Bristol Industrial & Research Associates Ltd (Biral)

Advanced Meteorological Sensors for Aviation Including Visibility, Present Weather and Lightning Warning

Bristol Industrial & Research Associates Ltd (Biral) was established in 1975 and is a global supplier of meteorological sensors for aviation. Our scope includes visibility and present weather sensors, and thunderstorm detectors. We also offer sensors to measure wind speed and direction, pressure, temperature, precipitation, and solar radiation.

Biral’s SWS and VPF range of visibility and present weather sensors are used throughout the world as part of aviation ground control and meteorological monitoring systems. These sensors along with the ambient light sensor form the core of RVR monitoring systems used to control the safe landing of aircraft in reduced visibility conditions. Our present weather sensors provide automated precipitation classification and monitoring that forms a vital part of the METAR signals broadcast to aircraft.

Smaller airfields without the need for RVR may cluster a set of sensors around a met-tower whilst larger airports have sensors at both ends of a runway. The largest applications can have three sets of sensors per runway in addition to a dedicated set for meteorological observation and forecasting. The Biral sensor range is perfectly suited to the varying needs of all these installations.

Biral visibility and present weather sensors have a range of features that reduce maintenance to a minimum. All Biral sensors have simple to use field test and calibration kits, allowing the operator to maintain a high degree of confidence in the measurements without the disruption and expense of removal for offsite calibration.

The detection and reporting of thunderstorms is important in the aviation industry, supporting both the safety of ground operations and the provision of meteorological data to aircraft and forecasting authorities. Our Thunderstorm Detector  has been developed to be compliant with FAA regulations for lightning detection systems used at airfields.

The BTD-300 Thunderstorm Detector is a standalone sensor that reliably detects the presence of all forms of lightning to a range of 83km. The distinctive quasi electrostatic operating principle gives the detector a very low false alarm rate and the ability to warn of the risk of overhead lightning, which network systems are not able to do.

To view our range of meteorological sensors for aviation visit


VPF-750 Visibility & Present Weather Sensor

The VPF-750 Visibility and Present Weather sensor is the most advanced in Biral’s product range. Its enhanced performance allows the reporting of freezing precipitation in addition to the weather codes typically available from a forward …

Visibility & Present Weather Sensor SWS-250

The SWS-250 is optimised for use in aviation applications where both visibility and extended present and past weather information is required. The sensor measures: visibility (MOR, EXCO and TEXCO), fog, haze, drizzle, snow, hail and other …

Thunderstorm (lightning) Detector

The BTD-300 Thunderstorm Detector is a standalone sensor that reliably detects the presence of all forms of lightning to a range of 83km. The unique quasi electrostatic operating principle gives the detector a very low …

ALS-2 Ambient Light Sensor

The ALS-2 Ambient Light Sensor is designed to measure background luminance as part of a Runway Visual Range (RVR) system. Mounted alongside the runway the ambient light sensor is often deployed with a visibility meter …

Company News

Biral’s expanding team welcomes a new addition

Leading meteorological experts, Biral, has expanded its engineering team with the appointment of Reece Williams as its Lead Engineer. Reece has a background in simulation motion platforms for vehicle test and development, an area in which …

Biral thunderstorm detector incorporated into meteorological station at SaxaVord Spaceport

Leading meteorological expert Biral has today announced that it has been selected by SaxaVord Spaceport to install its BTD-300 thunderstorm detector as part of a ground-breaking all-in-one weather station project. Taking place in Shetland, the …

Biral looks back on another year of growth following a successful 2022

With a new year now upon us, meteorological experts Biral has reflected on 2022 as another year of growth, which saw its products chosen for some renowned global projects as well as the company celebrating …


Unit 8, Harbour Road Trading Estate
United Kingdom
BS20 7JB
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