Among the often confusing displays, buttons, switches and annunciators in today’s advanced cockpits, one of the easiest devices to use is the airborne weather radar system. Simply turn it on, and when it’s warmed up and tested, adjust the range and tilt to see the weather ahead. What could be more intuitive?
In fact, there is plenty to know about what radar can do, how it does it, and — most importantly — its limitations. The problem is, formal instruction in the use of airborne weather radar has been difficult to find. That is a void Erik Eliel is on a mission to fill.
Eliel is the founder and president of Radar Training International, which conducts a six-hour program that begins with a brief overview of radar basics and progresses into advanced concepts necessary to properly use on-board radar to its fullest potential.
Eliel will present his full program at the Twin Commander University April 23-25, a biennial symposium that will be held at the Hilton Savannah DeSoto in Savannah, Georgia. This will be Eliel’s fifth university appearance.
Eliel also covers NEXRAD radar capabilities and limitations and how to properly integrate this technology into operational decisions. Those who complete the course are given take-home seminar materials including RTI’s color Airborne Weather Radar Pilot’s Operating Guide.
Eliel has been involved in aviation as a pilot for more than 30 years. After graduating from Montana State College, he was an Air Force pilot flying the T-38, C-141 and the U-2. He first became involved with radar in 1991 flying airlift and transport missions to Europe, Africa, South America, and the Middle East.
He later became an instructor at the Air Force Advanced Instrument School (AIS) in San Antonio, Texas, where he implemented the first formal weather radar training program for Air Force pilots. His program is still taught by AIS instructors to more than 280 pilots annually, representing all branches of the Department of Defense, NASA, and other government agencies.
Following his Air Force service Erik became a line pilot for an airline, where he continued to develop his expertise in the use and teaching of airborne weather radar. His weather radar program has been implemented into training for both the company pilots and dispatchers of the airline. He has also been called on to consult with the pilots and engineers of a radar manufacturer in the design and proper operational use of airborne weather radar.