Radars: The use of L-bands

Today, we see radars everywhere. It is an essential component of surveillance systems across many industries. But to understand its use, we need to first explain what a radar is. It is a technology that detects presence, distance, direction and velocity of objects, by sending out radio waves and receiving their reflection from the detected body.

The radar uses are therefore vast and spread out throughout different industries.

In military use, there is an array of various radars. The surface movement and the primary surveillance radars have a function of sensing objects in the vicinity, notably under obscure weather conditions. The secondary surveillance radars work in a similar manner, but are airborne, which allows them to transmit the detected signals to the detectors on the ground.

In the oil and gas industry, they can be used to scan the ground for irregularities that determine the presence of oil and gas fields and act as a part of the communication system of the sector.

Air traffic management is yet another domain that heavily relies on radars. Just like in the military, the radars are used in aviation to detect planes and coordinate timely responses with the airborne and ground-based crafts. Used in conjunction with the multi-lateration systems (MLAT/WAM, these radars allow for safer circulation of aircrafts and vehicles.

As we will see later, radars can also be used in meteorology. A special L-band type is often employed in this sector.

The L-band
First of all, L-band is a range of frequencies. These operate at 1-2 Ghz of the radio spectrum and possess a wavelength of 30-15 cm. It is thanks to its low frequency, that L-band is so frequently used in radars and other technology, such as radio, telecommunications and global positioning systems (GPS).

The radars that operate with L-bands, are specifically used in the meteorological field. For instance, the clear air turbulence studies employ these radars to measure the fluid motion of air masses in absence of visual clues. When clear air-turbulence occurs in the range of commercial flights or any other aircrafts, it could be dangerous for comfort or even safety. It is therefore essential to monitor it via radars with L-bands specific frequency range.

However, the use of the L-band radars isn’t purely limited to meteorology. They could be found in low-Earth orbit satellites, helping monitor the state of equipment from far away locations. They are also used in military equipment.

Other types of radars use or have formerly employed other forms of frequency ranges, such as the C-band or the now obsolete D-band. This is because various frequencies serve various purposes and are employed according to their field of necessity.

The role of information communication technologies in airports

When operating an airport, making the most of the infrastructure’s potential is key. This means having the right technical infrastructure in place and the right processes all working in tandem to maximise efficiency all across the airport. This is where having the right information communication technologies is key. Learn more about some of the important information communication technologies in an airport and how it contributes to making the airport experience better for everyone.

Structure Cabling System

One of the most important, yet underrated, parts of an airport’s computing systems is the cabling and hardware connecting everything. Data needs to be transmitted across the airport at high speeds, which means that data and power cables carrying the information are laid under the runways and across the terminals to ensure that everyone has up to date knowledge at all times. Before implementing any specific solutions, ensuring that a structure cabling system is in place ensures that you have a strong foundation in place to build from.

Computer Network Equipment

Whilst having the essential cabling in place is a benefit for an airport, Computer Network Equipment is the tool that airports use to make full use of the cabling available. Computer network equipment refers to the equipment that airports use when networking both internally and externally. For example, the routers that an airport uses are part of a CNE offering. Strong CNE means that an airport makes the most of the structured cabling system it’s built on.

Data Communication Hardware

Transferring the data itself is the next step in the process, and requires a selection of specialist hardware. For example, airports handle a significant amount of data at all times, requiring specialist servers with incredibly fast read and write speeds to keep up with the demands of the role. In addition to this, a significant amount of storage is necessary, with terabytes of data flowing through the airport. The airport holds an incredible amount of data, and having enough of the right data communication hardware makes this process as simple as possible.

Internet-of-Things solutions

The Internet-of-Things, or IoT, is becoming an even more prevalent concept in the world of business. This refers to smart devices having connections to the internet and supporting customers in new and unique ways. Using IoT solutions for tasks such as ticket pickup and luggage handling means saving time for employees to deal with more difficult issues. Further improvements involving the cloud mean that these systems are even more efficient, using cloud computing as a means of making airports more effective by the day.

Information security

With all of the sensitive information flying through airports, having a strong degree of information security is key. This means that passengers pass through without fear of cyberattacks accessing their personal data. Not only does this prevent legislative issues for the airport, but people feel more secure with the layers of information security a reputable airport has to offer.

Bayanat Engineering Qatar

If you’re interested in finding out how computer systems work in airports such as Qatar’s Hamad International Airport, get in touch with Bayanat Engineering to learn about the range of systems available.

Cloud Seeding

From the dawn of time, various civilizations sought to predict weather, but never truly to change it. Would you be surprised that in today’s day and age, marked by technology and innovation, humankind gets another attempt at it.
No, it isn’t any esoteric or tribal practice. “Cloud seeding” is a way to modify the amount of precipitation, by dispersing specific substances into the air that alter the cloud formation processes. These could be related to cloud condensation or ice particles. And though, to this day, the practice has shown varying effectiveness, while its risk to health remains undetermined, it is already a helper in various industries and sectors, including water challenge solutions, environmental protection and aeronautics, just to name a few.

In Weather control

Doesn’t everyone love good weather? For many countries around the world, this may be a rather rare occurrence. Some are now trying to implement cloud seeding technology to improve their natural meteorological conditions.

The United Arab Emirates are already using the system to create fake rain. Just like the other countries of the Arabian Peninsula, its temperatures could rise up to 50°C in Summer, while the natural precipitation remains extremely low, less than 100 mm of rainfall per year on average. Cloud seeding becomes an innovative and promising solution that could definitely improve the quality of life. The country’s goal, since the beginning of their investments in the 9 rain-making projects in 2017, is to increase the existing rainfall by another 100 mm.

In Aeronautics

Let us take the example of the aviation industry to better illustrate the importance of cloud seeding. It is a fact that good weather conditions are directly likely to a smoother flight. With fog and strong rains being in the way of the aircraft, the visibility may drastically reduce. A factor which may become a safety concern.

Of course, airports and other air hubs are equipped with specialized lighting and signage to increase visibility in unfavorable weather conditions during takeoff and landing. However, once the plane is in the air and far from the ground, the terrestrial solutions no longer serve their purpose.

This is why specialized cannons and airplanes are employed by the airports and air hubs to shoot out and diffuse microparticles into the air.

Cannons affect clouds that are typically closer to the ground. As for the aircrafts, these are used on much higher altitudes thanks to their airborne dispersal and ability to gain height.

Thanks to this developing but promising technology, fog could be turned into rain, for better visibility. It could also improve safety by decreasing the number of hail particles and turning them into raindrops.

Finally, it all comes back to the start. In other words, to weather predictions. If you can alter it, you can predict it better! And accurate weather forecasts are essential to good traffic management. Perhaps the next time you pass through rainy weather conditions on a commercial flight, it will have been modified by the innovative technique of cloud seeding.

Weather Forecast

Having a clear overview of the weather forecast is one of the most important parts of keeping an airport running. Understanding the current conditions helps pilots to land planes at airports safely and on schedule. Learn more about what a weather forecast is and how forecasters devise their forecasts below

It is important for many industries – and the general public – to have an idea of weather events in their local area and other parts of the world. Having knowledge of these things ahead of time can enable you to plan effectively and be safe in the event of an extreme weather event. Weather forecasts can help in predicting the weather and they are a crucial part of planning for many people.

 

But how is a weather forecast put together? And why are they sometimes not accurate

 

What is a weather forecast?

 

A weather forecast is a scientific prediction of the climate, atmosphere and weather for an impending period. This includes establishing factors such as wind speed, cloud cover, temperature and the likelihood of rainfall. Depending on the nature of the forecast itself, there are several different levels of locational precision that forecasters use. A weather forecast for an airport is known as a terminal aerodrome forecast, or a TAF, and covers approximately a five-mile area around the airport itself.

 

How is a weather forecast made

 

Creating a weather forecast is a complex and scientific process relying on a range of factors. The steps in creating a weather forecast include:

 

  • Establishing starting conditions

 

The first step in the process involves establishing the starting conditions for the weather. This includes having a range of measurement stations in many different locations assessing quantitative factors such as the temperature, precipitation, humidity and wind direction and speed. Having a comprehensive picture of the weather is known as the “observation” stage of the process and provides a basis for the rest of the forecast. Observations take place on the surface, from a selection of weather balloons and from weather radars. The greater detail available at this stage of the process, the more accurate the forecast is later on.

 

  • Using algorithms

 

Following the observational stage, the process is relatively automated. At this point, the forecasting team inserts their observational data into supercomputer models that examine a selection of historical data and surrounding information, ultimately establishing where the weather will move and how it will evolve throughout a set period. Airports tend to use 24-30 hour periods for their forecasts, as this minimises the speculation within equations and ensures as much accuracy as feasibly possible. TAF focuses on very specific areas as a means of improving precision for incoming pilots.

 

  • Meteorological adjustment

 

During the final stage of the process, a meteorologist adjusts the assessment and tracks the forecast. Although forecasts do a good job of predicting the weather, unforeseen factors can arise quickly. In the event that the weather shifts away from the expected process or the algorithm’s prediction is flawed, meteorologists can step in and adjust the forecast. This means that TAF is a constantly evolving forecast providing an accurate perception of the weather in the coming hours, rather than a static prediction in line with exclusively initial data. After this, airports transmit forecasts using the TAF/METAR code, conveying all relevant information to Qatar’s arriving pilots.

 

How is weather forecasting done?

 

In order to predict the weather, meteorologists gather as much information as possible about the current weather and atmospheric conditions. They will make observations about things like temperature, pressure, wind speed and humidity, looking out across the globe and entering the data into powerful supercomputers. like the Cray XC40.

 

These observations are made using advanced technology, such as:

 

Automatic rain gauges

Weather radars

Weather balloons and Vaisala Radiosonde (an electronic device for measuring meteorological variables in the atmosphere

 

These computers process enormous amounts of data to make algorithmic predictions about what current conditions say about what might happen next with the weather. Meteorologists also monitor conditions separately to assess whether things are going as expected, and will tweak the forecast when things change.

 

Why aren’t weather forecasts always accurate?

 

The Earth’s atmosphere is not always orderly, and relatively small shifts in the ocean can have a huge impact on the behaviour of a weather system. Something that looked like it might only be minor when it reaches land could end up being a lot more severe than anticipated.

 

With this unpredictability in the atmosphere, things can be missed or misinterpreted. Thus, something that is forecasted to happen in a week’s time is likely to change before that day comes.

 

Having said that, our understanding of the atmosphere is constantly improving. Similarly, computer technology is advancing and improving, so forecasts are now able to look further into the future with greater accuracy than before. A four-day forecast today is thought to be as accurate as a one-day forecast was three decades ago.

 

Even when they are not entirely accurate, longer forecasts can give a good general idea of weather trends. You can get a measure of whether it is likely to be drier or wetter than average in the coming week. The computers can also model the way our climate might look in the future, and can make predictions decades in advance.

 

What makes some weather particularly difficult to forecast

 

Certain weather patterns present greater challenges for accurate forecasting than others. For example, showers are very small-scale weather features, so it is difficult to accurately predict where they will occur.

 

It may look to you as if a weather forecast was wrong because you didn’t see the showers they warned you about. But, in actuality, those showers ended up manifesting just a few miles down the road, perhaps in the form of a torrential thunderstorm.

 

What does the future of weather forecasting look like?

 

With the continuing evolution of computer technology, particularly relating to processing speed, it will be possible for a greater number of observations to be captured. This data will be able to be put into more complex equations, enabling the creation of more forecasts for even smaller areas.

 

What this should amount to is greater accuracy in weather forecasting in the future.

Helipads vs. heliports: Uses and differences

Have you ever flown a helicopter? The experience is remarkably different from that of an airplane voyage. For one, it is much more rapid and, in a way, personal. This is why helicopters are used for a variety of purposes, including leisure, but also emergency use for medical and security purposes, private transport and military use.

As you can imagine, all of these tasks require rapid displacement, something that the helicopters are specialized in. But in order for that to happen, takeoff and landing of the craft – the two most important parts of the flight – must be performed smoothly.  Contrary to the planes, helicopters take off without a runway maneuver, in a much more instantaneous manner. In order to do this, these crafts require helipads.

Helipads 

You may already have seen them as your carrier helicopter was approaching the ground.

Helipads function in a similar manner as runways, one adapted for helicopters.  They are spaces specifically designated for landings of this type of aircrafts, ensuring that the latter not intervene with the passersby or other vehicles and vessels in the vicinity.

They constitute a safe zone, made of specific markings, with a letter ‘H’, that act as a visual guide for the pilots. The markings help take off and land during complicated instances, such as the “brownout”. This phenomenon is characterized by the clouding of the visibility by sand or dust particles as the helicopter approaches the ground and could cause disorientation and a plethora of extra inconveniences for the pilot, especially in situations of emergency. Helipads could therefore prevent this confusion through their clear signage. Oftentimes, they are made of aluminum, providing a stable landing base, all while being cost-efficient and ecofriendly.

But not all helipads have to be stationary. Markings known as helipad matting, could be portable. These are specifically created for helicopter landings in impromptu or temporary reception areas.

You may have seen a helicopter land on the roof of Hamad Hospital of Doha or on one of the tops of the city’s majestic skyline. In that case, you can be sure that the area included helipad signs, ensuring the craft’s safe touchdown.

Heliports

It is easy to confuse helipads with heliports. However, the latter is a much more complex system that isn’t as frequently found in different helicopter receiving areas. Heliports are no less than mini airports of their own, made specifically for this type of aircraft. They are most notably found in hospitals and airports themselves. In the latter case, they are placed further away from the regular runways, so as to not disturb the passage of the planes.

Like true airports, heliports are equipped with their own systems that provide a range of services for the landing aircraft. These include fueling, maintenance, ticketing services and guiding lights in certain cases. Like true air hubs, they have their own designated airspace. Coupled with the helipad, these constitute what is known as the Primary Surface. This area is made of two parts: Touchdown and Liftoff (TLOF). As the name suggests, this is the space designed for the period when the helicopter is landing or is about to fly off, i.e., the area of land with which it remains in contact. All around the TLOF, is the airspace, known as the Final Approach and Takeoff (FATO) area.

Heliports do not have to be built on dry land, despite their fixed nature. Some moving objects, such as large boats, including military vessels and private yachts, could have their own built-in heliports, making the helicopter’s displacement and parking much more accessible.

They also vary in size, depending on the crafts they receive. Private residences with personal helicopters used for leisure time, for example, will likely be smaller and not contain as much equipment as the medical or the military ones.

Both helipads and heliports could be placed on grass, as well as on more concrete surfaces. Their functionalities continue to develop and adapt to the helicopter users’ different needs. For more information about helicopter-related equipment and other aeronautic solutions, visit bayanatengineering.com. They are a Qatar-based commercial engineering company that continues to equip various Qatari industries and facilities, including the Hamad International Airport, the local gas and oil field and the military.

 

Maritime Solutions

Maritime activity and navigation have always been at the heart of  grand human civilizations. The sea allowed for international trade and travel from as far back as these two activities go. Ancient sailors used analogue technologies such as astrolabes, combining their expertise of the instrument with their knowledge of astronomy to guide them along their journey.

Fortunately for the modern-day mariners, very advanced technologies have been developed that allow for easier, faster and much more accurate navigation. Namely the GPS, which relies on satellite transmissions to pave the way for the vessels and pinpoint their location remotely.

It is also a priority that the cargo and the passengers of these ships be transported in all safety. In the olden times this was a tricky bet, as the vessel architecture of the time was not very durable against the forces of nature acting on the high seas. Nowadays, not only are the ships built from different, much more reliable materials, but they are also equipped with and supported by instruments that could prevent shipwrecks and other adverse occurrences. What are these technologies? Let’s explore!

Smart shipping and data buoys 

The technology used in maritime vessels is so advanced that nowadays we see a system called Smart shipping installed in many cargo ships. This innovation is completely groundbreaking as – just like in the now existing case of the cars and the aircrafts – it allows for unmanned navigation. This trend is much more common than you may imagine, as almost 10% of the newest cargo vessels are smart ships. In addition to their autonomous nature, they also boast cutting-edge meteorological sensors that ultimately contribute to safer navigation.

Onboard, one can find the latest software used in navigation; this is essential for the maritime commerce, allowing for quicker and more secure delivery. Other digital monitoring and data analyses are constantly being developed to render the marine trade all the more efficient and profitable.

To aid the ships from without, external sensors are being put in place. Buoys, the floating masses that often finds near the beach, are no longer used exclusively for marking the distance swam. The ones used by vessels are equipped with data sensors that helping them navigate the international waters. These data buoys measure sea levels at a very high precision (1mm!), obtain meteorological updates, such as the wind strength and direction, and ascertain the temperature of the water, a piece of information required for fishing. Moving or drifting data buoys are also able to avert the ships of hurricanes and cyclone activities in the vicinity.
They also make great helpers in rescue operations. They are able to send information about the target to the vessels with which they are in communication, making the search much more efficient and less-time consuming – something that could prove critical in cases of serious disasters.

Communication 
When it comes to other maritime vessels in the vicinity, fast and efficient communication is a must. Ships transfer data between themselves, a practice that helps both parties safely navigate the waters and exchange about important matters pertaining to their transportation. To do this, they utilize very-high frequency (VHF) radio waves, satellites and WiFi.

The field of maritime communication is a constantly developing one, with newer and newer solutions constantly arriving on the market.

For more information about marine solutions, but also those relating to the military, aeronautics, and oil and gas industry, visit bayanatengineering.qa. Bayanat is a commercial engineering company, based in Doha. They are experts of cutting-edge solutions in the given fields and will be sure to guide you in your search for the best technologies for your vessel.

Weather solutions

Predicting weather has always been an essential part in the development of human societies. Meteorological forecasts are needed to ensure that the industries behind the turning of the wheels of civilizations function correctly. For example, weather is a key component in agriculture, as different crops require different meteorological conditions for optimal growth. With accurate and timely predictions, governments could foresee periods of drought and plan in advance the measures needed to counter these challenges for their agricultural sectors.

Exact meteorological forecasts are also indispensable for travel and, by extension, commerce. In the aviation industry, weather is, therefore, constantly analyzed to ensure safe passage of aircrafts, their passengers and goods.

There are many ways airports keep tabs on the changes in weather. Here are some of the common ones that you are likely to find in many air hubs, including the Hamad International Airport in Doha.

Weather measuring tools: from wind to precipitation 

There are many factors that are included in the term “weather”, for example, wind and precipitation.

Being airborne, planes are very susceptible to wind. Depending on the aircraft’s speed, a strong impact from an air current could potentially lead to accidents. Measuring this factor is absolutely crucial throughout the flight, but especially during takeoff and landing, as these two constitute the most dangerous parts of the craft’s journey. It comes as no surprise that so much of the airport and runway equipment is aimed at monitoring these two instances. Pilots should also be guided with regards to the wind presence to ensure further safety.

Various types of wind profilers are used, such as the famous RADAR technology, in conjunction with SODAR (sonic detection and ranging).  These could detect wind speed and direction from various altitudes, climbing up to 17 m above sea level, in other words reaching the higher ends of the troposphere in which planes fly. RADARS scatter radio beams, which then send signals back to the sensors after having been in contact with the object in question. These types of wind profilers also help lay out the optimal course for the pilots.

Since special attention has to be given to takeoff and landing, runway is also adapted for weather detection. The Runway Visual Range (RVR) is the distance that one can see horizontally down the runway in given weather conditions. The runway must be clearly visible at all times, once again, to ensure safety.

For optimal visibility, various solutions are put in place, including the High-intensity Runway Lights and beacon lighting features.

The RVR could also be improved by using the weather RADAR, which constitutes a key feature of many other airport systems.

Precipitation and rain gauges

It is equally as important to measure precipitation, as intense rainfall could lead to reduced visibility for pilots. Tools such as automatic rain gauges have been long ago put to use in aerodynamics. The instrument, which consists of a container that collects rainwater, measures the amount of precipitation in millimeters during a given time per unit area. However, these may show a lack of accuracy in extreme weather conditions, as strong gusts of wind could blow the water out of the gauge, while sub-zero temperatures could contribute to ice formation in the instrument. To counter the latter problem, some rain gauges are equipped with heating systems that thaw the frozen rainwater.

Altering the weather

Nowadays, not only is it possible to predict the weather, but even to change it in certain cases! Airports now use specific technologies that could change the outside conditions around the runways, facilitating liftoff and touchdown. For this, cloudseeding has been developed. This is a complex artificial process that alters precipitation via condensation nuclei that are projected into the air.

Bayanat Engineering, a Qatar-based company that specializes in providing aeronautic solutions, has equipped the Hamad International Airport with these and many other technologies. To learn more about weather monitoring, as well as about their products, visit www.bayanatengineering.qa

Streamlining emergency communication at airports

The provision of rescue and firefighting services at airports is mandated under international ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) agreements. Responding to an incident requires coordination from multiple services in the airport operations control centre. Communications are therefore critical with the key being streamlined communication between airside and landside operations.

By hosting a multimedia communication solution in an airports data centre an airport can provide critical telephony and radio communications for control room users in the Airport Operations Centre. The control room users in the airport benefit from multi communication channels within one and the same system. Incidents in the terminal or on the runway are all run through the same system. This also supports improved planning and resource allocation during planned events or emergencies. Speeding up airport incident resolution will have a direct knock-on effect in reducing delays and keeping passengers moving – especially important as numbers begin to return to pre-pandemic levels.

The Milipol exhibition in Qatar, taking place May 24-26 2022, in advance of this year’s football World Cup 2022 in the country, focuses on the security and safety of large events. Hassan Ezzeddine, Managing Partner of Bayanat Engineering Qatar, commented: “This event is a great place to showcase the Frequentis LifeX solution to the Qatar market. Qatar is preparing to host an amazing event and goes above and beyond to protect its visitors and fans.”

The Frequentis multimedia communication solution, LifeX, is an innovative platform designed to empower public safety and help control rooms collaborate more effectively. It has been designed with the future in mind, to manage the demands of next-generation control rooms with features including multimedia call handling in real-time.

“The Frequentis LifeX is operational for a number of emergency services control rooms in the UK and in Europe for a number of years, but, at the end of 2021 it was implemented for the first time at an airport in the UK,” added Josef Kutschi, Managing Director Frequentis Middle East. “Here it provides the airports Fire and Rescue Service with the same streamlined solution, offering all the benefits of a modern multimedia communications platform, including a monitoring and recording system, easy to use touch screen, and a user-friendly display to visualise all telephony and radio communications simultaneously and select the ones required. The solution has transformed the way the airport manages incidents and is the key to speeding up incident resolution and in turn improving passenger experience.”

LifeX leverages IP-based communication technologies that meet the highest demands of mission-critical public-safety use cases. The solution can integrate seamlessly with a wide range of systems via common industry standards, including Web application programming interfaces (APIs), instant messaging, next generation emergency calling (NG112), TETRA, two-way radio (P25) and mission-critical data (MCx). It also allows secure integration with other applications via standards-based APIs, dissolving solution silos. Most importantly, LifeX supports legacy and future-oriented protocols and systems in parallel. As a result, control centres can introduce new technologies such as MCx without changing existing workflows, support MCx and TETRA/P25 systems side-by-side and enable a seamless transition to end-to-end omni-channel communication.

Frequentis is one of the partners that Bayanat Engineering Qatar (BEQ) will present at Milipol Qatar. Frequentis is also currently upgrading the voice communication system (VCS) for Qatar Civil Aviation Authority (QCAA) and modernising its air traffic control tower operation to meet air traffic demand.

“Bayanat Engineering Qatar and Frequentis has a long-lasting partnership, based on trust, and have completed numerous projects in the state of Qatar,” continued Hassan, “BEQ believes in excellence and on the dot execution, powered by experience and knowledge. But more than that, we believe in trust. This trust was earned over the past two decades from our partners and clients who believe in our efficiency and timely handover of their projects. Our mission is to provide the best services for our clients for the football World Cup 2022 and preparation for Vision 2030. We ensure efficiency and safety by bringing and adapting new technologies.”

Visit booth E015 to learn more about Bayanat Engineering Qatar and Frequentis and attend the seminar to find out about: “Supporting large scale events: Lessons learned from a control room supplier point of view” with Mr. Reinard van Loo (MSc), Frequentis Senior Advisor / Public Solutions Consultant.

For more information visit www.frequentis.com or www. www.bayanatengineering.qa