You would be surprised, in a small country such as
Barbados, that the weather at the airport can be very different
to that experienced just 10 miles away, particularly when you have
cells and other weather phenomenon moving through." Bajan Helicopters,
Ltd. offers charter helicopter services throughout the Caribbean.
General Manager George Morris described their need
for weather information. "The Caribbean
is influenced significantly by tropical weather. For the safety
of our pilots and passengers, we think it's important to have up-to-date
weather information. Although this is available through very modern
systems at the local airport, it is quite helpful for our pilots
to have up-to-date information also available at our primary base
which is the Bridgetown heliport."
Bajan selected the Capricorn
2000 weather station to provide the weather information they
needed. In addition, Bajan supplies weather data to the airport
and the meteorological office. Morris said, "We are now able to
provide them with data from the Bridgetown area, which is the capital
city, which they weren't otherwise able to gather. It's a bit of
a promotional thing for us to have the Bridgetown heliport noted
each and every day in newscasts and the weather reports."
Morris noted, "What attracted me to the Capricorn
2000 was its modular nature - you can take the basic system and
add components as you need to. The strongest point was the computer
interface - being able to interface that station immediately to
our network in real time and have several people on our network
be able to access the same information."
Wind speed and wind direction are the primary parameters
which affect flight operations in terms of the direction helicopters
land and take off. Morris commented, "That is quite an important
aspect of flying. That is now available on approach to the heliport
and departure. We are fortunate in that the wind is somewhat constant
in the Caribbean, but it can be affected because of the topography
where the heliport is. For that reason, it would not be unusual
for the pilot to request wind direction and wind speed." Bajan has
enabled the alarm capability to alert operators to specific wind
Other parameters are observed as well, such as barometric
pressure. "If we have a significant downtrend then we are probably
in for some bad weather, so we all pay attention to that," Morris
said. "Rainfall is always useful, as is relative humidity."
Their Capricorn 2000 has worked "flawlessly."
"It's a good system," Morris noted. "It's very straightforward
to install. The documentation was clear and concise. You couldn't
ask for anything much easier than that."