Airplanes are complicated pieces of machinery. They can only stay in the air because very skilled and specialized mechanics know how to maintain them, but the complexity does not stop there. They also depend on a variety of supporting equipment, from weather stations to air traffic control, to stop accidents from happening. All of these workers depend on specialized equipment, and it is that gear that allows the modern aviation industry to function.
The humble radio has been around for about a century, but it is still one of the most important tools in the aviation industry. It is the device that allows pilots to communicate with the control tower to prevent accidents when taking off and landing, or to ask for assistance in an emergency. Radios are so important to aviators that a specific set of frequencies, called the Airband, is reserved for use by aircraft.
The radio forms to the core of the defense against collisions, but it isn’t the only piece of equipment that contributes to that goal. Airborne collision avoidance systems, usually called ACAS, also exist to prevent accidents. They work independently of control systems on the ground to make sure that they can cover any mistakes that air traffic control might make. They rely on a mixture of radar, maps, and radio technology to detect objects that are getting too close. When that happens, they will attempt to move the plane to prevent the accident, or failing that to minimize the damage. While it is ideal for the plane to avoid situations where the ACAS is necessary, nothing in life is ever perfect, and the system provides an important backup that can save lives.
Mother Nature may not have intended for humans to fly, but they managed to do it anyway. However, modern aviators still need to pay attention to the natural world. Local weather patterns can have a major impact on a flight, and pilots need to track the weather carefully in order to avoid problems.
Most modern airport weather stations have been automated to make sure that they can gather all of the relevant information without breaking the bank. There are several different varieties, but they all track the same information. Visibility is the most important piece of data, but they also gather information about the wind speed and direction, temperature, pressure, and precipitation. This provides enough information to predict future weather patterns as well as to keep pilots informed about current conditions, which allows airlines to plan safe routes. These stations are so effective that they have turned into the foundation of most weather tracking in the United States and many other developed nations, and that accuracy only developed because it is absolutely vital to the aviation industry.