Fog-busting technology gets government support


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Government backing has been given to a start-up that clears fog from airports.

Fog at Wellington Airport, 23 June 2020

Fog at Wellington Airport. (File photo).
Photo: RNZ / Jordan Bond

Christchurch-based company Pyper Vision is developing a spray that can absorb moisture from the air quickly, clearing fog.

It aims to ease flight disruptions such as the three day backlog in flights at Wellington Airport last week, when fog rolled in on Tuesday afternoon, and didn’t ease until Thursday afternoon, affecting more than 200 flights.

The government’s Airspace Integr Trials Program is supporting the team. This programme aims to help new aviation technology be safely integrated into existing transport systems.

Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods stated that spray could make fog delays a thing past.

Delays at airports can cost airlines, exporters and airports a lot. They also cause more carbon emissions due to extra fuel used on diverted flights. It also causes significant frustration and inconvenience for travellers, Woods stated.

“Pyper Vision is developing a solution that disperses a safe water-absorbing environmentally-friendly product via drone … so that pilots and air traffic controllers can operate safely.

“A critical area of sky can be cleared in as little as 10 minutes. This simple idea could solve a multibillion-dollar problem. “

Pyper Vision was set up by aviators and has carried out more than 200 tests in New Zealand and Australia so far.

The firm said fog accounts for nearly 30 percent of weather delays at airports, and is difficult to plan for, making a way to clear it invaluable.

A Pyper Vision drone set up to release a spray that can help clear fog.

A Pyper Vision drone is set up to release fog-clearing spray.
Photo: Supplied/ Pyper Vision

The next steps are to test the technology at more airports in New Zealand. This will allow for international marketing.

Woods stated that New Zealand’s burgeoning aerospace industry is “highly innovative and research-and-development intensive”.

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