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Convention Session Will Detail New Weather Forecasting Methods

August 10, 2012

Those attending the National Business Aviation Association's 2012 Annual Meeting & Convention (NBAA2012) in Orlando, FL will have an opportunity to learn more about the cooperative efforts underway between the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the aviation community to bring more reliable weather information to operators.

"Collaborative Decision Making Weather Evaluation Team Update on Supporting NextGen Concepts" will be presented Wednesday, Oct. 31 from 9 to 10 a.m. at the Orange County Convention Center.

"The Weather Evaluation 'Team (WET) is part of the FAA's overall Collaborative Decision Making group structure and is overseen by the CDM Steering Group, or CSG," said John Kosak, from NBAA Air Traffic Services, and the Association's representative on the CDM WET. "Our team is comprised of industry representatives from FAR Part 121 and general aviation operators, along with FAA representatives and researchers from companies like MITRE and Lincoln Labs, who help design better and more useful weather products."

The CDM WET explores a broad scope of issues and tasks in developing more reliable and accessible weather forecasts. Kosak noted that in recent months, the team has focused most of its efforts on the concept of Operational Bridging (OB), a set of focused processes and engagement protocols between meteorologists and air traffic managers. The OB model is intended to improve communications and accelerate the process of determining the actual probability of a forecasted weather event.

A key component of the OB process is a collaborative, event-based forecast product called the Aviation Weather Statement (AWS). When fully realized, the AWS would give additional lead time on forecasting convective weather. AWS also aligns with the concept of a single authoritative source forecast, a key target under the FAA's Next Generation (NextGen) air traffic control system.

"When you ask pilots what that single source is now, almost everyone has a different answer," Kosak said. "There's a lot of discussion now underway on how to best develop such a definitive, central source for weather data." An OB operational demonstration of these concepts is now underway to evaluate the use and benefits of Operational Bridging, and in particular the AWS.

While NextGen considerations are a key part of their work, Kosak noted that members of the CDM WET also keep their eye on present needs. "We're currently focused more on ‘NowGen,’" he added. "We're certainly looking toward the future, but we also want to develop better systems that operators may take advantage of today."

Kosak is inviting pilots and operators to attend the presentation at NBAA2012 in order to ensure the aviation community's needs and concerns are represented in these efforts.

"It would be really helpful for us to have input from companies big and small, as well as pilots and other operational people, to give us advice on how they might use these concepts in the real world," Kosak said. "We need the people 'in the trenches,' so to speak, to tell us 'this would be really helpful, this is not,' and what information is most needed."

Register to attend NBAA2012 today.