(s)

United States citizen, MIT and University of Michigan graduate, Physics and Engineering Background, citizen of the world, wishing for a safer, healthier future for the planet.


Related Proposals


References

Increased Light, Moderate, and Severe Clear-Air Turbulence in
Response to Climate Change
Paul D. WILLIAMS?
Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading RG6 6BB, United Kingdom
(February 2017)


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