A look at one of the screens in the UPS meteorological department.
UPS pilot Glenn Powers
WAVE 3 meteorologist tries his hand in one of the flight simulators.
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – At the Global Operations Center at the UPS hub in Louisville, Flight Operations tracks all 945 domestic flights daily. While most of its work is routine, the one thing the team can't control is the weather.
That's where the UPS meteorological department enters the picture. It's a team that wouldn't have existed were it not for one major weather event: the winter storm of January 1994. The storm took its toll on the hub, stopping UPS transportation in its tracks.
"They decided, UPS, that they needed a department that can give them a heads up on a major event so they can prepare better," said UPS Meteorologist Jeff Peters.
That prompted the creation of the team of five. It's focus: to inform Flight Operations of any weather hazards across the globe and especially here in Louisville.
"We have some 90 aircraft that depart here from three in the morning to about 5:30, 6 in the morning," Peters said, "and those aircraft, after they land, can get frost on them. We have to have clean wings."
It's not just about safety. It's also about money. A single UPS flight that is delayed landing in Louisville costs about $812 per minute. A 15 minute weather delay can quickly add up to more than $12,000 per plane. The meteorology team aims to avoid that.
"When I have a weather concern, I go up to the supervisor up on the bridge and let them know of the concern I have," said Peters.
The pilots do have some responsibility to help avoid delays and disasters when weather comes into play.
The meteorology department works with other agencies to develop training simulations to better prepare UPS pilots for danger in the skies and on the ground.
"We give them a challenge to try to handle and manage," said UPS pilot Glenn Powers. "(The) key is to get the airplane on the ground safely."
UPS has a proven safety record. In fact, it has one of the top safety records in the world.
With the experts at the helm – both on the ground and in the air – and with the help of the meteorology department, they're working to make sure UPS packages arrive intact and on time.
The UPS hub in Louisville is the company's main hub worldwide. It employs more than 20,000 people in Louisville.
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