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Five Can’t Miss Winter Weather Resources for Business Aircraft Operators

Nov. 24, 2014

As winter approaches, NBAA's John Kosak, an NBAA Air Traffic Services specialist and staff liaison for the NBAA Weather Subcommittee, highlights the top weather resources for business aircraft operators in the National Airspace System (NAS).

1. Aviation Winter Weather Dashboard (AWWD)

Developed by FAA’s Collaborative Decision Making Weather Evaluation Team, in cooperation with NBAA and other industry groups, the AWWD is a new, winter weather decision-making tool for aircraft operators. “It’s a great at-a-glance tool for determining potential winter weather impacts across the NAS within the next 84 hours” said Kosak. Based on the short-range ensemble forecast (SREF) product, AWWD is updated every six hours, focusing on snowfall, freezing rain and visibility issues. “The color-coding of the 3-hour blocks makes it easy to identify where we are expecting a nominal (green), slight (yellow), moderate (orange) or high (red) impact event.”

2. Computerized Convective Forecast Product (CCFP)

“Because convective season never really ends in the south, the new CCFP is available through the winter months as well” said Kosak. The CCFP shows forecast maps of 2 hours, 4 hours, 6 hours and 8 hours.

3. Extended Convective Forecast Product (ECFP)

The ECFP is another SREF based tool that looks out 84 hours in 6-hour blocks to forecast potential convective weather trouble spots. “By checking these convective weather resources, flight crews and schedulers would have a better idea where to expect constraints in the system” said Kosak. “This can help mitigate the impact on their operations.”

4. NBAA’s Resource on Winter Snowbird Traffic and VACAPES Airspace

In an effort to minimize holiday air travel delays, the U.S. military opens portions of the VACAPES (Virginia Capes Operating Area) airspace off the mid-Atlantic coast to civilian air traffic, reducing airspace congestion along the East Coast, particularly in the Jacksonville and Washington centers. “NBAA’s resource provides a good overview of the off-shore routes that will come into play during the holiday season” said Kosak. The resource also links to the FAA’s Advisories website and Current Reroutes page.

5. Operational Information System (OIS)

With OIS, operators can check if there are any airspace flow programs (AFPs), ground delay programs (GDPs) or ground stops in effect in the NAS. “While it also lists airport closures, it is always a good idea to confirm this information through the NOTAM system” said Kosak. “Plus, even when airports are open, it’s smart to call the FBO in advance to confirm services are available.”