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User Friendly Graphical Forecast Goes Live, Helping Enhance Safety, Efficiency

April 21, 2017

This month, the National Weather Service transitioned the Graphical Forecast for Aviation (GFA) from experimental to an operational product. The GFA should make interpreting the information easier, improving the safety and efficiency, said John Kosak, weather project manager at NBAA’s Air Traffic Services.

The expectation is that the GFA will replace the old text based area forecast (FAs) product in the fall of 2017, but only for the continental U.S. products. The FAs for Alaska, Hawaii, the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico will continue to be produced separately.

“The GFA makes it easier for users to see the actual areas impacted by the different products within the GFA, which were originally described by text in the old FA product,” Kosak said. “While the old text based FA required long paragraphs to describe the boundaries of weather impacts using distances from specific VORs in a specific direction, the GFA makes it easier to show the exact areas of coverage on a map, without having to depend on VORs for creating the boundaries.”

The GFA also is interactive, allowing users to customize their experience, in addition to the ability to zoom in as well as the ability to change the forecast times.

The GFA contains the same information as the FA but in a visual format. This includes the terminal forecasts, ceilings and visibility, precipitation, thunderstorms, winds, turbulence and icing. Data reaches six-hours into the past so users can see the trends, while the hourly model data reaches out to 15-hours in the future.

NBAA members with comments or concerns may contact Kosak at jkosak@nbaa.org.

View the GFA.