13th Conference on Applied Climatology and the 10th Conference on Aviation, Range, and Aerospace Meteorology

Wednesday, 15 May 2002: 1:15 PM
Juneau Airport Wind System (JAWS), A progress report
Cynthia Schauland, FAA, Washington, DC; and D. Strawbridge, D. Piccione, D. Bryan, C. Turner, and D. Hedenberg
Juneau International Airport, AK (JNU) is located in a region of extremely variable terrain that exhibits abrupt vertical rises over relative short horizontal distances. Furthermore, the Juneau area is subject to intense non-thunderstorm winds. Terrain and wind frequently combine forces to generate severe to extreme turbulence and strong wind shear. Add another negative ingredient. Approach and departure corridors serving the single runway of JNU are not "straight in" or along the runway centerline. Net result: Aircraft are executing steep banking maneuvers at low altitudes and airspeeds and may encounter sufficient turbulence and wind shear to cause loss of control.

Loss of control while operating at JNU is not a theoretical or academic issue. There have been fatal accidents and many incidents due to pilots losing control of their aircraft. Because of these accidents and incidents, the FAA is installing a wind reporting network in the Juneau area. Data from the network can be used by pilots and air traffic controllers to enhance flying safety.

Since 1997, National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), operating under an FAA contract, has been gathering data from research anemometers and profilers to develop a suitable algorithm to report turbulence and wind shear for JNU and its approach and departure corridors. The FAA, however, cannot simply bring the research equipment into the National Airspace System (NAS) because all equipment in the NAS must be specified, tested, and certified.

This paper will explain how the FAA is installing and modifying existing Low Level Windshear Alert System (LLWAS) hardware and software that will be the backbone of a final alert system at JNU. The final alert system will be called Juneau Airport Wind System (JAWS). Content and format of alerts, display layouts, and air traffic procedures will also be addressed.

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