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WEATHER

Weather 

Eric Avila  is the Article 114 Weather Representative.   

Background:  The Aviation Weather Display (AWD) will consolidate the Weather and Radar Processor (WARP) and Corridor Integrated Weather System (CIWS).  In addition, the AWD will also incorporate new weather products.  The AWD will primarily be a tool for traffic managers to use to evaluate weather impacts and plan initiatives.  ARTCC controllers will also have AWDs in their areas replacing the legacy WARP weather that is currently in the areas.  

The AWD Human Factors Work Group (HFWG) continues to work with the Raytheon technical writers to develop the Air Traffic Operators Manuel (ATOM).   The ATOM will be the basis for the training materials for the AWD.  The HFWG has made significant changes to the structure and layout of the ATOM and is continuing to work with Raytheon on the document.  The team has also started to work with the FAA training team on the overall structure and architecture of the instructor lead training.   

The Precipitation on the Glass team conducted a virtual tabletop assessment to compare potential future weather sources for STARS.  The tabletop compared the current legacy ASR weather feed to three NEXRAD sources.  The three sources had various inputs and different update times but all utilized NEXRAD data for their primary source.  The goal of the assessment was to compare range, update rate, and accuracy as compared to ASR.  The team found overall that even with a slower update rate on some of the NEXRAD products they all seemed to paint the same picture.  The ASR feed often took longer to pick up intensities increasing and also appeared less accurate in terms of how the precipitation was presented.  The displays in the evaluation depicted weather in its native format so this provided a challenge to do a true side by side comparison.  A second more in depth assessment will be scheduled sometime next year brining in archived traffic and providing the weather sources on STARS for comparison.   

The weather community of interest (COI) is a group that was formed to bring together various departments across the FAA that work on weather issues.  The COI’s goal is to keep everyone informed on projects, research, etc. and increase coordination between the parties.  The COI has formed smaller working groups (Special Weather Action Team (SWAT)) to address the problem statements in a smaller group.  The SWAT’s will meet in between the COI meetings and then report back to the broader group.    

A Safety Risk Management Panel (SRMP) was conducted over two days to address the future change of retiring the text AIRMET and moving towards the Graphical-AIRMET (G-AIRMET).  The G-AIRMET has been operational for almost 10 years and the forecasters use the G-AIRMET to recreate the text AIRMET.  This process causes the AIRMET to cover a larger area than the forecasted by the G-AIRMET.  The G-AIRMET is designed to be used graphically and doesn’t contain the same text information that a legacy text AIRMET covers.  The SRMP addressed some of the safety concerns of moving from the AIRMET to the G-AIRMET.  One of the key takeaways from the SRMP is that a process will need to be developed to present the G-AIRMET into a text product for controllers to read or a policy would have to change.   

The Weather Information Mitigation and Transition (WIMAT) discussed the results of the SRMP on G-AIRMET’s.  Overall the panel went well and we didn’t identify any high-risk issues.  The WIMAT has already started to address the issue of how to get a text AIRMET to the controllers when the legacy product is retired.  This was the one issue that was not addressed in the SRMP but was documented to be a known issue.  The WIMAT will continue to try to work with various groups to find a potential solution.  

The Weather Evaluation Team (WET) is a sub group of the Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) team and is comprised of government and airline participants to discuss weather related issues.    The Marine Stratus Forecast System (MSFS) is a network of sensors that provide additional observation points around the Bay Area around the San Francisco airport.  The equipment that makes up the MSFS is in need of repair and the FAA is currently working with the NWS to update the system and keep it operating.  An Operational Needs Assessment (ONA) is going to be conducted to assist in pushing to update the equipment and improve the current modeling that makes up the MSFS.  

Upcoming Activities: 

  • Check-in with FAA management (weekly) 
  • HFWG telcons (weekly) 
  • Terminal Precipitation on the Glass (weekly)  
  • Pre-Duty Weather Briefing and PIREP webpage (weekly) 
  • AWD Training Team Meeting (bi-weekly)  
  • WARP telecons (bi-weekly)  
  • Air Traffic and Next Gen Weather meeting (bi-weekly)  
  • Weather Information Mitigation and Transition (monthly) 
  • NextGen Weather Coordination Meeting (monthly) 
  • Weather Evaluation Team (monthly) 
  • Community of Interest (monthly) 
  • FAA-MIT-USAF Technical Exchange Meeting – December 3rd