Friends and Partners in Aviation Weather (FPAW)

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During the NBAA annual convention in 1997 a small group of aviation and weather professionals from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Weather Service (NWS) as well as government weather contractors, academics and the aviation weather user community gathered for three days to discuss the current (at the time) weather products and the future of aviation weather. Their purpose was to build a strategy for advancing aviation weather research, forecast, tools and delivery. This became the Friends and Partners in Aviation Weather (FPAW) group.

Over the 18 years since that first meeting the size of the group has grown, as has the number of topics, but the goal is still the same – to bring together the broader aviation weather community to review where we’ve been, analyze where we are and have an honest and open discussion about what we can do in order to provide the most timely and accurate weather information to the stakeholders, to enable the safest and most efficient operations possible.

This is accomplished through numerous sessions, which includes briefings from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) that help us understand some of the causes of weather-related aviation incidents. It also includes reviews from the NWS and FAA regarding their current tools and capabilities in addition to their plans for future products and capabilities.

The individual sessions during the FPAW meetings allow the industry, the meteorology community and others to have a conversation where questions and ideas are encouraged. Through this constructive process the industry has an opportunity to describe what tools would provide the most benefit to operators, whether that’s air traffic managers, air traffic controllers, schedulers and dispatchers or the flight crews. Then the meteorology community has the chance to tell the industry what they can provide as well as how and when they might be able to deliver it. Together, this alliance helps create better weather tools, but to do this we need more participation from the NBAA membership. We need input from operations of all sizes and types to give the widest range of feedback to the FPAW community. You don’t have to be a member of the Weather Subcommittee to attend FPAW meetings or provide your input. The meetings are open and all feedback can be sent to weather@nbaa.org before, during or after any event.

FPAW now meets twice a year and both meetings have grown to a day and a half. NBAA members are encouraged to attend either meeting as they are open to the public. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) hosts the summer FPAW meeting, usually in late July or August, at their headquarters in Washington, DC. NBAA continues to host the fall FPAW meeting during their annual Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (BACE). These meetings are preceded by a planning session each spring to determine the topics and organizers. FPAW is currently lead by Bruce Carmichael, Director, Aviation Applications Program, National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and co-chair of the NBAA Access Committee Weather Subcommittee.

Dates and locations of our 2017 meetings:

July 12-13 at the NTSB Boardroom, L'Enfant Plaza, Washington, DC.

  • Weather User Panel to include ATC, Airlines, General Aviation, HEMS, and UAS: Panel Discussion of Needs and Shortfalls
  • Ceiling and Visibility Forecast/Nowcast Improvements CONUS and Alaska, to Include Use of Models, Satellites, Cameras, and Improved Density of Observations
  • In Lieu of the Surface Observation Including RTMA, Web Cams, and Remote Observation Systems
  • NextGen Weather Program (CSS/Wx and NextGen Weather Processor) as Examples of Multi-agency Collaboration
  • Graphic Area Forecast, Its Transition to Operations, and Termination of the Area Forecast (FA)
  • Major Infrastructure Needs to Improve Aviation Weather

October 11-12 at the 2017 NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE)

  • Special Session on Big Data in Aviation Weather Applications: Crowd Sourcing, Automated Data from Aircraft, Down-linking of Data Relevant to Weather
  • Cockpit Weather: Existing Capabilities vs. Future “Must Haves”
  • NextGen Weather User Forum
  • Update on Weather Evaluation Team (WET) Activities in Support of Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) and Traffic Flow Management (TFM)
  • Status of Graphic Area Forecast Transition
  • Status of Takeoff and Landing Performance Assessment (TALPA) and the Runway Condition Assessment Matrix (RCAM)

For more information about FPAW, please contact the NBAA Weather Subcommittee at weather@nbaa.org.