We Guide You Home

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 is currently reviewing sections of the ATOM and making edits to send Raytheon.  This process may change over the coming months with the HFWG taking over responsibility for writing the ATOM.   

The AWD will display turbulence guidance as a primary product.  Currently, the Aviation Weather Center uses the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) weight class categories for determining which Eddy Dissipation Rate (EDR) values cause turbulence intensities on aircraft.  The HFWG is working with the FAA to recalculate these values using the FAA wake turbulence weight classes.  Additionally, the HFWG is discussing displaying EDR values on the AWD and training the users one how to interpret EDR.  EDR values are objective vs the subjective aspect of turbulence that is currently being used.  EDR uses on board avionics to determine a value that can then be applied to different planes using weight class.  

The Precipitation on the Glass (PoG) group is currently working with the developers of the phase 2 user evaluation to ensure that the STARS platform is preforming as expected.  The phase 2 evaluation is currently planned to be held virtually later this month with a follow up in person evaluation at the tech center.  During the initial demonstration the team ran into a power failure at the lab that delayed the demonstration of the entire functionality.   

The Weather Evaluation Team (WET) is a subgroup of the Collaborative Decision-Making team.  The WET is finishing up a task dealing with forecast inconsistencies at San Francisco (SFO) that is being moved into an Operational Needs Assessment (ONA) to address the problem.  The WET has just completed reviewing a refresher training package on the TFM Convective Forecast (TCF).  The training materials will be distributed to traffic mangers as a refresher with the start of the collaborative TCF season on March 1 and concluding on October 29th.  The TCF is issued every 2 hours and during the off-season a computer-based version of the TCF is available. 

The National Weather Service is working with the Pre-Duty Weather Briefing (PDWB) team to finalize implementing national changes to the product.  The changes will concentrate on standardizing aspects of the PDWB across the NAS.  The new PDWB will include a hazard summary of convection, turbulence and icing including altitudes when forecast.  Additionally, the new PDWB will include winds at three stratum levels to provide lower-level winds for the towers and TRACON’s.  Finally, the PDWB will also include a Terminal Aerodrome Forecast (TAF) Tactical Decision Aid status board that will show a graphical version of the TAF at terminal facilities under the ARTCC.   

The PIREP team is working with the contractor that will be developing the PIREP Information Display (PID) originally developed at ZME and ZTL.  The contractor will work over the next year to reproduce the PID to include local area pages that can be deployed at every ARTCC.  Four ARTCC’s have been chose for test facilities when the PID coding is complete.   

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 subgroup.   

I am co-leading the System SWAT along with Ben Willems (AJM-1).  The SWAT invited presenters from Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Labs to discuss Offshore Precipitation Capability (OPC) and Global Synthetic Weather Radar (GSWR).  The presentation covered the current state of OPC, future domain expansion, and further integration of GSWR technology into OPC.  Additionally, the SWAT discussed next steps moving forward in integrating improved weather products into FAA automation platforms.   

The Weather Information Mitigation and Transition (WIMAT) continues to discuss the impacts of the retirement of the text AIRMET as well as the pending Document Change Proposal that will impact how AIRMET’s are provided to controllers.  Weather products issued today in plain text will change to be presented in XML (Extensible Markup Language).  XML is not designed to be read by humans but is instead is designed to the read by computers and presented to the user.  Numerous programs across the FAA will have to plan for this change and the Program Management Organization is currently determining which systems will be impacted and ensuring the systems are prepared for the change.   

Jaymi Steinberg (ZDC) and I finished development of an icing refresher training for the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers Association (IFACTA) Technical and Operations Committee.  The volcanic ash refresher training is now available online.  

Upcoming Activities: 

  • Check-in with FAA management (weekly) 
  • HFWG telcons (weekly) 
  • Terminal Precipitation on the Glass (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) 
  • Special Weather Action Team (weekly)