Forward Scatter Sensor FD70

Unsurpassed precipitation sensitivity and reliable visibility measurement in all weather conditions

Model: FD70
Manufacturer: Vaisala – Finland


  • Full industry compliance with ICAO, FAA, and WMO regulations.
  • Advanced software security to prevent unauthorized access.
  • Modular design for easy maintenance with a repair time of less than 30 minutes.
  • Traceable visibility and rain calibration chain ensures accurate and trustworthy data
  • Comprehensive reporting includes visibility, present weather, precipitation accumulation, temperature, humidity, droplet size distribution fall speed distribution, kinetic energy, and radar reflectivity
  • Frangible mast construction accommodates tilt and height adjustments.
  • Minimized measurement disturbances with features such as down-looking geometry, contamination compensation, flying insect filtering and highpower heaters.
  • Unique forward scattering lightsheet technology accurately identifies conditions like freezing rain, sand and dust obscuration, and light drizzle.

Vaisala Forward Scatter Sensor FD70 combines forward scatter and optical disdrometer technologies. FD70 sets the standard in precipitation identification and quantification, providing best-in-class visibility determination.

Key benefits

Maintain safe, informed operations at any airport

Accurately detects 100% of even the lightest precipitation or weather events including freezing drizzle and dust for lapse-free, 24/7 awareness


Save on time, personnel resources, and costs while improving system performance

Low maintenance reclaims personnel time with clear messages, remote performance monitoring, and automatic diagnostics and troubleshooting


Gain an integrated, secure sensing network with low lifetime costs

Uncompromising accuracy and configurable design replaces several sensors and uses fewer spare parts, while integrated software security maintains data and instrument integrity

Present weather identification available in FD70

  • Drizzle
  • Rain
  • Snow
  • Snow grains
  • Ice crystals
  • Ice pellets
  • Freezing drizzle
  • Freezing rain
  • Snow pellets
  • Hail
  • Fog
  • Mist
  • Haze
  • Sand
  • Dust 


  • Measure real-time visibility (MOR) for assessing

aeronautical visibility and RVR

  • Monitor present weather for airport and synoptic weather observations
  • Identify freezing conditions that trigger safety protocols
  • Utilize precipitation intensity and accumulation information for runway maintenance and nowcasting

Visibility (MOR) measurement


Reporting range 1 m … 100 km (3 ft … 62 mi)
Reporting resolution 1 m (3 ft)
Reporting uncertainty in operational conditions ±10 % or ±1 m at 1 m … 10 km 

(±3 ft at 3 ft … 6.2 mi) 1) 

±20 % at 10 … 100 km (6.2 … 62 mi)

Measurement error ±0.7 %

1) Fulfills ICAO Annex 3: ±50 m (164 ft) up to 600 m (1968 ft). 

Present weather reporting (optional)


Present weather identification Drizzle, rain, snow, snow grains, ice crystals, ice pellets, freezing rain / drizzle, snow pellets, hail, fog / freezing fog, mist, haze
Weather codes SYNOP: WMO table 4680 

METAR: WMO table 4678 

NWS codes 

Light, moderate, and heavy intensities


Precipitation measurement (optional)


Precipitation Intensity
Sensitivity Single droplet Ø ≧ 0.1 mm (0.004 in) 
Reporting range 0.01 … 999.99 mm/h 

(0.0004 … 40 in/h) liquid water equivalent (LWE)

Reporting resolution 0.01 mm/h (0.0004 in/h)
Minimum intensity 0.01 mm/h (0.0004 in/h)
Precipitation accumulation
Reporting range 0 … 999.99 mm (0 … 40 in) liquid water accumulation (LWA) 
Reporting resolution and uncertainty 1) 0.01 mm (0.0004 in), ±2.2 %
Reporting range, snow height 0 … 9999 mm (0 … 32 ft 9 in)
Reporting resolution, snow height 1 mm (0.04 in)
Additional precipitation reporting
Droplet size / fall speed distribution 41 size classes, 26 speed classes
Size / speed measuring range Ø 0.1 … 35 mm (0.004 … 1.38 in) 

0 … 10+ m/s (0 … 32.8+ ft/s)

Radar reflectivity −9.9 … 99.9 dBZ 
Kinetic energy  0.000 … 999.999 J/m2 × h


1) Proven under laboratory conditions.

Forward Scatter Sensor FD70


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