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News|College of Engineering and Applied Science

Brennan Kilty Makes Headlines with Involvement of Honeywell’s IntuVue 3-D Weather Radar


November 28, 2012 — “Maintain a reputation for problem solving and getting things done, even if you’re not particularly experienced in a given area…” Brennan Kilty, Radar Systems Engineer – Honeywell Aerospace

Brennan Kilty graduated from the College of Engineering and Applied Science at UW in 2007 with a M.S. in Electrical Engineering following the completion of a B.S. in Electrical Engineering in 2006.  Kilty is now employed with Honeywell Aerospace as a radar systems engineer, with  specialties including; modeling and simulation using MatLab, digital signal processing, classification algorithm development, C++ application development, and systems integration.  Brennan is part of a team of engineers developing the IntuVue 3-D weather radar which has been receiving large amounts of both national and international acclaim.

IntuVue is a weather radar system for aircraft that develops a detailed picture of the weather ahead in three-dimensions.  The system has the ability to predict with 90% accuracy the location within a storm system where inclement weather is developing.  This accuracy allows pilots to deviate from their flight paths when necessary and plot an optimal course through or around weather, saving fuel, time, money, and passenger safety. 

Up until the development of this technology pilots were required to manually manipulate the scanning tilt of the radar antennae leaving a risk of under-scanning a weather cell if not actively managed and properly interpreted.  With the IntuVue system, the entire process is now automated with the primary goals being to characterize the weather encountered by the aircraft while simultaneously predicting the surrounding environment.  The radar is able to interpret the 3-D information and determine if the weather pattern is likely producing hail, lightning, or simply stratus rainfall (rainfall resulting from a weak warm front).

IntuVue has the ability to interpret weather up to 320 nautical miles away from the aircraft.  The system has been designed with buffers that block out ground clutter and includes rejection processing to suppress interference, resulting in only weather data being presented to the pilot on the display screen. 

Testing of the radar’s capabilities utilizes two different aircraft including the Convair 580 and a Boeing 757.  The Convair 580 is preferred for windshear penetrations.  Low level passes (approximately 1000 ft above the ground) are conducted searching for microbursts to fly into that correlate the radar’s predictive windshear features with measured in-situ data.  The Boeing 757 is used for high altitude data collection and for longer travel durations in the interception of weather. 

Currently, the IntuVue is being used by the European Union and NASA in the study of high ice water content in weather systems.  This is problematic for engines as the ice water melts on the compressor fans and then refreezes, changing the shape of the blades and levels of compression.  In the future there are hopes for the product to move into the general aviation market as it becomes more economically feasible.  

The team of developer’s for the IntuVue originated with approximately 100 engineers.  Currently the systems engineering and software engineering teams consist of approximately 15 individuals each, with four additional mechanics, and a testing team of 20.  This group of individuals has revolutionized 3-D radar technology.

The IntuVue project has been featured on the The Weather Channel, NBC (Atlanta), CBS News, ABC World News, ABC (Oklahoma City), USA Today, Popular Science, and the Wall Street Journal.

Kilty primarily works remotely from his home in Omaha, NE where he is able to directly interact with the rest of Honeywell’s radar engineering group headquartered in Redmond, WA.  When supporting a test flight, Brennan works with the flight crew to find a mutually beneficial rendezvous point, which in the past has included Cheyenne, WY and Omaha, NE, but often times he flies commercially back to the aircraft at it's home base in Everett, WA or Phoenix, AZ.  In support of the High Ice Water studies, Kilty participated in a six week deployment on a customer test aircraft that is based out of Toulouse, France and Santiago, Chile.

For additional information on Honeywell Aerospace and the RDR4000 IntuVue please visit: http://www.newfromhoneywell.com/

 

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