Garmin unveils more discriminating weather radar

The result of that effort is an advanced Doppler radar with a 16-color display created from a highly automated 3D scan of airspace ahead. Hail and lightning prediction and optional wind shear detection capability are among the features of the GWX 8000 StormOptix, which is initially available only for factory installation on Cessna Citation Longitude aircraft, a company spokesman said, though Garmin envisions expanding the potential market to include retrofits for this and other aircraft certified under Part 25, as well as high-performance aircraft certified under Part 23.

Integrated with Garmin’s G5000 avionics suite, the first GWX 8000 installations are expected in the second quarter, the company noted in a press release, “with compatibility for other Garmin avionics systems expected to follow later this year.” The radar is among the lightest in its class (12.9 pounds with a 14-inch antenna), and can be paired with antennas ranging in diameter from 10 inches to 18 inches. Turbulence detection is a standard feature, and the system can also detect atmospheric conditions conducive to lighting and hail development within a storm cell. The optional wind shear detection feature goes a step further, detecting vertical wind movement and triggering aural wind shear alerts.

The radar scan is automated to simplify operation, and was tested in a range of conditions to validate performance. Garmin also worked to ensure non-weather returns including ground clutter are filtered out, presenting pilots with a clearer picture.

“We are excited and proud to offer owners and operators an advanced weather radar solution that provides a comprehensive and clear depiction of weather with virtually no effort from the pilot,” said Carl Wolf, Garmin vice president of aviation sales and marketing, in the news release. “The StormOptix weather radar can go beyond many popular weather radar systems by leveraging its autoscan technology to display severe storm cells in unparalleled detail in addition to depicting storms which may contain wind shear, turbulence, as well as lightning and hail prediction. With these advanced technologies, pilots can reduce workload while making timely decisions to more confidently navigate around significant weather.”

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