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“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.”
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 every day in newscasts and weather reports.”
Morris noted, “What attracted me to the Capricorn 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, “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 conditions.