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 Program Management Office (PMO) has terminated the contract with Raytheon to develop the Air Traffic Operators Manuel (ATOM) for the AWD. The program is running into financial difficulties and the PMO has transferred responsibility of writing the ATOM to the AWD Human Factors Work Group (HFWG). The HFWG was already effectively writing the ATOM but the one hurdle that has prevented us from developing the ATOM is remote access to the AWD.  This hurdle still exists, however the process of gaining remote access via the tech center is in motion and is expected to occur over the next several months. The team will work on the ATOM and develop sections of the document that are possible without having access to the AWD. The ATOM will be the basis for the training materials for the AWD. 

Training for the AWD will be accomplished with Electronic Learning Management System (ELMS) and instructor lead super user training. The HFWG is working with the Office of Technical Training (AJI) to develop the Air Traffic Training Development requirement document. A bid will be solicited to find a vendor to develop the ELMS portion of the training through AJI. The super user training will be developed and taught by the HFWG with the assistance of Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory.  

The Weather Evaluation Team (WET) is a subgroup of the Collaborative Decision-Making team.  The WET is finalizing 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 is discussing potential future changes to the TFM Convective Forecast (TCF).  The TCF is issued every 2 hours and during the off-season a computer-based version of the TCF is available. Additionally, the WET is discussing ways of validating the TCF with the National Weather Service (NWS) to learn from previous performance.  

The NWS is continuing to monitor the Center Weather Service Unit (CWSU) pre-duty briefings to ensure compliance with the recent changes agreed upon.  The changes to the CWSU briefing are intended to include terminal weather as well as highlight hazards controllers can expect.  Over half of the CWSU offices are now in compliance and the goal is to have all offices compliant over the next month. 

The PIREP team is working with the contractor that will be developing the PIREP Information Display (PID) originally developed at Memphis (ZME) and Atlanta Center (ZTL). The PID will include local area pages that can be displayed at every ARTCC area. Washington (ZDC), Chicago Center (ZAU), Miami Center (ZMA), & Denver Center (ZDV) have been chosen as test facilities when the PID coding is complete. The team is currently working with FAA security to ensure the system will not run into any issues when deployed. Prior to deployment, a survey will be sent out to the four test facilities to judge the pre and post implementation impacts of the new system.  

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 subgroups.  

I am co-leading the System SWAT along with Ben Willems (AJM-1).  One of the problem statements presented to our SWAT identified the FAA website that displays Runway Visual Range (RVR) only displays 132 airports. There are 179 airports that report RVR and the SWAT is going to work with the department that runs to the page to determine why 47 airports with RVR sensors and not displayed.  Additionally, I am a member of several other SWAT’s that are addressing various problem statements dealing with PIREP’s, Winds, and Unmanned Aircraft Systems.  

Weather products are currently issued in Traditional Alphanumeric Code (TAC) but will transition to be issued in ICAO Meteorological Information Exchange Model (IWXXM). TAC is currently planned on being retired in 2026.  IWXXM is not plain text but is composed of text in Extensible Markup Language (XML). XML is not designed to be read by humans, but instead is designed to be read by computers and presented to the user.  Advanced Technologies & Oceanic Procedures (ATOP) is the first legacy system to begin to plan for and address the changes. I recently met with the ATOP group to work with them as they develop requirements for the change.  

Jaymi Steinberg (ZDC) and I finished development of an icing refresher training material for the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers Association (IFACTA) Technical and Operations Committee. The next refresher training topic will be turbulence.  

Upcoming Activities: 

  • Check-in with FAA management (weekly) 
  • HFWG telcons (weekly) 
  • Special Weather Action Team (weekly) 
  • PoG (bi-weekly)  
  • AWD Training Team Meeting (bi-weekly)  
  • WARP telecons (bi-weekly)  
  • WET (bi-weekly) 
  • PDWB (monthly) 
  • WIMAT (monthly) 
  • Air Traffic and Next Gen Weather meeting (monthly)  
  • NextGen Weather Coordination Meeting (monthly) 
  • Weather Community of Interest (monthly)