Planes Can Avoid Turbulence With New Technology

High-tech breakthrough will allow more planes to avoid rough weather.
3:00 | 08/15/12

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Transcript for Planes Can Avoid Turbulence With New Technology
Rough weather turning your trip into a roller coaster ride at 30,000 feet. But tonight, help is on the way. A new technology allowing more pilots to avoid the teeth-clenching turbulence. Abc's jim avila went on a wild ride to see how it works. Reporter: It happens more than 70,000 times a year. Pilot reported moderate to severe turbulence, unstable air, caused by colliding winds and temperature change. Three-quarters of all weather-related accidents caused bid rough air, shaking up the cockpit and cabin. I saw at least two people hit the ceiling. Reporter: This is why the flight attendants are always pestering you to keep your seat belts on. In-flight turn against causes more injuries in the air than anything else and airlines don't like it either. It's expensive, costing them hundreds of thousands of dollars per incident. Our wild ride has just begun. I think we got one. Think I'll sit down. Rough weather rarely brings a plane down, but it does cause a dozen serious injuries and a half billion dollars in damage and delays a year. This turn against animation shows how the unbelted can achieve weightlessness. Now, a breakthrough. For the first time, a new 3d radar installed in business and soets of commercial jets. Southwest already has it in 19 planes. It will allow pilots to spotlightening, hail and the bumps f from more than 60 miles away. What it gives me is the infoion to make a better decision sooner. Reporter: Honeywell, the makers of the new radar, intentionally flew us into rough weather over north carolina. We are directly facing this. I know that there is hail, there's lightning. Reporter: Clouds billowing, cabin shaking, to demonstrate the new radar screen that actually identified lightning cells and hail, flashing bright icons pilots cannot miss. It allows me to concentrate on decides where to go, to have the smoothest, safest ride. Reporter: And while lightning may frighten passengers most, a hailstorm is what really causes the damage. Look at this jet nose cone. It can tear right through it. Reporter: Best to avoid that. Here's to smoother flights. I'm going to sit down. Jim avila, abc news over wilmington, north carolina.

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