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Rockwell Collins
MultiScan ThreatTrackTM Radar
A318, A319, A320, A321, A330

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Table of Contents

1.0 Introduction ........................................................................................7

1.1 Purpose ........................................................................................7
1.1.1 Keep Passengers and Crew Members Safe .......................7
1.1.2 Enable Efficient Aircraft Operation .....................................7
1.1.3 Lower Operating Risks .......................................................8
1.2 MultiScan Overview .....................................................................9
1.2.1 MultiScanTM .........................................................................9
1.2.2 MultiScan V1 ....................................................................10
1.2.3 MultiScan ThreatTrack .....................................................11
1.2.4 Automatic Functions Available in Different Modes ...........12
2.0 Controls ............................................................................................13
2.1 General Controls .......................................................................13
2.1.1 MAN/AUTO ......................................................................13
2.1.2 GCS (Ground Clutter Suppression) OFF/ON ...................15
2.1.3 SYS (SYSTEM) 1/OFF/2 ..................................................15
2.1.4 PWS (Predictive Windshear) OFF/AUTO ........................15
2.2 Mode Controls ............................................................................15
2.2.1 WX (Weather) ..................................................................15
2.2.2 WX+T (Weather + Turbulence) ........................................17
2.2.3 WX+T+HZD (Weather + Turbulence + Hazard) ..............17
2.2.4 MAP .................................................................................18
2.3 Tilt Control ..................................................................................18
2.4 Gain Control ...............................................................................18
2.5 Recommended Operating Mode ................................................18
3.0 Displays (Displayed Information) .....................................................20
3.1 Gain - Standard Radar Colors/ Reflectivity Rates ......................20
3.1.1 Gain (MAN Operation) .....................................................20
3.1.2 Gain (AUTO Operation) ...................................................22
3.2 Quiet, Dark Cockpit ....................................................................24
3.3 MultiScan ThreatTrack ..............................................................25
3.3.1 Directly Detected Threats .................................................26 Core Threat AnalysisTM ............................................26 Predictive OverFlightTM ............................................26 Two-Level Enhanced Turbulence ............................27
3.3.2 Associated (Inferred) Threats - Hail/Lightning Prediction .28 Mid Altitude Associated Threat ................................28

3 Mature Cell Associated Threat ................................29 Anvil Top Associated Threat ....................................30
3.4 Attenuation .................................................................................31
3.4.1 Attenuation and Display of Long Range Weather ............31
3.4.2 Sensitivity Time Control ....................................................32
3.4.3 “Radar Shadow” ...............................................................33
3.4.4 Path Attenuation Compensation (PAC) and PAC Alert .....34
3.5 Beam Width and Cell Height Resolution ...................................35
3.6 Predictive Windshear (PWS) .....................................................36
3.6.1 Windshear Detection Regions ..........................................37
4.0 Radar Interpretation .........................................................................38
4.1 What Does Green Mean? ..........................................................38
4.1.1 Manual Operating Techniques and the Color Green ........38
4.1.2 Increased Gain at Cruise Altitudes ...................................39
4.2 What Does Green Mean?, Low Altitude Operations ..................40
4.2.1 Stratiform Rain .................................................................40
4.2.2 Bright Band ......................................................................40
4.3 Radar Interpretation, High Altitude Ice Crystals (HAIC) .............42
4.4 Radar Interpretation, Navigable/Non-Navigable Weather .........43
4.4.1 Introduction .....................................................................43
4.4.2 Navigable Weather ..........................................................43
4.4.3 Non-Navigable Weather ..................................................45
4.4.4 Non-Reflective Weather ..................................................46
4.5 Radar Interpretation, Oceanic Weather .....................................47
5.0 How the (MultiScan ThreatTrack) Radar Works ...............................49
5.1 Primary Technologies .................................................................49
5.1.1 Flight Path Hazard Analysis .............................................49
5.1.2 Beam to Beam Power Comparison ..................................50 The Challenge .........................................................50 Ground Clutter Elimination ......................................51 The Quiet, Dark Cockpit ..........................................52
5.1.3 Automatic Temperature Based Gain ................................53
5.1.4 Geographic Weather CorrelationTM ..................................53 Worldwide Weather Variation ..................................53 Geographic Weather Correlation Technology .........56 Low Lying Stratiform Weather Anomalies ...............57
5.1.5 Track While Scan Analysis ...............................................58 Why Threat Analysis? .............................................58 Track While Scan Technology .................................58
4 Individual Cell Analysis ............................................58 Cell Life Cycle .........................................................58
5.2 Secondary Technologies ............................................................60
5.2.1 OverFlightTM Protection ....................................................60
5.2.2 SmartScanTM ....................................................................61
5.2.3 TrueZeroTM .......................................................................62
5.2.4 Radar Scan and Tilt Philosophy .......................................62
6.0 Manual Operating Techniques .........................................................63
6.1 Tilt Control ..................................................................................63
6.1.1 Low Altitude Tilt Control (Below 10,000 ft.) ......................64 Initial Climb Out ......................................................64 Descent Below 10,000 ft. ........................................64
6.1.2 Mid Altitude Tilt Control (10,000 - 25,000 ft.) ...................65 Tilt Technique, 40 and 80 NM Range Scales ..........65 Tilt Technique, 160 NM Range Scale ......................66
6.1.3 High Altitude Tilt Control ..................................................67 Over Scanning ........................................................67 Over Scanning Prevention Methods .......................68 Method 1 - 80 NM Tactical Range Scale ......68 Method 2 - 40 NM Over Flight Protection .....68 Method 3 - MAN MAX Gain ..........................69
6.1.4 Tilt Settings When Descending from High Altitude ...........70
6.1.5 Oceanic Tilt Settings ........................................................70
6.2 Long Range Weather Detection ................................................71
6.3 Recommended Manual Operating Procedures ..........................72
7.0 Notes ...............................................................................................73
7.1 Manual Notes .............................................................................73
7.2 Radiation Hazard .......................................................................74
7.3 Spoking ......................................................................................74
7.4 V1 Differences ...........................................................................77
7.4.1 Blooming ..........................................................................77
7.4.2 Manual Operation at Top of Descent ...............................78
7.4.3 ThreatTrack Features ......................................................78

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Purpose: Rockwell Collins’ MultiScan ThreatTrack Radar utilizes

multiple innovations that combine the latest in weather research with
radar technology in order to accomplish three primary tasks:

1. Keep passengers and crew members safe.

2. Allow flight crews to operate the aircraft efficiently.
3. Lower operating risks.

1.1.1 Keep Passengers and Crew Members Safe: Rockwell Collins’

MultiScan ThreatTrack Radar incorporates multiple new technologies
(described later in this manual) to decrease the likelihood of unexpected
turbulence encounters. The radar eliminates ground clutter, displays
threat weather out to 320 NM, estimates and displays actual cell tops,
examines the characteristics of the cells to determine their relative threat,
predicts growing/mature thunderstorm related turbulence, and provides a
two level enhanced turbulence display.

Furthermore, MultiScan’s Quiet, Dark Cockpit philosophy shows flight

crews all threats at a glance without having to manipulate the radar’s
controls. This reduces pilot workload, reduces cockpit distractions and
enables a safer flight.

Finally, MultiScan incorporates basic safety functions that have been

standard in Rockwell Collins radars for almost two decades; windshear
detection and attenuation alert.

1.1.2 Enable Efficient Aircraft Operation: MultiScan ThreatTrack Radar

utilizes the Quiet, Dark, Cockpit philosophy and extended range storm
top measurement to enable efficient aircraft operations.

The Quiet, Dark Cockpit philosophy means that, when the radar is used
in AUTO, only threat weather is displayed. Weather that is beneath the
aircraft altitude is not displayed. A recent OEM HMI (Human Machine
Interface) study shows the operational efficiencies achieved through this
philosophy. Note that in the lab when the pilot sample was presented
with a MultiScan like HMI, very efficient flight operations were achieved.

Almost all pilots navigated the weather in the same manner and did so in
a way that saved the most time and fuel.

MultiScan Quiet,
Dark Cockpit
The Quiet, Dark Cockpit
Philosophy results in
more efficient weather
avoidance resulting in
less fuel used and more
time saved

MultiScan ThreatTrack also incorporates a Beam to Beam Power

Comparison technology that enables the radar to begin measuring
storm tops at 120 NM with a design goal of accurate storm cell height
by 80 NM, which is the distance most pilots prefer for deviation decision
making. By way of comparison, “3D” Radars measure cell tops to about
half these distances.

1.1.3 Lower Operating Risks: ThreatTrack’s new Associated Threat

capabilities reduce the chances of aircraft damage by identifying areas
in and around cells that are electrified and have hail potential. The radar
performs an analysis of individual thunderstorms and infers the hail and
lightning threats associated with the cells based on their intensity and life
cycle characteristics.

Associated Threat

MultiScan ThreatTrack's Associated Threat icon displays a thunderstorm's

hail and lightning potential, both in and around the cell.

1.2 MultiScan Overview: The generation of new automatic radar’s
began in 2000 when engineers at Rockwell Collins invented a method
for removing ground clutter returns from the display and automatically
displaying weather from the nose of the aircraft out to 320 NM. The
resulting MultiScan radar launched in 2002. In 2009 MultiScan V1
introduced the Quiet Dark Cockpit and Geographic Weather Correlation.
And in 2014 MultiScan ThreatTrack provided individual thunderstorm
threat analysis (see Section 5, “How the Radar Works”, for details).

1.2.1 MultiScan: The original MultiScan Weather Radar launched in

September of 2002. The basic/foundational technology uses two radar
scans at two different tilt angles to capture all the ground and weather
information in front of the aircraft. This information is stored in a
temporary memory buffer. An internal terrain table is then used to draw a
conformal line above the terrain in front of the aircraft. A Beam to Beam
comparison (the heart of MultiScan) is then used to separate the ground
clutter from the weather returns. This enables the radar to see all the
weather from the nose of the aircraft out to 320 NM.

MultiScan uses two scans at two different tilt angles

to capture all the ground and weather information in
front of the aircraft.
The ground and weather infor-
mation is digitized and stored
in a temporary memory buffer.

A terrain table that resides inside The internal terrain table is used to draw a
the radar is used for a number conformal line above the earth’s surface.
of functions including aiding in A beam to beam power comparison is
ground clutter removal then performed, and returns below the
line (ground clutter) are removed from the

The end result is the dis-
play of the weather from
the nose of the aircraft
out to 320 NM.

1.2.2 MultiScan V1: MultiScan V1 software was incorporated into the

radar in 2009. MultiScan V1 introduced the Quiet, Dark Cockpit concept
(i.e. only threat weather is displayed). Using the Beam to Beam Power
Comparison technology developed for MultiScan the radar draws a
line 6,000 ft. beneath the aircraft. Non-threat weather that is below the
line (approximately 6,000 ft. beneath the aircraft) is not shown. Threat
weather above the line is displayed on the ND.
A line is drawn six thousand feet beneath the
aircraft altitude. A beam to beam power com-
parison is then performed and only weather
above the line is displayed.

As can be seen below, the HUD (Heads Up Display) indicates that the
aircraft will clear the weather seen from the cockpit. Thus, the Quiet,
Dark Cockpit concept provides the flight crew with a clean screen which,
as studies have shown, will enable the crew to fly the most efficient flight

Zero Degree Clean Screen:

Pitch Line Non-Threat
Wx is not

The HUD’s Zero Degree Pitch Line indicates that the aircraft will clear the weather
ahead. Thus, the Quiet, Dark Cockpit concept presents a “clean” screen to the crew.
The other major technology infusion in MultiScan V1 is the incorporation
of Geographic Weather Correlation. Thunderstorm characteristics vary
dramatically depending on a cell’s geographic position, whether it is
over land or over water and depending on time of year. Geographic
Weather Correlation takes all these factors into account to ensure that
the actual cell top is displayed on the ND. MultiScan V1 measures the
reflective top of the cell and then Geographic Weather Correlation uses
storm models to set thresholds that allow the radar to determine whether
or not the non-reflective cell top will reach to the aircraft altitude. This
significantly reduces the possibility of inadvertent cell top penetration
(see section 5, “How the Radar Works”, for details).



Oceanic Equatorial Continental Mid Latitude Continental

MultiScan V1 incorporates Geographic Weather Correlation technology that enables
the radar to account for the significant differences in worldwide thunderstorm charac-
teristics and display non-reflective cell tops on the ND. This significantly reduces the
possibility of inadvertent thunderstorm top penetration.

1.2.3 MultiScan ThreatTrack: MultiScan was introduced in 2014

and enables real time threat analysis of individual thunderstorm cells.
MultiScan ThreatTrack incorporates a Track While Scan Technology that
prioritizes cells and then analyzes over 100 cell characteristics to display
the actual convective threat, provide increased awareness of turbulence
and predict hail and lightning potential.

Track While Scan Technology Threats are prioritized and individual

enables the radar to track up to 48 vertical analyses performed produc-
thunderstorms while scanning for ing a real time analysis of the cell
additional threats threats

Mature Cell Associated Threat:
Hail, lightning and turb threats
Predictive OverFlight: outside the cell boundary
Turbulence from cell growing
up beneath the aircraft

Mid Altitude Associated

Threat: Lightning potential
in the vicinity of the
freezing level

FAA Certified
Ride Quality
Anvil Top Associated
Threat: Downwind hail
threat region

MultiScan ThreatTrack provides analysis tools that facilitate the best possible decision
making when transiting severe weather (see sections 2.3.3, 3.3 and 5.1.5 for details)

1.2.4 Automatic Functions Available in Different Modes

Each of the Modes below contains all of the capabilities of the
previous mode. For instance, during MAN (Manual) operation
only the windshear function is available. But windshear is also
available when AUTO + WX and AUTO + WX+T are selected.

MAN Selected: Forward Looking Windshear detection only.

AUTO and WX: Forward Looking Windshear plus MultiScan Essential

Functions (Ground Clutter Elimination, Extended Range Cell Top
Measurement, Automatic Temperature Based Gain, Geographic Weather
Correlation, OverFlight ProtectionTM, SmartScanTM, Path Attenuation
Compensation (PAC) and Alert, and Quiet, Dark Cockpit).

AUTO and WX+T: All of the above plus Enhanced Turbulence

indications out to 40 NM.

AUTO and WX+T and HZD (Hazard): All of the above plus ThreatTrack
functions (Track While Scan, Core Threat Analysis, Two Level Enhanced
Turbulence, Predictive OverFlight, Mid Altitude Associated Threat,
Mature Cell Associated Threat, Anvil Top Associated Threat).

2.0 Controls

Airbus MultiScan ThreatTrack Control Panel

2.1 General Controls

2.1.1 MAN/AUTO: The AUTO switch is a two position switch. Manual

is activated when the left-hand MAN position is selected. Automatic
operation is selected when the right-hand AUTO position is selected.
In the AUTO position the radar controls tilt and gain and analyzes
thunderstorm threats to present the best representation of the actual cell
When AUTO is selected the radar initially displays both weath-
er and ground returns. Three to four sweeps (12 - 16 seconds)
are required to remove ground clutter and initialize the auto-
matic functions. Should MAN be selected after initialization is
complete, the radar will remember the AUTO settings for two
minutes before initialization will again be required.

AUTO: When the radar is in AUTO and WX is selected MultiScan’s

essential automatic weather detection features are activated (see page
18 ***).

AUTO and WX+T: When the radar is in AUTO and WX is selected

MultiScan’s essential automatic weather detection features are activated
and Enhanced Turbulence returns are displayed out to 40 NM (see page

AUTO and WX+T+HZD (Hazard); When AUTO and WX+T+HZD

are selected, MultiScan’s essential features, Enhanced Turbulence,
and ThreatTrack features are activated (see page 17). AUTO and
WX+T+HZD are recommended during all phases of flight.
When AUTO is selected
(MAN/AUTO switch selected
to AUTO) the tilt code is
displayed without any
additional indications.

AUTO and
WX+T+HZD are
recommended in all
phases of flight.

During AUTO operation the tilt displayed on the ND is the
average of the two scans used to collect ground and weather
information (see section 1.2.1 and 5.2.4 for details).

When Manual is selected

(MAN/AUTO switch selected
to MAN), “MAN” is displayed
in front of the tilt code.

When toggled to MAN the radar operates like a traditional
manual radar. Tilt and gain must be manually controlled
(see “Manual Operating Techniques”, section 6.0). With the
exception of Windshear, all automatic features are disabled.

2.1.2 GCS (Ground Clutter Suppression) OFF/ON: The GCS switch is
a spring loaded switch that defaults to the AUTO position (Ground Clutter
Suppression Activated). When held in the MAN position all returns
(ground clutter and weather) are displayed. Once released, ground
clutter will be removed from the display on the next sweep.

The GCS switch is inactive during MAN operation.

2.1.3 SYS (System) 1/OFF/2: The left side #1 position selects the left
R/T (Receiver Transmitter). The right side #2 position selects the right
R/T. Then center OFF position turns the radar off.

2.1.4 PWS (Predictive Windshear) OFF/AUTO: When PWS is selected

to OFF the Predictive Windshear warning system is deactivated. When
the PWS switch is selected to AUTO the Predictive Windshear system is
activated and will provide warnings to the flight crew even if the radar is
turned off.
When the PWS switch is selected to OFF Windshear
annunciations will not be displayed. It is recommended that
the PWS switch be left in the AUTO position at all times.

2.2 Mode Controls

2.2.1 WX (WEATHER): When the radar is in AUTO and the WX mode

is selected MultiScan’s essential automatic weather detection features
(explained in detail in Section 5, “How The Radar Works”) are activated.
The essential functions include:

1. Ground Clutter Elimination

2. Extended Range Cell Top Measurement
3. Automatic Temperature Based Gain
4. Geographic Weather Correlation
5. OverFlight Protection
6. SmartScan
7. Path Attenuation Compensation (PAC) and Alert
8. Quiet, Dark Cockpit
9. Forward Looking Windshear Detection

The pictures on the following page show the end results. MultiScan
eliminates the ground clutter and displays the weather out to 320 NM. In
addition, MultiScan utilizes the Quiet, Dark cockpit philosophy to display
only weather information that is a threat to the aircraft.
In these pictures note the absence of ground clutter and the thunder-
storm cells at 60, 120, and 200 NM. In addition, the radar displays a
fourth cell that is over the horizon at 300 NM.


(PAC) Alert




300 NM
(Over the Horizon) 60 NM
120 NM
200 NM

Quiet, Dark Cockpit:

Non-threat weather is
not displayed

Due to the fact that weather changes rapidly and the radar now
has an effective range of 320 NM, it is not unusual to see a
complete thunderstorm cycle with mature cells dissipating and
new cells appearing on the display as the aircraft moves to-
wards the weather.
2.2.2 WX+T (Weather + Turbulence): When the radar is in AUTO and
the WX+T mode is selected MultiScan’s essential automatic weather de-
tection features (see previous section) are activated and Enhanced Dop-
pler Turbulence returns are displayed out to 40 NM on all range scales..

2.2.3 WX+T+HZD (Weather + Turbulence + Hazard): For the new

MultiScan ThreatTrack radar WX+T+HZD is a new Mode Control Op-
tion that enales the new ThreatTrack software. The ThreatTrack soft-
ware combines the essential MultiScan functions mentioned in section
2.21 with several new analysis tools and iconic information that enables
flight crews to better assess actual thunderstorm threats. ThreatTrack
is based on Rockwell Collins’ Track While Scan and Flight Path Hazard
Analysis technologies which are described in detail in Section 5, “How
the Radar Works”. WX+T+HZD enables the following new features:

1. Core Threat Analysis, 2. Predictive OverFlight, 3. Two Level

Enhanced Turbulence, 4. Mid Altitude Associated Threat As-
sessment, 5. Mature Cell Associated Threat Assessment, and 6.
Anvil Top Associated Threat Assessment
Core Threat Predictive
Analysis OverFlight

Two Level Mid Altitude

Enhanced Associated
Turbulence Threat

Mature Cell Anvil Top

Associated Associated
Threat Threat

ThreatTrack capabilities and display interpretation are discussed in Section 3.3

During MAN operations ThreatTrack (HZD) functions are not
available. WX+T+HZD reverts to the standard WX+T function.
2.2.4 MAP: MAP mode enables display of all radar echoes including
terrain and weather information. The receiver sensitivity is decreased
by approximately one color level to accommodate terrain characteristics
instead of weather. This mode enables identification of terrain features
such as mountains, coastlines, bodies of water etc.


I-80 Chicago

MAP Mode displays all radar echoes, terrain and weather

When MAP mode is active Turbulence and PAC Alert informa-
tion are not displayed.

When operating in AUTO and below 10,000’ MAP mode will
not display adequate ground returns due to the position of the
radar beams. Manual operation of the radar will be required for
adequate ground mapping below 10,000’.

2.3 TILT Control: The tilt control is inactive during AUTO operation.
MAN TILT operation is discussed in detail in section 6.0, “Manual Operat-
ing Techniques”.

2.4 GAIN Control: Calibrated (CAL) gain is selected when the Gain
Control deten is selected to the CAL position (see picture next page).
Maximum (MAX) gain is achieved when the gain knob is rotated to the
fully clockwise MAX Gain position. Minimum (MIN) Gain occurs when
the knob is rotated to the fully counter clockwise MIN Gain position.

CAL Gain
NOTE (Calibrated Gain)

The numbers on the

Gain Control cor-
relate to the Gain
Schedule described
in Section 3.1.1.

MIN Gain MAX Gain

(Fully Counter Clockwise) (Fully Clockwise)

No Gain indica- MAN GAIN

tion above the tilt indicates that the
The numberscodeon the Gain Control
indicates correlate to theis Gain
Gain Sched-
set either
ule described in Section
the radar is in 3.1.1. above or below
the CAL Gain the CAL Gain
position . position.

Full above and below the calibrated gain position is available
during both MAN and AUTO operation.

2.5 Recommended Operating Mode: The recommended operating

mode for MultiScan ThreatTrack is AUTO, CAL Gain, and WX+T+HZD
(Weather Plus Turbulence Plus Hazard) in all phases of flight.

Recommended Settings During All Phases of Flight (Tilt Control Inactive)

3.0 Displays (Displayed Information)

3.1 Gain - Standard Radar Colors/Reflectivity Rates: In MAN CAL

Gain the radar paints the standard reflectivity rates (representing rain fall
rates) for red, yellow, green and black. Weather that is present in the
black region is not reflective enough to meet the green threshold display
criteria. Notice that an increase or decrease of ten dB of sensitivity rep-
resents a change of one color level.
Standard Radar Reflectivity (Rain Fall) Rates

Less than Weak .76 - 3.81 Moderate .3.81 - 12.7 Strong to 12.7 mm/
.76 mm/hr (20 dBz) mm/hr (30 dBz) mm/hr Very Strong hr (.5 in/
(.03 in/hr) (.03 - .15 (.15 - .5 (40 dBz and hr) and
in/hr) in/hr) Greater Greater

10 dBz 10 dBz
During MAN operation radar colors are determined by rainfall rates (note: dBz is an
engineering term for reflectivity). Note that there is 10 dB of gain between each color level.

3.1.1 GAIN (MAN Operation): As can be seen in the chart below,

increasing the gain to MAX increases the sensitivity by 16 dB or an
increase of one and a half color levels. Conversely, selecting Minimum
gain decreases the sensitivity by 14 dB and reduces the color levels ap-
proximately one and half times.
Gain Table: WX, WX+T, WX+T+HZD Modes
Control Position Gain Change ND Indication
Fully CW +16 dB MAN GAIN
CAL +0 dB
Fully CCW -14 dB MAN GAIN
Each gain number in the chart is also displayed on the Gain Control knob
(see Section 2.4). MAX gain is achieved by turning the knob fully clock-
wise to the MAX position. MIN gain is achieved by turning the knob fully
counterclockwise to the MIN position. Note that +8 position increases
the gain by approximately one color level. Conversely, the -9 position
decreases gain by about one color level.
The pictures below show the changes at various gain setting.
MAX -3 dB
(+16 dB)

+12 dB -6 dB

+8 dB -9 dB

+4 dB -12 dB

(+0 dB) (-14 dB)

MIN Gain should only be used for momentary weather evalua-
tion. Gain should then be returned to the CAL gain position in
order to avoid under representing the thunderstorm threat.

3.1.2 Gain (AUTO Operation): During AUTO operation MultiScan uses
an Automatic Temperature Based Gain technology to automatically
control gain and help prevent inadvertent thunderstorm top penetration
(described in more detail in Section 5.0, “How the Radar Works”).

A typical thunderstorm is very reflective below the freezing level. Howev-

er, the top of the storm tends to be glaciated (composed of ice crystals)
and non-reflective. As an aircraft climbs the radar beam moves higher
in the cell, and, at cruise altitudes, can over scan the reflective portion of
the cell resulting in inadvertent thunderstorm top penetration.

Glaciated (composed
of ice crystals)

As the aircraft climbs the beam can

eventually over scan the reflective
portion of the cell. This can cause the
storm to fall off the display and result
in inadvertent cell top penetration.

The mid portion of a cell is

composed of a combination of
water and ice crystals and is
moderately reflective.

The lower portion of a cell beneath the

freezing level is completely liquid (rain)
and a good radar reflector.

As the aircraft climbs and the outside air temperature decreases, Auto-
matic Temperature Based Gain automatically increase gain to compen-
sate for the lower reflectivity of upper level thunderstorms.

The following pictures illustrate the difference between manual and

auto gain at cruise altitudes. Note that at cruise altitudes Manual MAX
Gain and Auto CAL Gain present essentially the same picture due to the
Automatic Temperature Based Gain feature that is active during AUTO
as viewed from
the cockpit.


MAN CAL Gain selected. Manual tilt set MAN MAX Gain selected. Tilt is unchanged
properly (see section 6.1.2 and 6.1.3) from previous picture.


AUTO CAL Gain selected. Note that AUTO AUTO MAX Gain selected. Full above CAL
CAL Gain and Man MAX Gain display Gain control is available in AUTO but will
essentially the same level of cell intensity. over represent the threat.

Because of Automatic Temperature Based Gain, AUTO CAL gain pro-

vides the best representation of the actual threat, best defines the true
extent of the cell and helps prevent inadvertent cell top penetration.
AUTO CAL Gain is recommended in all phases of flight.
At cruise altitudes MAN Max gain and AUTO CAL gain are es-
sentially equivalent. In AUTO, further increasing the gain above
the CAL position may result in over warning and unnecessary
MultiScan’s use of variable temperature based gain means that
most flight crews will see more than they are used to seeing
when using the radar in AUTO. Please refer to Section 4.0,
“Radar Interpretation” for details.

3.2 Quiet, Dark Cockpit: MultiScan uses the Quiet, Dark Cockpit
philosophy to display weather threats. If the weather is not a threat
(i.e. it is more than approximately 6,000 ft. beneath the aircraft), it is not
displayed. In the picture below note the Flight Path Vector on the HUD
display and also note that it is intersecting the zero degree pitch line.
This clearly shows that the aircraft flight path is above the cells seen
by the pilot. As a result, the display shows a clean screen since the
weather is below the aircraft flight altitude.

Flight Path

Zero Degree
Pitch Line

Quiet, Dark Cockpit: This view is through the

HUD combiner. The Flight Path Vector (FPV)
is indicating acceptable overflight clearance.
Weather that is more than approximately 6,000
ft. below the aircraft is NOT displayed. Quiet, Dark

Weather that is below the aircraft altitude is often visible from the cockpit
and there are occasions where it may appear that cells should be
displayed, but are not. For instance, in the pictures below it is not initially
apparent whether or not the cell is at the aircraft altitude.

80 NM 40 NM

From a distance this cell appears to be at or near the aircraft altitude.

After a cell rains out significant cloud can remain suspended in the
atmosphere, but it has little to no convective activity at altitude. On close
approach it can be seen that this cell is post convective (you can see
right through it). Therefore, applying the Quiet, Dark Cockpit philosophy,
this non-threat cell is not displayed.

From a distance this cell appears dangerous.

However, upon further examination it can be
seen that it is post convective and has very little
substance. It is also slightly below the aircraft flight
Quiet, Dark path. Therefore, it is not displayed.

When using the radar in MAN mode it is always possible to
adjust the radar to get the picture you believe should be pres-
ent. In this case it might be possible to see this cell if a very low
tilt setting is used to detect rain at lower altitudes. However,
in AUTO mode the radar uses extensive weather analysis to
display the actual threat.

3.3 MultiScan ThreatTrack: MultiScan ThreatTrack displays both di-

rectly detected threat and inferred threat information. Directly detected
threats, as the name implies, are direct measurements of observed
threats. Inferred (estimated) threats are based on analysis of individual
thunderstorms and are derived from the convective nature and life cycle
development stage of the cells.

3.3.1 Directly Detected Threats Core Threat Analysis: A key design feature of MultiScan Threat-

Track makes the colors displayed on the ND more representative of the
actual thunderstorm threat. When the Track While Scan technology (see
Section 5.1.5) determines that the convective activity is more intense
than the precipitation level would normally indicate, Core Threat Analysis
increases the color level to better represent the actual threat.

Core Threat Core Threat

Off On

Notice that the radar return with

Ground Radar
Core Threat “On” correlates much
more closely with the hazard picture Hazard Picture
provided by the ground based radar.
In cases where the convective
activity is already properly displayed
colors are left unchanged. Predictive OverFlight: Rapidly growing thunderstorms push a

turbulence bow wave above them as they grow that can produce severe
turbulence even though the aircraft is several thousand feet above the
visible top. Predictive OverFlight uses MultiScan ThreatTrack’s Track
While Scan
Technology to
detect and mea-
sure cell growth
rate and then predicts
the resulting bow wave
turbulence created by
the storm. The Predic-
tive OverFlight Icon
(next page) is used to
warn flight crews of the
potential turbulence Thunderstorm cells can grow as rapidly as 6,000 ft. per
threat from a cell that minute. When this occurs a turbulence bow wave is
pushed ahead of the growing cell.
is growing towards the
aircraft’s flight level.


The Predictive OverFlight icon warns of bow wave turbulence that is a

result of rapidly building cells beneath the aircraft

Because the cell is growing towards the aircraft altitude weather
may eventually appear on the display and replace the Predictive
OverFlight icon.


The Predictive OverFlight alert is displayed out to 40 NM.

However, Predictive OverFlight alerts may occur much closer
to the aircraft based on the growth rate and location of the cell
relative to the aircraft. Two-Level Enhanced Turbulence: Two-Level Enhanced Turbu-

lence measures severe and ride quality turbulence out to 40 NM. When
the FAA standard for severe turbulence is met (.3g rms) solid magenta is
displayed. When the radar detects less severe ride quality turbulence,
consisting of light to moderate chop, then speckled magenta is displayed.

Light to


Solid magenta represents the FAA defined standard for severe

turbulence. Speckled magenta represents ride quality turbulence
(i.e. light to moderate chop)

3.3.2 Associated (Inferred) Threats - Hail and Lightning Prediction
See Section 5.0, “How the Radar Works” for details regard-
ing the engineering and science behind the Associated Threat
warnings. Mid Altitude Associated Threat: Towards the end of the cumu-
lous stage of thunderstorm development, cells become electrified but do
not yet have extensive high altitude convective activity. Never the less,
these mid altitude cells do contain lightning potential. MultiScan Thre-
atTrack radar denotes this mid altitude lightning threat by placing red
speckles within the cell boundaries.


The Mid Altitude Associated Threat denotes cells with lightning potential
by placing red speckles within the cell boundaries
The mid altitude associated threat icon will no longer be dis-
played once the aircraft climbs more than 10,000 ft. above the
freezing level.

Approximately 80% of lightning

strikes occur within plus or minus The majority of lightning
3,500 feet of the freezing level. strikes occur within the
vicinity of the freezing level
When electrified cells are present
maintain an appropriate distance
from electrified cells in accor-
dance with company guidelines. Freezing
When possible, minimize time in Level
the vicinity of the freezing level.

28 Mature Cell Associated Threat: During the mature stage of
thunderstorm development strong updrafts carry moisture aloft with the
result that there is high reflectivity at cold temperatures. These mature
cells create lightning and hail potential and produce very strong turbu-
lence. What is more, because the strong updrafts associated with these
thunderstorms can exit the top or sides of the cell the potential threat
area can extend well outside the cell boundaries. In the case of a Ma-
ture Cell Associated Threat warning, MultiScan ThreatTrack extends the
warning area outside the cell boundary to denote the increased threat.

Mature Cell Associated

Threat Icon

The Mature Cell Associated Threat places red speckles outside the cell
boundary to denote hail, lightning and turbulence potential
DDisplayed weather returns are directly detected threats. The
rred speckles represent an inferred or predicted threat. There-
fore, when pilots are making deviation decisions, weather
should always take priority over the red speckled regions.

The speckled icon represents a region where a threat may be
present, but it is not a threat boundary. Turbulence and hail can
extend outside the icon boundaries. Conversely, in some cases
flight crews may penetrate this region without incident. Turbu-
lence and hail might be present, but at a different altitude.
There will be occasions where the associated threat icon ap-
pears suddenly. For rapidly growing cells the transition from the
Cumulous stage to the Mature stage can happen in a matter of
minutes. When the cell reaches the Mature Cell threshold, the
icon is displayed.
The Mature Cell Associated Threat icon is displayed at all alti-
tudes during all phases of flight.
29 Anvil Top Associated Threat: Mature cells often form an anvil
top downwind of the thunderstorm. In these instances hail can be eject-
ed from the top of the cell and create a hail Anvil Top
danger area in downwind region. Above
25,000’ MultiScan ThreatTrack’s Anvil Top
Associated Threat warning uses the upper Cell
level winds to define a potential region
of ejected hail downwind of the cell. The
region will be larger or smaller depending
on the wind velocity.


Anvil Top (Down

Wind) Threat Region

The Anvil Top Associated Threat warns of a hail danger region

downwind of the cell

This is another reminder that, whenever possible, it is best to
transit thunderstorms to the upwind side.
The downwind threat region is activated when the aircraft climbs
above 25,000 ft. and the wind is greater than 10 kt.
Climbing through 25,000 ft. the icon shifts direction to orient
along the upper level wind axis and increases the downwind
length in direct proportion to the wind velocity.

Below 25,000’ Above 25,000’

Above the 25,000 ft. the Anvil Top Associated Threat uses upper level wind information to
rotate the Mature Cell Icon and extend it downwind into the predicted hail threat region.

3.4 Attenuation: Significant attenuation of the radar signal due to
absorption and scattering occurs as the transmitted pulse moves to its
furthest range and again during transit back to the receiver from a radar
target. In addition, beyond 80 NM a normal thunderstorm (defined as a 3
NM sphere of water) no longer fills the radar beam. As a consequence,
significant amounts of radar energy bypass the target entirely. The end
result is that, for weather targets detected at extended ranges, the signal
received back at the aircraft is significantly weaker than the original radar

The radar signal is continuously attenuated

with the result that the return signal is
significantly weaker than the original
transmitted pulse.

Transmitted Pulse
Return Energy

50 NM 80 NM 300 NM

3.4.1 Attenuation and the Display of Long Range Weather: At longer

ranges due to attenuation the radar will only be able to see very strong
weather such as thunderstorm cores. As these storms approach the
aircraft more of the cell becomes visible. In the pictures below first note
the line of cells at 300 NM. As the cells approach the aircraft attenuation
is lessened and the cells appear to grow. Within 80 NM the full extent of
the storms becomes visible to the radar.
Due to attenua-
tion the radar can
only see thunder-
storm cores at Line of cells at Line of cells at
320 NM. As cells 280 NM 240 NM
near the aircraft
they will appear
to grow. In actu-
ality, attenuation
is decreasing
and the radar is
better able to see Line of cells at
120 NM Line of cells at
the full extent of
80 NM
the cells.

3.4.2 Sensitivity Time Control (STC): STC is designed to compensate
for beam attenuation of the aircraft by increasing receiver sensitivity over
time so that more distant thunderstorm cells have more energy on the
target than do cells closer to the aircraft.
Sensitivity time control (STC)
increases receiver sensitivity over
time. As a consequence distant

Receiver Sensitivity
thunderstorm cells have more energy
on target than do close in cells.

STC Limit
Time (Distance)
As cells approach the aircraft STC decreases sensitivity to prevent the
cells from growing in intensity. However, due the use of increased gain
in AUTO (see section 3.1.2), STC limits for green are reached at approxi-
mately 40 NM and green (and occasionally some yellow) may appear on
the display. For instance, as the pictures below show, A potential transit
corridor between two cells is visible at 50 NM. However, due to STC limi-
tations, green returns are visible between the cells at 40 NM. Essentially,
at 40 NM the radar displays the haze layer that is between the two cells.
Flight crews will experience light to moderate chop when transiting this
corridor (see next Section 4.0, Radar Interpretation).
At 50 NM STC is un-
a potential able to com-
transit cor- pensate at
ridor can 40 NM and Transit Corridor
be seen haze layer fills with green
between the between
cells at the the cells is
top left of the displayed.

Potential Transit

It should be considered normal radar operation when green
appears on the display at around 40 NM. In this case, green
represents navigable weather and light to moderate chop would
be expected.
3.4.3 “Radar Shadow”: When intervening rainfall becomes heavy the
radar beam may be so severely attenuated that there is not enough
energy to penetrate the weather, see what is behind, and then return to
the aircraft. When this situation occurs weather behind the intervening
rainfall will be masked. This area of hidden weather is often referred to
as an area of radar shadow.

Area Attenuated

Attenuated Attenuated
Area Area

(1) Due to attenuation the cells at 5 NM are (2) Upon penetration attenuation increases.
masking significant weather behind them. Previously visible weather is masked.

(3) At the mid point of the penetration a (4) Near the trailing edge of the initial storm
small weather return is visible behind the cell several additional returns become
storm. visible.


(5) At the trailing edge of the initial cell the (6) After exiting the true extent of the
new returns form a new thunderstorm line. weather is visible. “Hooks”, such as the one
at the cell’s bottom right, have sometimes
been associated with tornado activity.
3.4.4 Path Attenuation Compensation (PAC) and PAC ALERT: Path
Attenuation Compensation compensates for intervening rail fall in order
to display more distant cells with the correct intensity. When the rain fall
intensity becomes so great that the system can no longer compensate
it Alerts the flight crew. The yellow arc on the edge of the outer range
scale of the picture below is a PAC Alert and indicates that the radar can
not see behind the interven-
ing cell. The area behind
the cell (radar shadow)
should be avoided since it
represents an area where
weather information is not
being displayed.
PAC Alert
Area of
The yellow PAC Alert bar warns (Radar
flight crews of attenuated regions, Shadow)
(sometimes called a radar shadow)
while maintaining the Quiet, Dark
Cockpit philosophy.

It takes a significant thunderstorm to

attenuate the radar and cause the
PAC Alert function to activate. This
is the actual cell that is displayed on
the ND above.

PAC and PAC Alert are active only when AUTO and CAL gain
are selected and the cell is within 80 NM of the aircraft.
AUTO CAL ND indicates
Gain Selected. VAR (CAL
PAC Alert is Gain not
displayed. selected).
PAC Alert is
not displayed.

Never fly into an attenuated region (radar shadow). Substantial
weather threats may be present that are masked by the interven-
ing weather.
3.5 Beam Width and Cell Height Resolution: The MultiScan radar
utilizes a 3.5 degree beam. And although this may seem pretty narrow,
by 80 NM it is already 25,000 ft. in diameter (see picture below). As a
result, height estimation of the cell becomes more and more coarse the
further it is from the aircraft. Therefore, on occasion, weather that is ini-
tially visible at longer ranges may fall off the display as it approaches the
aircraft and the radar can better determine the cell height.

3.5o Radar

Center cells indistinct Center cells appear at Radar resolves cell

at 240 NM aircraft altitude at 170 NM heights closer to aircraft

The radar sees only large cells at 320 NM. Therefore, cells
visible on the ND at 320 NM are normally at the aircraft altitude
and will remain on the display until passing behind the aircraft.

Cell top measurement begins at 120 NM with the intent of
having accurate deviation information by 80 NM.

A single cell life cycle is approximately 60 minutes (see
Section Therefore, over 320 NM, cells may appear or
disappear on the display due to normal cell growth and decay.
3.6 Predictive Windshear (PWS): Predictive Windshear is activated for
all altitudes below 2,300 ft. AGL for both the take off and landing phases
of flight when the PWS switch is selected to AUTO. Upon activation the
weather scan region decreases to 120o to enable faster weather and
windshear updates. Alerts are displayed in the cockpit below 1,200 ft.


Yellow arc “points” to the

windshear event (even on
range scales that might
not display the actual
windshear icon)

Windshear Icon (marks

actual windshear location) 120o weather scan

This particular windshear occurred during taxi. In these pictures from the cockpit the
windshear can be seen in the form of a line squall approaching the aircraft down the
taxiway. The pilot delayed his takeoff for 30 minutes until the thunderstorm had passed
the airport and departed without incident.
3.6.1 Windshear Detection Regions: The picture below shows the
windshear detection regions for Approach/Go Around and Take Off. A
windshear encountered in either the Yellow (Caution) or Red (Warning)
region produces an aural and visual alert in the cockpit. If a windshear is
detected in the Blue (Advisory) region only a windshear icon is displayed
Aircraft Heading Aircraft Heading

30 30 30 30

5 nm 5 nm


3 nm 3 nm
Approach and Takeoff Role

Caution Warning

.25 nm .25 nm .25 nm .25 nm

Windshear Detection Regions

Windshear Alert Table Aural Alert EFIS Indication

Advisory None Windshear Icon
Caution “Monitor Radar Windshear
Warning (approach) “Go Around, Winds- Windshear
hear Ahead”
Warning (take off) “Windshear Ahead, Windshear
Windshear Ahead”

Even if the radar is turned off, windshear is automatically acti-
vated when takeoff speed reaches 35 knots. Aural alerts and
cockpit annunciators are operational.
If the radar is on but in MAP or TEST mode and the system
detects a windshear event, the system display will automatically
change to the WX+T mode to display weather and windshear
icons. The selected range does not change automatically.
The radar stores up to three windshear events of twelve sweeps
each. If further analysis of a windshear event is required the
information can be down loaded with a lap top computer.
4.0 Radar Interpretation

4.1 What Does Green Mean?

4.1.1 Manual Operating Techniques and the Color Green: Depending

on your manual operating techniques, green may mean very different
things to different pilots. As an example, in low reflectivity oceanic
environments some flight crews use MAN Max Gain and a low tilt setting
and then avoid all weather that paints yellow or red under the assumption
that the threat reaches to the aircraft altitude. In these instances when
AUTO paints the cells green, the crews consider the radar to be under

Under Warning?

Manual AUTO
Max Gain CAL Gain

Crews whose manual operating techniques include use of MAN Max gain and lower tilt
settings may believe that AUTO is under warning.

When crews use MAN CAL Gain and moderate tilt settings in an
oceanic environment thunderstorm cores often paint green. Experience
has taught these crews that green is a substantial threat and must be
avoided. When MultiScan is used in AUTO and paints the core red
and then adds substantial areas of yellow and green, some pilots may
consider the radar to be over warning.

Over Warning?

Manual AUTO
CAL Gain CAL Gain

Crews who use MAN CAL gain and normal tilt settings may believe that the radar is over
warning when AUTO is selected.
The MultiScan algorithms are designed to give a consistent
weather picture when using the radar in AUTO. Note, however,
that the display will not be the same as when operating in
manual. In fact, due to the use of Variable Temperature Based
Gain and the Quiet, Dark Cockpit philosophy, it is not possible
to get the same picture in MAN that you will see in AUTO.

4.1.2 Increased Gain at Cruise Altitude: MultiScan uses variable

temperature based gain (see Section 3.1.2) to better detect low
reflectivity thunderstorm tops. The series of pictures below is taken over
the Gulf of Thailand. Note that in manual mode in calibrated gain very
little weather is displayed. When manual max gain is selected, a weather
ridge line is visible to the flight crew. Because the Gulf of Thailand is a
low reflectivity environment and cells are difficult to detect, AUTO CAL
gain is actually more sensitive than manual max gain and displays more
of the weather system for the crew.

Manual Manual AUTO

CAL Gain MAX Gain CAL Gain

MultiScan uses Variable Temperature Based Gain to better detect non-reflective cell tops.
As a result, at cruise altitude AUTO CAL Gain and Manual MAX Gain are similar.

When using the radar in AUTO most flight crews will see
more than they are used to seeing due to the use of Variable
Temperature Based Gain (see Section 3.1.2).

During AUTO operation at cruise altitudes, Automatic
Temperature Based Gain enables crews to better see the true
extent of thunderstorms, pressure ridges, haze layers between
cells and potential icing conditions.

4.2 Radar Interpretation, Low Altitude Operations

4.2.1 Stratiform Rain: There are many times where the color green is
not a threat and indicates, at most, light to moderate chop. For instance,
consider the picture below where the majority of the display is painting
green. At lower altitudes this occurs during stratiform rain conditions and
only light to moderate chop would be expected.

At lower altitudes green solid green returns

normally represents stratiform rain and, at most,
represents light to moderate chop.

4.2.2 Bright Band/Monsoon: There are occasions during certain unique

meteorological conditions where the display may turn completely yellow
or even red (sometimes called “red out”). Bright Band is associated with
stratiform rain or snow and occurs from the freezing level to 3,000 ft.
beneath the freezing level. In this region, ice crystals begin to melt and
are coated with a layer of water resulting in very strong radar returns.
Ground Based Vertical Weather Radar

Height (km)

3 Bright

Bright Band produces very strong radar returns

that can turn the entire display yellow or red
In the picture below, the aircraft is right at the freezing level and melting
snow has formed an area of strong reflectivity turning the display yellow
even though there is very little turbulence.

Bright Band has caused much of the display to turn yellow.

At longer ranges the display turns green due to the fact that
the radar beam is pointed up out of the Bright Band region.

A similar situation sometimes occurs during monsoon rains where heavy

rain fall rates produce very strong reflectivity. In the case of monsoon
rains it is not unusual for the entire display to turn red. Should flight
crews encounter a red out situation, gain can be temporarily reduced by
four clicks, or about one color level (Section 3.1.1), to better determine if
embedded cells are hidden by the heavy stratiform rain.

Reducing the gain by about one color level (counter

clockwise four clicks) will enable the crew to determine if
strong embedded cells are in the yellow/red region. In this
case, embedded cells are not present.
4.3 Radar Interpretation, High Altitude Ice Crystals (HAIC): During
high altitude operations interpretation of the picture below changes. In
this case, a broad area of green may indicate HAIC conditions.

Green returns that fill the radar display are not normal at
cruise altitudes and may indicate Ice Crystal Icing conditions.

As the satellite picture below shows, ice crystals can be present over a
broad geographic area. These ice crystal clouds are normally caused
by significant amber or red cells beneath the aircraft altitude. Ice Crystal
Icing has resulted in T.A.T. anomalies and engine power loss.

TAT Start


The aircraft transiting this Ice Crystal Icing region experienced

T.A.T. anomalies about half way through the ice crystal cloud.
The anomalies stopped shortly after exiting.

The aviation industry is engaged in a multi-year research program to

better understand how to anticipate and protect against Ice Crystal Icing
Conditions. However, initial flight tests conducted by Rockwell Collins
and actual incidence reports have shown that, when in AUTO CAL Gain,
the radar’s Variable Temperature Based Gain function often displays
these ice crystal clouds as an area of green surrounding the aircraft.

If High Altitude Ice Crystal conditions are suspected exit the
region as soon as practicable.

4.4 Radar Interpretation, Navigable/Non-Navigable Weather

4.4.1 Introduction: Due to MultiScan’s use of Variable Temperature

Based Gain it is normal to see green returns at cruise altitude that were
not visible with previous generation radars. The radar can now see the
low reflectivity returns between cells as well as the extreme tops of lower
lying weather. In many cases these areas of green are navigable and
represent light to moderate chop. However, proper radar interpretation
must also take into account the appearance of thunderstorm cells. A
normal thunderstorm is circular or oval in shape with shallow gradients.
Variations from this normal shape are indicative of shear conditions
within the thunderstorm and can serve as clues to hazardous weather.

Normal A distorted cell

thunderstorms shape (indicative of
are circular or internal shear condi-
oval in shape tions) and steep
with shallow gradients are associ-
gradients. ated with hazardous

4.4.2 Navigable Weather

Example 1: On the following page the view out the captain’s window
shows a “ridge” of weather at 25 NM. This “ridge” is actually the extreme
top of weather that is well below the aircraft. Because there is no major
cell activity displayed in conjunction with the green returns this weather is
navigable and the crew can anticipate light to moderate chop. With older
generation radars this green area of weather would not have been visible
and light to moderate chop would have occurred unexpectedly upon

The extreme top of low
lying weather appears as
a green band at 25 NM on
Weather band the radar display.
at 25 NM

The band of weather at 25 NM represents the extreme top of weather that is well below
the aircraft. Since there is no major cell activity, the green returns on the radar display
represent navigable weather and the crew can anticipate light to moderate chop.
Example 2: This 787 display (below left) shows normal thunderstorm
activity. The circular shape of the cells and the shallow gradient between
colors indicates convective activity but no unusual threats. In this case,
green represents the outer boundaries of the cells and the pilot chose
to navigate between the two cells containing yellow cores. Whenever
possible, avoid all thunderstorm activity by 15-25 NM. However, when
navigation between cells is required, these type cells present the lowest
thunderstorm threat.


As the pictures out the First Office’s window show, the cells on the display represent
relatively benign air mass thunderstorms. The circular/oval shapes and shallow gradients
indicate convective activity but no unusual threats.

Example 3: In this picture a potential transit

corridor has filled with green at approximately Transit Corridor
40 NM due to STC limitations within the radar fills with green
(see section 3.4.2, Sensitivity Time Control, for
details). Decreasing attenuation has made it
possible for the radar to see the low reflectivity
returns between the cells that would normally not
be displayed. Light to moderate chop would be
expected in these circumstances.
4.4.3 Non-Navigable Weather

Example 1: At initial glance the weather displayed at the top of the next
page looks relatively benign. The gradient between colors is shallow
and there is not a prominent red core. However, the two fingers that
extend to the right of the cell’s core indicate an internal shear force.
Even though these returns are green, they still represent a threat to the
aircraft. In fact, the dark area between the two fingers is an indication of
a potential hail shaft and should not be transited.
Example 1: The area
between the two “fingers”
that extend to the top right
Hail Shaft
of this cell is indicative
a potential hail shaft.
Although the bottom finger
paints green, it should not
be transited.

Example 2: The radar below is displaying two fingers that emanate from
the main cell in the upper left of the display. Again, this is an indication of
a possible hail shaft. In addition, the hook at the end of the bottom finger
has sometimes been associated with the development of tornadoes.
Avoidance of these type cells by 15 - 25 NM is recommended.

Example 2: The “hook” in

the center of the display
has sometimes been
associated with developing
tornadoes. Potential
Hail Shaft


Example 3: The irregular shape of the cells (top next page) indicate
severe weather. Steep gradients between colors are associated with
very strong updrafts and downdrafts. The finger at the bottom of the
center cell indicates strong shear forces and the U-shapes in both cells
indicate possible hail shafts. Avoid these types of cells by 15-25 NM
whenever possible.
Example 3: The steep
gradients of these
cells indicate severe
turbulence. The U-shapes Potential
associated with each cell Hail Shafts
are potential hail shafts.


Example 4: Notice the very irregular/scalloped edges of the top right

hand cell below. This is indicative of significant shear forces within the
cell causing turbulence outside the cell boundaries. One could expect
moderate to severe turbulence flying in black along the right-hand edge
of the cell
Example 4: Scalloped
edges indicate significant
turbulence may
extend outside the cell


4.4.4 Non-Reflective Weather: As mentioned is Section 3.1 not all

weather meets the required threshold to be displayed. Stratiform clouds
and small cumulous build ups (see below) often fall into this category.
The popcorn shaped clouds pictured at 15,000 ft. are associated with
light to moderate turbulence but are too dry to be displayed.

The up drafts (building cells)

and down drafts (clear areas in
between) associated with popcorn
shaped cumulous build ups
can result in light to moderate
turbulence. However, these type
clouds do not contain enough
moisture to reflect radar energy.

4.5 Radar Interpretation, Oceanic Weather: Oceanic cells are far less
reflective than land based cells and the majority of the majority of the
water content is located at lower altitudes (see section, World-
wide Weather Variation, for details). In order to estimate whether or not
the cell top reaches the aircraft’s altitude, the radar
measures the height of the reflectivity in the lower
portion of the cell. Weather models are then used
to estimate the cell’s actual height (see section, Geographic Weather Correlation Technol-
ogy, for details). Because oceanic cells tend to
rain out at low altitude they are notoriously
difficult for the radar to display properly.
Example 1: In the example below notice that reflective
a small oceanic cell with a red core is visible cell
at 120 NM. The cell continues to display a Oceanic
red core through the 100 NM, 40 NM and 20 cells are ap-
NM range scales and stays on the display 200 times less reflective than land
until it passes behind the aircraft. The cell base cells and the majority of the
is initially visible through the haze at 20 NM water in the cell is located at low
and fully visible at approximately 2.5 NM. altitudes.

120 NM 100 NM 40 NM

20 NM

In this example an oceanic cell that would normally be difficult to detect is

displayed properly because the radar is looking for water content at low altitudes.

Example 2: In the following example a small cell is displayed on the ND
near the aircraft flight path at 120 NM. It initially has a small red core
which turns to yellow by 80 NM and then green by 50 NM. Since the
cell does not reach the altitude anticipated by the radar it eventually falls
below the radar beam and is removed from the display at approximately
35 NM.

At 120 NM it is difficult to tell visually if these cells are at or below the aircraft flight
path. But at 40 NM it is clear that they are below the aircraft and not a threat.

120 NM
80 NM 60 NM
40 NM

Because the cell is below the aircraft it decreases in intensity and size as the aircraft
approaches it and then disappears from the display at approximately 35 NM.


(1) If cell characteristics do not change between 120 and 60 NM (i.e. the
size and color remain the same), then the cell is more than likely at the
aircraft altitude and a deviation should be requested.

(2) If a cell that is visible at 120 NM begins to decrease in intensity by

60 NM then an immediate deviation decision is not required. More than
likely it will continue to decrease in intensity and eventually fall off the
display. The flight crew should monitor the cell and watch to see how
it changes over time. If the cell deteriorates to green and falls off the
display (normally around 35 NM), then it is beneath the aircraft altitude
and no deviation is required.

(3) A small green cell that remains on the display is an indication that
the aircraft will clip the top of a lower lying convective cell and moderate
turbulence is possible.
5.0 How the (MultiScan ThreatTrack) Radar Works

5.1 Primary Technologies: MultiScan ThreatTrack analyses weather

in different phases of flight to provide a threat picture (as opposed to
a traditional radar that simply shows the amount of moisture in the
atmosphere). MultiScan ThreatTrack uses five key technologies that
work behind the scenes to enable thunderstorm detection and analysis
including (1) Flight Path Hazard Analysis, (2) Beam to Beam Power
Comparison, (3) Automatic Temperature Based Gain, (4) Geographic
Weather Correlation, and (5) Track While Scan Cell Analysis

5.1.1 Flight Path Hazard Analysis: Mature thunderstorms produce

hail, lightning and turbulence threats outside the cell boundaries at all
altitudes. And turbulence can be experienced anywhere. But Take Off/
Landing, Climb/Descent and Cruise each have their own unique threats.
During Take Off and Landing windshear is a prime consideration. During
Climb and Descent pilots are concerned about weather along the aircraft
flight path and lighting potential in the vicinity of the freezing level. At
Cruise the primary threat is inadvertent thunderstorm top penetration and
turbulence from rapidly growing cells.

Flight Path Hazard Analysis adjusts the radar’s detection and analysis
parameters based on phase of flight to provide a more accurate threat
picture for flight crews. See the chart below for functions that are
activated in various stages of the flight.
In Route:
(1) Geographic Wx Correlation (pg. 55) Climb/Descent:
(2) Automatic Temp Based Gain (pg. 55) (1) Flight Path Wx Scan
(3) OverFlight Protection (pg. 62) (2) Mid Altitude Associated Threat (pg 32)
(4) Predictive OverFlight (pg. 30)

All Flight Phases:

Take Off/Landing (1) Core Threat Analysis (pg 30)
(1) Forward Looking Windshear (2) Mature Cell Associated Threat (pg 33)
(pg 40) (3) Two Level Enhanced Turbulence (pg 31)
(4) PAC Alert (pg 38)
MultiScan ThreatTrack automatically looks for weather below
the aircraft when a descent rate of 250 ft/min minute or greater
is detected. Therefore, it is no longer necessary to momentarily
go to manual at top of descent to scan for low lying weather as
in previous versions of the software (see section 7.4.2).
5.1.2 Beam to Beam Power Comparison The Challenge: When a radar beam paints a target the return
comes back to the aircraft as a single pulse indicating something (or
some group of things) is at a particular range. The return does not
contain discreet digitized data that can be separated into different
components like terrain and weather.

Radar paints target(s)

Return is a single pulse

containing range information
on the target(s)
A radar return of targets at a particular range is composed of a single pulse. It is
not digitized data that can be easily separated into the different component targets.

In addition, remember from section 3.5 that the width of the radar beam
makes it very difficult to accurately determine heights of targets at
extended ranges. And finally, a radar beam is similar to the flashlight
beam shown below left. The flashlight beam has an inner core or “hot
spot” (equivalent to the 3.5o radar beam). The beam also has a corona
and (side) spill area where objects with distinct edges or that are very
reflective would be visible. In the same way, radar beam side lobes
may detect objects outside of the normal 3.5o beam width (at 6o or even
9o). With certain types of terrain such as the cliff face displayed below,
very strong returns will show up further out on the edge of the beam and
unexpectedly introduce ground clutter into the picture. Cities are even
a greater problem because man made structures are very strong radar
reflectors, and again, introduce clutter into the side lobes of the radar
beam. Therefore, a simple ground clutter removal strategy that only
uses tilt will invariably introduce unwanted clutter into the picture.
Flashlight Beam
de Sp
S i r o n i ll
Co a

Objects may be detected Certain types of terrain such as cliff faces and man
outside the center of a made structures such as cities are very strong radar
flashlight beam. Similarly, reflectors. Radar side lobes may pick up returns from
radar side lobes may also these type objects well outside the normal 3.5o beam width,
pick up returns outside the complicating the removal of ground clutter from the display.
normal 3.5o beam width

50 Ground Clutter Elimination: MultiScan’s Beam to Beam
Power Comparison is the enabling technology that facilitates Ground
Clutter Elimination and the Quiet, Dark Cockpit Philosophy. MultiScan
eliminates ground clutter by using an internal terrain table to draw a line
that is conformal to the earth’s surface. The radar then uses two radar
sweeps at two different tilt angles to examine the area in front of the
aircraft. The different tilt angles result in different strengths in the returns
of the same target. By doing a power to power comparison it is possible
to determine if a return falls below or above the conformal line. Returns
that fall below the line are eliminated as ground clutter. Returns that
are above the line are considered to be weather. Beam to Beam Power
Comparison is also able to remove clutter outside the normal 3.5o beam
width (see previous section).
Ground clutter removal

Co Beam to
nform Beam Power
a l L in e

Targets below the conformal line are eliminated as ground clutter

The two pictures below demonstrate the effectiveness of the Beam to

Beam Power Comparison technology in eliminating ground clutter. The
first photo is the best interpretation that was achievable in MAN mode
using a variety of TILT and GAIN settings. Weather returns are masked
by ground returns. The second photo is in AUTO/CAL mode and shows
weather at 230 NM. The second picture clearly showed only significant
weather approaching Hong Kong (4 hours before forecast). The radar’s
early warning provided almost 10 minutes additional warning, which
was significant because the cells threatened both HKG and the primary

MAN Operation AUTO/CAL Operation

Wx returns masked by ground clutter Wx returns clearly visible at 230 NM

51 Quiet, Dark Cockpit: Beam to Beam Power Comparison
algorithms correct for the curvature of the earth, beam diameter, and
for atmospheric anomalies that affect the shape of the beam in order to
determine the precise location of the return. A tenth order polynomial
with coefficient inputs that, in part, include altitude, geographic location,
land/ocean environment, and time of year is then used to develop
Geographic Weather Thresholds in real time. If the beam to beam
power comparison yields a return that exceeds the threshold, weather is
displayed. A return below the threshold is classified as non-threat and
not displayed in line with the Quiet, Dark Cockpit philosophy.
Quiet, Dark Cockpit

6,000 ft. beneath the

aircraft altitude
Beam to Beam
Power Comparison

Weather targets below the 6,000 ft. line (approximately) are not displayed


Cell top measurement begins at 120 NM with the intent of

having accurate deviation information by 80 NM.

The end result is a Quiet, Dark Cockpit. Only threats at the aircraft
altitude are displayed making navigation decisions easier and more
efficient and reducing crew work load.

Cells at
160 NM Cells at
70 NM

Shear Non-threat
Cells at
Non-threat Wx
70 NM
Wx is not


Quiet, Dark Cockpit: Note that only threat weather is displayed. In addition, the
prominent cell at the 11:00 O’clock position has an internal shear force that can
be seen out the windscreen as a secondary cell. Also notice the cells at 70 NM
and the cells coming on to the display at 160 NM.
5.1.3 Automatic Temperature Based Gain: A fundamental problem
that can lead to inadvertent thunderstorm top penetration is the fact that
the tops of thunderstorms are nonreflective. Thunderstorm tops are
composed primarily of ice crystals which are very poor radar reflectors.
Thus, every thunderstorm has a radar top (reflective top) and a visual top
(what you can see with your eyes) and they are very seldom the same.
Visual Top
A primary threat to en route weather
avoidance is the fact that thunderstorm
cell tops are nonreflective
Radar Top

As discussed in section 3.1.2, when AUTO is selected the radar

automatically increases gain as outside air temperatures decreases in
order to put more energy on the nonreflective thunderstorm tops. Thus,
by the time the aircraft reaches cruise altitude AUTO CAL Gain and
MAN MAX Gain are roughly equivalent . This essentially moves the
nonreflective portion of the storm (the radar top) higher in the cell, makes
more of the cell visible to the radar and helps prevent inadvertent cell top
Radar Top with
Automatic Temperature
Based Gain
Radar Top without
Automatic Temperature
Based Gain

Automatic Temperature Based Gain moves the nonreflective portion of the storm (the radar
top) higher in the cell to reduce the likelihood of inadvertent thunderstorm top penetration.

5.1.4 Geographic Weather CorrelationTM Worldwide Weather Variation: Due to the significant variation

of worldwide thunderstorm characteristics a significant challenge for
an automatic radar is providing a consistent worldwide threat picture.
Scientists have long known that thunderstorms display very different
characteristics depending on where they are in the world and whether
they develop over land or over water. For instance, a typical central
African cell has very strong updrafts that carry water content to high
altitudes. These cells also exhibit significant convective activity well
above the freezing level. In contrast, a Central Pacific cell may look very
similar on the outside, but its internal characteristics are normally vastly
different. Updrafts are not as severe, high altitude moisture content is far
less, and there is less convective activity in the cell.


Central African cells are normally characterized by severe

updrafts of 20-40 m/s and a strong (red) reflective core
that reaches to 23,000 ft.


The exterior of a typical Central Pacific cell may

look similar to a Central African cell, but it is typically
characterized by more moderate updrafts of 5-15 m/s and
the strong (red) reflective core reaches to about 16,750 ft.

In the chart below note that all cells demonstrate strong reflectivity
characteristics below the freezing level. However, at cruise altitudes
Mid-Latitude Continental cells are, in general, 20 dB (200x) more
reflective than Equatorial Oceanic cells. Equatorial Continental cell
reflectivity characteristics fall in between.
Thunderstorm Vertical Reflectivity Characteristics
(Based on Region)
Land masses cause
differential heating
20 dB Difference in
that produces strong Reflectivity
updrafts. Thus
moisture is carried
to high altitudes Cruise
and increases 35,000’
the reflectivity of
land based cells.
Height (Feet)

Oceanic regions, Oceanic Cell


however, act as a
heat sink (constant
temperature) resulting
in only moderate Freezing Level
updrafts and less 16,000’

Continental Land

Based Cell
moisture/reflectivity at
higher altitudes.
Mid-Latitude Continental
Equatorial Continental
Equatorial Oceanic

Maximum Reflectivity (dBz)

Equivalent Aircraft Display Colors (Calibrated Radar Display)

Bay of Bengal Brazil United States

Equato- Equatorial Mid-

rial Oceanic Continen- Latitude
cells rain tal cells Continental
out at low altitudes and fall in between the high cells have high moisture
tend to be non-reflective reflectivity of Mid-Latitude content at cruise altitudes
even though the cell tops Continental cells and the and are more reflective
extend to the aircraft low reflectivity of Equato- making inadvertent cell
altitude. rial Oceanic cells. top penetration less likely.
A further complication to an automatic radar providing a consistent
worldwide threat picture is the fact that thunderstorm threats change
significantly as the intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) shifts location
with the changing seasons.

December Net Radiation March Net Radiation June Net Radiation

Seasonal variations in the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) result in differing

thunderstorm reflectivity characteristics over the course of the year. Geographic Weather Correlation Technology: The launch

of the TRMM (Tropical Rain Forest Measuring Mission) satellite in
1997 greatly contributed to the understanding of worldwide convective
activity. TRMM has recorded tens of millions of data points since
first placed in orbit and there is now a robust set of data that allows
scientist to accurately model worldwide thunderstorm characteristics.
In 2004 Rockwell Collins teamed with Dr. Ed Zipser, one of the world’s
leading climatologists, to use the TRMM data to developed worldwide
thunderstorm models that were introduced into the radar in 2009. For
every 10 by 10 degrees of latitude and longitude the radar adjusts
thresholds based on geographic position, time of year and whether or
not the aircraft is in an oceanic or land based environment. For low
reflectivity cells thresholds are set to lower altitudes. Conversely, in
regions with high reflectivity characteristics thresholds are set higher.
This provides a robust prediction of whether or not the storm top extends
to the aircraft altitude. The end results are a reduction in the possibility
of inadvertent thunderstorm top penetrations in low reflectivity regions
and a minimization of unnecessary deviations in high reflectivity areas.




MultiScan contains a robust worldwide threshold database developed from the

millions of data points collected by the TRMM satellite. Thresholds are adjusted
based on geographic position, time of year and flight environment (land/ocean) for
every 10 by 10 degrees of latitude and longitude.



Oceanic Equatorial Continental Mid Latitude Continental

In low reflectivity areas such as oceanic environments cells tend to rain out at low
altitudes but the cell top still reaches to the aircraft flight path. In these areas thresholds
are set low (i.e. perhaps 22,000 ft.) in order to ensure cell tops are properly displayed
and inadvertent cell top penetration is prevented. Continental land based cells are
highly reflective so higher thresholds (i.e. perhaps 28,000 ft.) ensure proper display of
the cell top and minimize unnecessary deviations.

Geographic Weather Correlation utilizes storm models

to predict the actual (non-reflective) cell top to prevent
inadvertent cell top penetration in low reflectivity regions and
minimize unnecessary deviations in high reflectivity areas. Low Lying Stratiform Weather Anomalies: There will be

occasions where the storm models do not match the actual weather
and the system over warns. This may occur during oceanic flight when
stratiform weather is beneath the aircraft. Due to the non-reflective
nature of oceanic thunderstorms the thresholds (described above) are
set at fairly low altitudes to ensure that convective thunderstorm tops
are properly displayed. However, when low lying stratiform conditions
are encountered instead of convective cells, the low lying weather may
be displayed. These returns are normally green and should not require
deviation (see Radar Interpretation, Section 4.0). In addition, the returns
will normally fall off the display at approximately 30-40 NM.

Stratiform weather is visible several thousand A mismatch of the storm models

feet beneath the aircraft has resulted in (primarily) green
returns on the ND
5.1.5 Track While Scan Threat Analysis Why Threat Analysis?: Thunderstorm threat analysis is

necessary because it is difficult to accurately determine the hazardous
nature of a cell by simple observation of either the cell exterior (see
Section or the color of the radar returns. The magnitude of the
threat depends on where the convective activity is located in the cell,
the temperature where the convection is occurring, the stage of cell
development and many other factors. Furthermore, standard reflectivity
levels for red, yellow and green returns were first developed for mid
altitude cells in the mid 1960’s and do not directly correlate to the
nonreflective nature of cell tops at today’s cruise altitudes*.
Thunderstorms may look the same externally or
on the radar display but actually present widely
different threat levels. Real time analysis is
required to determine the actual threat

*Synopsis of a Thunderstorm Research Program (Rough

Rider) for 1966-67. Technical Report ASD-TR-68-29, 1968 Track While Scan Technology:

MultiScan Threat Track
uses a Track While Scan
technology that tracks
up to 48 thunderstorm
cells while scanning
the area in front of
the aircraft for
weather discrimination
then identifies convective This picture compares the ground
cores and areas of stratiform based radar image (left) with the
cores being tracked by the radar
rain. At altitude, non-threat stratiform (right). The radar assigns each core
weather is de-emphasized (yellow turned a number and then maps the size of
to green) so that convective cores will be the convective contours.
clearly visible to the flight crew.

Track While Threats are

Scan Technology prioritized and
enables the radar individual vertical
to track up to 48 analyses per-
thunderstorms formed for a real
while scanning for time analysis of
additional threats cell threats

58 Individual Cell Analysis: Once the cell cores are identified,
individual high resolution thunderstorm assessments are performed.
High resolution vertical scans are the equivalent of up to 120 horizontal
scans yielding precise information concerning the thunderstorm makeup.

Thunderstorm assessment includes the mapping of

the internal cell reflectivity structure over the entire
vertical extent of the cell and the identification of
the peak reflectivity. A high resolution Vertically
Integrated Liquid (VIL) assessment determines
the amount of water at various altitudes within the
cell. Significant convective energy is required to lift
large amounts of liquid to high altitudes and a VIL
is a good indication of thunderstorm intensity. The Key elements used in
radar also correlates outside air temperatures with individual cell analysis
the reflectivity levels of returns to determine hail include the intensity and
altitude of convective
and lightning probabilities. In addition, storm top activity, the temperature
and growth rate analysis are performed. Because where the convective
hail is often thrown out the top of the cell and in activity is occurring, up-
the downwind direction, upper level wind direction per level wind informa-
tion and cell growth rate.
and velocity are used to predict the downwind hail
threat region (see Section And finally, the radar creates a buffer
area above cells that are beneath the aircraft that directly correlates to
the growth rate (i.e faster growth rate, larger buffer area). If the buffer
area intersects the aircraft altitude then the Predictive OverFlight icon
is displayed (see Section In all, over 100 cell attributes are
measured and analyzed. Cell Life Cycle: The stage of life cycle development of a cell
is also a key indicator of a thunderstorm’s threat. A typical air mass
thunderstorm has about a 60 minute life cycle (Multi-cell storms last
approximately three hours).
Cumulous Mature Dissipating

0 Minutes 8 15 23 30 38 45 53 60

Cloud to cloud More severe cloud to

lightning ground lightning

Lightning potential exists during the latter cumulous stage and the mature stage of thun-
derstorm development. During the Mature stage additional threats include hail and severe
turbulence which may extend outside the cell boundaries
During the early developing cumulous stage and late dissipating stages
of the cell threats are relatively minor. However, during the later stages
of cumulous development, cells do become electrified around the
freezing level due to the collisions between positively and negatively
charged ice particles. This resulting electrical potential forms the
basis for possible lightning discharges. During the mature stage of a
thunderstorm hail and turbulence may extend outside the cell boundaries
and severe cloud to cloud and cloud to ground lightning is possible.
MultiScan ThreatTrack uses the cell life cycle information to differentiate
between the various cell threats. For instance, late stage cumulous cells
are primarily a lightning threat in the vicinity of the freezing level (see
section while mature cells pose turbulence, hail and lightning
threats at all altitudes (see section

5.2 Secondary Technologies

5.2.1 OverFlight Protection: Traditional manual operating techniques

point the radar into the lower reflective part of the thunderstorm for best
weather detection. However, as the aircraft approaches the cell, the
beam moves higher into the nonreflective portion of the cell and it tends
to disappear from the display. OverFlight Protection looks 6,000 ft.
beneath the aircraft to keep the reflective portion of the cell in view, and,
as the cell nears the aircraft, uses computer memory to prevent its falling
off the display. Once again, Overflight Protection reduces the chances of
inadvertent thunderstorm top penetration.

Direction of Flight

When a cell top is at the aircraft altitude it is common for the storm to fall off the display as
the aircraft nears it due to the fact that the radar beam is no longer scanning the reflective
portion of the cell.

As seen on this 747 display, with OverFlight protection this low reflectivity
oceanic cell stays on the display until it passes behind the aircraft. The
pilot commented that it is not unusual for this type of cell to fall off the
display 40 NM from the aircraft and then give the aircraft a good “thump”
should the crew fly into it.
5.2.2 SmartScan: SmartScan ensures real time weather updates during
aircraft turns. When an aircraft turns a black wedge appears on the
display due to the fact that the radar antenna has not yet scanned this
new weather region. This condition is made worse with new automatic
radars that take multiple sweeps to fill the memory buffer before the
weather information is displayed. When an aircraft turns, SmartScan
begins a sector scan in the direction of the turn and weather that is falling
off the back side of the display is “pasted in” from the memory buffer.
The result is that MultiScan actually updates the display with real time
weather more rapidly in AUTO (even with multiple scans) than the radar
can in manual with only one scan.

SmartScan enables
real time weather
updates in the
direction of aircraft turn
Wx from memory
buffer completes
Wx picture
SmartScan sector
scan in direction
of turn
SmartScan uses a sector scan in the direc-
tion of the aircraft turn to ensure that the Wx
picture is rapidly updated even when multiple
scans are being used to gather Wx data. Wx
that is falling off the display is “pasted” from
the computer’s memory buffer to provide a
total Wx picture.

No “wedge”
even during
45o turn

Notice the absence of a black wedge during this 45o turn.

SmartScan enables real time weather information right
at the edge of the display and provides the maximum
amount of time for avoidance decision making.

5.2.3 TrueZero Three Axis Trim Correction: An aircraft may produce tilt
errors that are invisible to the radar. For instance, a 0.7 degree tilt error
has been consistently observed on one air transport aircraft, and this is
equivalent to a miss in altitude of approximately 7,000 ft. at 220 NM. An
error of this magnitude could either introduce ground clutter into the pic-
ture of over scan long range weather. MultiScan’s TrueZero algorithms
compare the radar returns with the radar’s terrain table information, and
a three axis trim correction is made and stored in the computer’s memory
for use on the current and future flights. The algorithms are activated
when the aircraft is level and above 17,000 feet AGL with terrain occupy-
ing the majority of the field of view. In optimal conditions capture can
occur in as little as 5 minutes. This is a continuous process that further
refines the tilt over time.
If a new R/T has been installed in the aircraft ground returns
may be displayed on the aircraft’s initial climb out. Once the
aircraft is level above 17,000 ft. AGL and the three axis trim
correction is applied, ground returns should disappear from the

5.2.4 Radar Scan and Tilt Philosophy: When AUTO is selected Multi-
Scan uses two radar sweeps at two different tilt angles to collect terrain
and weather information. The separation between the beams remains
constant. The displayed tilt angle is the average of these two beams.
The resulting returns are digitized and stored in a temporary memory
buffer. At take off tilt will be approximately +5 degrees, although it may
be higher if surrounding terrain has significant height. At 10,000 ft. AGL
the tilt angle is approximately zero. And above 10,000 ft. AGL the bottom
scan is always centered on the radar horizon. Thus, tilt indications will
gradually decrease as the aircraft climbs above 10,000 ft AGL.

During each horizontal sweep vertical sweeps are scheduled as required

and are transparent to the flight crew. The Predictive Overflight function
(see Section uses a low tilt horizontal sweep to look for cells
below the aircraft. If candidate cells are identified additional vertical
sweeps are performed to assess the growth rate.
The Track While Scan technology allows the radar to utilize
radar scan time efficiently on the highest priority weather targets
rather than using multiple horizontal sweeps that mostly scan
empty space.

6.0 Manual Operating Techniques
When MAN is selected the radar functions as a traditional
weather radar. Tilt and gain must be controlled manually.
AUTO is recommended in all phases of flight.

In MAN mode automatic features that are designed to prevent
inadvertent thunderstorm top penetration (Temperature Based
Gain, OverFlight Protection, Geographic Thresholds) are
disabled. See section for special manual procedures to
prevent inadvertent cell top penetration.

6.1 Tilt Control


Tilt Control is the most important factor for proper manual

operation of the radar.

In most instances, the flight crew is looking for a compromise tilt
angle between too much ground returns and too little weather
returns. The best tilt setting will vary depending on the aircraft
phase of flight (i.e. low altitude, mid altitude and high altitude).

Too High

Compromise High

Too Low

During manual operation the best tilt angle is most often a compromise
between a tilt angle that causes too much ground clutter and a tilt angle
that detects too little weather.
6.1.1 Low Altitude Tilt Control (Below 10,000 ft.): Below 10,000 ft. a tilt
setting of +5o is recommended. Below 10,000 ft. the flight crew is busy
with a variety of tasks from check lists to talking with approach/departure
control. Setting a +5o tilt and leaving it set through 10,000 ft. reduces
cockpit work load. The +5o setting will eliminate most ground clutter and
detect the majority of the weather in the immediate vicinity of the aircraft. Initial Climb Out: It is typical for a two engine air transport
category aircraft to climb out after take off at approximately 240 kts with
a 3000 fpm rate of climb. This equates to a 7o climb angle. Since the
radar beam is approximately 3.5o wide, a +5o radar tilt angle keeps the
outer edge of the radar beam pointed close to the aircraft flight path, pro-
vides adequate weather detection ranges, and eliminates most ground

Climb out flight

path (+7 degrees)

Radar Tilt
(+5 degrees)

Below 10,000 ft. a tilt angle of +5o is recommended.


Above 10,000 ft. tilt should be adjusted downwards (see section Failure to adjust the tilt downward above 10,000 ft.
may cause the radar to over scan the reflective portion of cells
and result in inadvertent thunderstorm top penetration. Descent below 10,000 ft.: Below 10,000 ft. a +5o tilt angle
remains the preferred tilt. Since weather is generally highly reflective
below 10,000 ft., a +5o tilt angle will detect most weather while at the
same time eliminating the majority of ground clutter. The benefit to a +5o
tilt angle is that this tilt setting can be set and forgotten during the critical
approach and landing phase of flight, thus reducing crew work load.

6.1.2 Mid Altitude Tilt Control (10,000 - 25,000 ft.) Tilt Technique, 40 and 80 NM Ranges Scales: The best general

guideline for the 40 and 80 NM range scales is to tilt the antenna until
ground returns appear at the outer edge of the display. This tilt setting
will keep the beam looking down into the reflective part of the thunder-
storm, prevent over scanning and reduce the possibility of inadvertent
thunderstorm top penetration.

Tilt Technique: 40 and 80 NM Range Scales

Clutter ring at edge of

range scale

The radar tilt has been set to display clutter at the outer edge of the 80 NM range. This
will keep the beam pointed into the reflective part of thunderstorm cells and reduce the
possibility or inadvertent thunderstorm top penetration. In most cases the clutter ring will be
solid, but in this particular instance the terrain is mountainous and the returns are patchy.
Note that this tilt technique also works to set the proper tilt for the 40 NM range scale.

80 NM is the best tactical range scale for weather detection and
avoidance and should be used to determine deviations.

65 Tilt Technique, 160 NM Ranges Scale: Setting the proper tilt
for the 160 NM range scale is more difficult. Due to the curvature of the
earth the edge of the beam is parallel to the earth’s surface at this range
and it is not possible to get a solid clutter ring at the edge of the display.
In this case, lower the tilt until ground clutter is displayed. Then slowly
raise the tilt until the display is covered with what appears to be electron-
ic “noise”. This ensures that the edge of the beam is right at the earth’s
surface. Solid returns are cells that are poking up through the clutter.

Tilt Technique: 160 NM Range Scale

Thunderstorm Cells


"Noise" "Noise"

Electronic "noise" or speckles indicate that the edge of the beam is right at the earth's
surface and that tilt has been set properly for the 160 NM range scale. Thunderstorms
are visible through the clutter.
The 160 NM range scale should be used strategically for detec-
tion of long range weather. Tilt will be higher than for the 80 NM
range scale and this increases the likelihood of inadvertent cell
top penetration. After viewing the long range weather, return to
the 80 NM range scale.
6.1.3 High Altitude Tilt Guidelines (25,000 ft. and Above) High Altitude Tilt Control: At higher altitudes the exact same tilt
techniques are used as at mid altitudes: ground clutter in the outer edge
of the 40 and 80 NM range scales and clutter specs or “noise” for the 160
NM range scale. The major difference is that at higher altitudes thun-
derstorm tops may become completely glaciated (formed entirely of ice
crystals) and reflect very little radar energy. This significantly increases
the risk of inadvertent thunderstorm top penetration and special precau-
tions should be used to keep the aircraft safe.
Over-scanning and subsequent inadvertent thunderstorm top
penetration is a significant threat during high altitude manual
operations. Over Scanning: It is not unusual for cells to fall off the display
as they approach the aircraft even though tops are still at the aircraft
altitude. This occurs because at a constant tilt setting the radar progres-
sively scans higher in the cell as the aircraft approaches it.

Direction of Flight

Tilt set properly.

Clutter ring at edge
of range scale Cell at Cell at
60 NM 40 NM

Cell at Cell at
30 NM 5 NM
As the aircraft approaches a thunderstorm the beam will progressively scan higher into the
non-reflective portion of the cell (top picture). Thus, the cell may fall off the display even
though the top is still at the aircraft altitude. The circled cell (bottom pictures) is 2,000 ft.
above the aircraft altitude, but falls off the display at 25 NM due to over scanning.
67 Over Scanning Prevention Methods Method 1 - 80 NM Tactical Range Scale: Use the 80 NM

range scale as the primary weather avoidance range scale. Set tilt so
that ground clutter displays along the outer range scale and track ap-
proaching cells through the clutter ring. If the cell stays on the display
until 40 NM its glaciated (non-reflective) top may be at the aircraft alti-
tude. Avoid the area where the cell is located even though it no longer
appears on the display.
80 NM Tactical Weather
Display - If the cell stays on
the display until approximately
40 NM the non-reflective top
may be at the aircraft altitude
and the position where the cell
is located should be avoided.

Weather moving
through clutter ring

Cells that fall off the display within 40 NM of the aircraft should
be avoided, even though they are no longer on the display. The
non-reflective cell top may still be at the aircraft altitude. Method 2 - 40 NM Over Flight Protection: The threat of over-

scanning can be reduced by periodically selecting the 40 NM range scale
and adjusting the tilt so that some clutter appears in the outer most range
scale. This significantly reduces the tilt and looks much lower into the re-
flective part of the storm. If cells that are at the aircraft altitude disappear
within 40 NM of the aircraft, selecting the 40 NM range and applying this
tilt technique should keep them in view until they pass behind the aircraft.
The 40 NM range scale tilt setting is relatively low and will sometimes
pick up weather that is beneath the aircraft and does not need to be
avoided. However, it does have the significant benefit of preventing inad-
vertent thunderstorm top penetration. Since the Boeing control panel
is a Split Function Control Panel (see Section 2.1), a good technique is
for the Pilot Flying (PF) to set tilt for 80 NM and Pilot Not Flying (PNF) to
set tilt to 40 NM. Thus the PF can make deviation decisions using the
80 NM (primary tactical) range scale and the PNF can monitor potential
Over Flight conditions on the 40 NM range scale.

80 NM 40 NM
Range Scale Range Scale

Aircraft at 35,000 ft. Captain’s tilt set for the Aircraft at 35,000 ft. First Officer’s tilt set for
80 NM range scale. 40 NM range scale. Note the “finger” (see
Section directly in the aircraft path
that has disappeared from the 80 NM range
scale display
For best tactical situation awareness pilots can select different
range and tilt settings. When different tilts or modes are se-
lected, the radar will update the Captain’s display on every right
to left radar scan and the First Officer’s display on every left to
right scan. Thus, display updates will occur every eight sec-
onds and will alternate between the Captain and First Officer’s
NDs. Method 3 - MAN MAX Gain: Increasing gain at cruise altitude

increases the sensitivity of the receiver and allows the radar to do a bet-
ter job of displaying the non-reflective thunderstorm tops. This is espe-
cially true over the ocean where the tops of very low reflectivity cells are
extremely difficult to detect. MAN MAX gain is advisable during cruise
and is highly recommended for oceanic flight (see Section 3.1.1 “GAIN
- Manual Operation” for information on manual use of gain, and Section
4.0 for radar display interpretation when increased gain is applied).
tends to show gain gives
only thunder- the best
storm cores possible cell
at cruise alti- representa-
tudes. This is tion during
especially true MAN opera-
during oceanic tion.

MAN CAL gain MAN MAX gain

6.1.4 Tilt Settings When Descending from High Altitude: If the tilt
is set properly at cruise altitude and then is not raised as the aircraft
descends the radar beam will progressively “dig” deeper into the ground.
The result is a very colorful display of ground clutter that may fully mask
weather returns.

During descent tilt should

be gradually raised to
keep ground clutter in
the outer range scale.
Should the flight crew fail
to do so ground clutter
will progressively fill the

If the radar tilt is set

to display clutter at
the outer edge of the
80 nm range scale
at a cruise altitude
of 35,000 ft. and the
aircraft then descends
to 5,000 ft. without the
tilt being adjusted, the
picture to the right is the
result. Ground clutter
completely masks all
weather returns.

6.1.5 Oceanic Tilt Settings: When operating over water there may not
be adequate reflectivity to display clutter at the edge of the range scale.
Should clutter be insufficient for determining the appropriate tilt angle,
the table below provides suggested tilt angles. The tilt settings place the
radar beam at the edge of the outer range scale.

Altitude 40 NM 80 NM 160 NM
o o
40,000 ft. -7 -3 -2o
35,000 ft. -6o -2o -1o
30,000 ft. -4o -1o 0o
25,000 ft. -3o -1o 0o
20,000 ft. -2o 0o +1o
Tilt settings may not be exact. The radar changes tilt in 0.25o
increments, but only whole numbers were used.
6.2 Long Range Weather Detection: The ability to gather strategic
weather information out to 320 NM during manual operation is possible
if one understands the concept of the radar horizon and then adjusts
tilt appropriately. Over a distance of 320 NM the curvature of the earth
causes the earth’s surface to fall away by approximately 65,000 ft. Thus,
if the aircraft is at 35,000 ft. at its current position, the earth’s surface
is actually 100,000 ft. below the aircraft at 320 NM distance. The point
where the earth’s surface falls below the radar beam and ground clutter
is no longer displayed is the radar horizon.

When the radar beam is adjusted to eliminate ground returns it will

scan over the top of weather that is over the horizon.

To detect over the horizon weather the radar beam should be adjusted so
that it “peeks” over the radar horizon. To accomplish this first adjust the
tilt for the 160 NM ranges scale (see Section This puts the bot-
tom edge of the beam right at the surface of the earth. Remember that
the radar beam is 3.5o wide (Section 3.5). Lower the tilt an additional
1.5o. This places the bottom half of the beam in the ground clutter and
allows the top half of the beam to “peek” over the radar horizon.

Radar Horizon

The radar horizon is the point where earth’s surface has dropped below
the radar beam and ground returns are no longer displayed. When the
radar beam is centered on the horizon the radar is able to “peek” over the
horizon to detect long range weather.

The following picture shows the end result. The aircraft is at 23,000 ft. A
down tilt of -2.5o has been selected by the pilot. The radar horizon is at
186 NM. Intermediate weather is masked by the ground, but long range
strategic weather is now clearly visible at 300 NM.

300 NM Weather

Radar Horizon

Aircraft at 23,000 ft. Down tilt of -2.5o selected. Long range

weather is visible over the radar horizon at 300 NM.

6.3 Recommended Manual Radar Operating Procedures: It is recom-

mended that pilots use the 80 NM scale as the primary tactical range
scale for weather avoidance and deviation decision making. Periodic
examination of the 160 NM and 40 NM range scales provides strategic
weather information and over flight protection respectively. In addition,
increasing gain at cruise altitude increases receiver sensitivity to best
respond to the nonreflective nature of thunderstorms at the aircraft’s
altitude. MAN MAX Gain at cruise altitude is recommended.

7.0 Notes

7.1 Manual Notes: This guide describes the operation of the Rockwell
Collins WXR–2100 Series MultiScan ThreatTrack Weather Radar.
To learn about specific operations of the radar refer to Section 2.0,
“Controls”. For radar interpretation and pilot techniques refer to Section
3.0, “Displays” and Section 4.0 “Radar Interpretation”. To learn more
about the radar itself, refer to Section 5.0, “How the Radar Works”.

The general operating information in this guide must be supplemented

with information contained in the Aircraft Flight Manual (AFM). For
general aviation weather, refer to the Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) AC 00–6A Aviation Weather for Pilots and Flight Operations
Personnel. In some cases, there is more than one way to accomplish a
task related to operation of the MultiScan Radar. In general, this guide
describes only one method for accomplishing a specific task.
The terms weather “threat” and weather “hazard” are used inter-
changeably in this manual.

Illustrations in this operator’s guide are for illustrative purposes
only. Some of the information shown is determined by other
equipment installed in the aircraft, the Flight Management
System (FMS) options installed, the interconnect wiring on the
aircraft, and the regime of flight.

Some aircraft operators can have special procedures that are
different from those given in this operator’s guide. Refer to the
applicable AFM for instructions specific for your aircraft or to the
airline instructions for your specific operator.

Most aircraft/airline operators establish guidelines for storm cell
avoidance distances. The crew has the sole responsibility to
decide how close to approach various types of storm cells. It is
suggested that these areas be avoided by no less than the mini-
mum distance established by the flight operations department.

The following Rockwell Collins trademarks are found throughout this
operator’s guide.
• MultiScan™
• MultiScan ThreatTrack™
• OverFlight™
• Predictive OverFlight™
• SmartScan™
• TrueZero™
• Geographic Weather Correlation™
• Track While Scan™

7.2 Radiation Hazard: The MultiScan radar uses 150 watts of energy.
To provide a practical safety factor, the American National Standards
Institute has specified a maximum level of 10 mw/cm2 for personnel
exposure of 6 minutes or longer to radar antenna electromagnetic
radiation. The exposure time is limited to the amount of time within the
antenna pattern during each sweep. The Rockwell Collins WXR-2100
radar system falls well below the 10 mw/cm2 standard. However, there
is some disagreement that the 10 mw/cm2 standard is low enough.
Microwave ovens represent a more public safety concern and their
leakage standard has been set at 4 mw/cm2. The WXR-2100 power
density is half or less than that of the microwave oven standard.

Some sources suggest that any radiation exposure can be
harmful, especially long term. Each airline must make their own
decision on this, as exposure to radiation is occasionally cited
by an employee as a cause of physical injury.


For specific requirements and limitations, refer to FAA Advisory

Circular 20–68B, Recommended Radiation Safety Precautions
for Ground Operation of Airborne Weather Radar.

7.3 Spoking: This section addresses reports of “spoking” interference

that have been reported by operators, particularly when operating in
regions where military training activities are being conducted. This
interference is temporary and is not a failure of the radar and should not
be a cause for removal of the radar equipment.

The MultiScan radar incorporates a sophisticated alien radar rejection

algorithm that is designed to prevent interference from other airborne
weather radars. However, some external interference sources such as
military jamming equipment can produce spoking or other display effects
that cannot be rejected.

One example of this interference is shown in the following image.

The spoke in the
picture to the right is
caused by a military
CW jammer that has
“burned through” the
alien radar rejection
software. Spoking caused
by a military

The interference is displayed as a radial spoke in the direction of the

interference source as the radar antenna sweeps past the interfering
signal. This type of interference can be readily identified since it appears
to emanate from the apex of the display and extends generally to the
outer edge of the display regardless of the selected range. The direction
of the spoke is toward the interfering source. The interfering source may
be either ground based or airborne and thus the direction of the spoke
may change as the interfering source changes position or as the aircraft
moves or changes heading. The displayed interference will persist for
as long as the interfering source is present. This interference does not
damage the radar equipment and once the interference is removed, the
display will clear up within a few sweeps.

The intensity of the spoke can vary widely from a barely perceptible
green up to a strong red/yellow/green return depending on the strength
of interfering signal. The interference can also trigger a magenta
turbulence indication or even trigger an Associated Threat speckled
icon for newer ThreatTrack systems. Additional examples of spoking
including turbulence and Associated Threat effects are shown in the
images that follow.
Auto Mode Auto Mode
showing showing a
a green spoke with
“spoke” turbulence
return along indication
the aircraft out to 40
heading NM.

Manual Manual
Mode Mode
showing with radial
spoke with spoke ex-
turbulence tending
indication through
out to 40 a Military
NM. Restricted

ThreatTrack Auto Mode showing spoke with

turbulence indication and Associated Threat
speckled pattern.

The Sun is also a very strong microwave
emitter and can produce a similar spoking
effect if the antenna sweeps directly past
the sun. Notice that the energy of the
sun in line with the aircraft heading during
sunrise has also created a spoke, albeit of
less intensity.

7.4 V1 Differences

7.4.1 Blooming: There is a nuisance condition in the V1 software that is

associated with the OverFlight Protection feature (see Section 5.2.1). On
occasion a weather return may suddenly increase in intensity or “Bloom”
across the aircraft flight path, generally within 7 to 10 NM in front of the
aircraft. Blooming to green or yellow means that there is some low level
activity somewhere beneath the aircraft and the aircraft will experience
light to moderate chop. If the cell blooms to red the aircraft may
experience severe turbulence. This may be a cell growing into the aircraft
flight path that shows up in the beam at the last minute. Cells can grow
as rapidly as 6,000 ft/min and come up and hit the aircraft beneath
the radar beam. With MultiScan ThreatTrack the Predictive OverFlight
feature is designed to protect against these type of events (see Section

Aircraft clear
to pass to left Blooming at
of cell 7 NM
A nuisance alert consisting of weather blooming in front of the aircraft at 7-10 NM is a result of
an error in the V1 software. As long as the return blooms only to green or yellow it indicates
weather that is below the aircraft attitude and light to moderate chop would be expected.

In this sequence of photos the crew made the decision to deviate through the green path
between two cells. In the second picture yellow blooming is beginning directly ahead of
the aircraft at 10 NM. Blooming continues until the entire area within 10 NM of the aircraft
has turned yellow. Blooming over represents the threat. Only light chop was encountered.

7.4.2 Manual Operation at Top of Descent: MultiScan’s Quiet, Dark

Cockpit concept displays only weather within approximately 6,000 ft.
of the aircraft altitude (Sections 3.2 and Weather that is more
than approximately 6,000 ft. beneath the aircraft is not displayed to
prevent unnecessary deviations. When the aircraft begins to descend,
MultiScan ThreatTrack automatically looks down along the aircraft
descent path to look for lower lying weather (Section 5.1.1). However,
the V1 version of the MultiScan software does not have this capability.
Therefore, it is recommended that the flight crew switch to manual at
top of descent and scan for weather more than 6000 ft below the aircraft
altitude. Once the crew determines if there is lower lying weather the
radar may be returned to AUTO and the weather will come onto the
display as the aircraft descends.

7.4.3 ThreatTrack Features: ThreatTrack capabilities are not part of the

V1 software.