Yes, we could hail this pilot scheme, with a dash of blue sky thinking, as a case of every cloud having a silver lining. But frankly those puns just wouldn’t fly outside of a local TV news report.
Swiss insurer Baloise is trying out a cloud-seeding tactic to combat hailstone damage. Large hailstones can smash greenhouse roof panes, dent cars, or agricultural vehicles working outdoors, sometimes even cause serious head injuries. So anything that can mitigate the risk is a good thing.
With this in mind Baloise Insurance Group is sending up a light aircraft to spread some silver iodide crystals into certain cloud formations and weather systems known to produce hailstorms.
Mathias Zingg told Swiss broadcaster SRF that the plane would fly in German speaking parts of Switzerland, after lab experiments showed the seeding approach could reduce the size of hailstones by up to 50 percent;
“The hailstone plane costs 200,00 Francs a year, compared to millions paid out in damage claims,” Zingg told the media, “so it’s definitely worth the commitment. If we can reduce the incidence of damage by 10-15 percent then it’s cost-effective.”