Thursday, 27 October 2005
Alvarado F and Atria (Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town)
The FAA's en-route air traffic controllers have been using NEXRAD mosaics on their displays for two years now. These mosaics enable them to better manage their airspace. Since the controllers' main focus is on the aircraft information, the NEXRAD mosaics must remain in the background on their display. The controllers' primary mission is to separate aircraft from each other. It's still the pilots' responsibility to avoid severe weather. Furthermore, controllers don't have time for extensive analysis or comparison with other data. The NEXRAD product they use must, by itself, provide an unambiguous view of potential aviation hazards.
The FAA's Weather and Radar Processor (WARP) generates four layered composite reflectivity (CR) mosaics for the controllers display. Three reflectivity ranges are displayed in various shades of blue; 30-40 dBZ, 40-50 dBZ, and greater than 50 dBZ. These mosaics are updated every 30 seconds using the most current NEXRAD data.
This paper presents how an air traffic controller uses the NEXRAD mosaics to manage traffic. It also describes some of the special enhancements the FAA has developed to optimize the product for the controllers. Finally, it discusses potential improvements to further reduce ambiguity, increase coverage, and reduce latency.
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