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June 9, 2017 // CFS Panel Recap: Weather: Complete the Picture, Part 1

WeatherPanel2What: Weather: Complete the Picture Panel

When: Tuesday, March 21

Steve Hansen, Chairman, National Safety Committee, NATCA
Ed Donaldson, Director of Safety, ATO

Matt Tucker, Weather Rep, NATCA
John Kosak, Weather Project Manager, NBAA
Nick Daniels, ZFW FacRep, NATCA
Adam Rhodes, I90 Vice President, NATCA
Rip Torn, Air Traffic Services Group Chair, ALPA
Mike Briskey, Voluntary Aviation Safety Information Programs Lead, SWAPA


This is part 1 of a series covering Weather: Complete the Picture.

NATCA National Safety Committee Chair Steve Hansen and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Director of Safety Ed Donaldson moderated a panel on weather for controllers and pilots at Communicating For Safety (CFS). Through this forum, Hansen and the panelists hoped to increase awareness of weather myths and debunk the common misconception that, “they (controller or pilot) see better weather on their radar/on the flight deck than we do.”

Rip Torn demonstrates how much of the weather picture pilots see.

“It’s important to remember that neither the pilot nor the controller has all the pieces of the weather puzzle,” said Hansen. “Only by working together and sharing information can we all complete the weather picture.”

The panel discussed many aspects of assessing the impact of weather, including the importance of soliciting and disseminating pilot reports (PIREPS) and turbulence.

“Weather is one of, if not the top safety issue in the NAS (National Airspace System),” Hansen said. He reinforced the importance of issuing and soliciting weather in order to complete the picture for pilots and controllers.

Torn asked the audience members to place their fists to their eye and try to see through.

“That’s all pilots see,” Torn explained. “If we all want the big picture, we have to work together to expand that view outward through sharing information and engaging in constant communication.”

Daniels said that while there is room to grow, it is important to acknowledge the progress already made. He said that by the time attendees leave CFS, they will be able to say: “I know what we can do, how we can tackle this, and move forward.”

The panelists agreed that collaboration and teamwork are essential to the equation.

Adam Rhodes and Nick Daniels discuss progress already made in disseminating weather information.

“Teamwork isn’t just the guy sitting next to you in the control room,” said Rhodes. “It extends into the flight deck and to the pilots as well. We all have to be part of that team.”

Rhodes said that we all have a shared goal: get passengers safely to their destinations. As operators, he added that we have the honor of the public’s trust and must do everything we can to keep them safe.

Watch the panel.

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