08 Sep 2015

Biral, one of the world leaders in meteorological instrumentation, has just launched an innovation in thunderstorm detection which gives earlier warnings of lightning risk as far as 83km away.

Meeting FAA performance requirements for aerodrome use, the Biral BTD-300 Thunderstorm Detector is a standalone sensor that reliably detects the presence of all forms of lightning.  The unique quasi electrostatic operating principle gives the detector a very low false alarm rate and the ability to warn of the risk of overhead lightning.

The basis sensor detects and ranges both cloud-to-cloud and cloud-to-ground lightning. The ability to reliably detect and range cloud-to-cloud lightning, which is typically much more common than cloud-to-ground strikes, makes the BTD-300 much more sensitive to the presence of storms compared to devices that rely on radio detection.  As cloud-to-cloud lightning often precedes cloud-to-ground the sensor can give the user earlier warnings of lightning risk.

The electrostatic operating principle allows the sensor to detect charged precipitation and the presence of strong electric fields, both of which are indicators of lightning risk.  In this way the BTD-300 can warn of the risk of overhead lightning before the first discharge occurs and the associated risk to aircraft from severe turbulence, icing, hail, wind shear and induced lightning strike.

By monitoring the slow-varying electrostatic field rather than relying on radio wave detection the BTD-300 is almost immune to electromagnetic interference which is the major cause of false alarms for radio based detectors.  It is thus the ideal choice for high radio emission environments such as airports.

Virtually maintenance free in operation, the BTD 300 can either interface directly to an integrated system or be operated using the supplied PC compatible display and logging software.  The optional warning relay module allows the sensor to automatically sound alarms whenever a storm approaches.

Further information on the BTD-300 Thunderstorm Detector and an Aviation Application Note are available from Biral on +44 1275 847787, email: or by visiting the company’s website at