23rd Conference on IIPS


Aircraft weather mitigation for the Next Generation Air Transportation System

H. Paul Stough III, NASA, Hampton, VA

In December, 2004, an Integrated National Plan for the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NGATS) was submitted to the U.S. Congress. This system is envisioned to be more flexible than that currently in place so as to accommodate new air travel options and to handle up to three times the current level of operations. A Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO) has been created to develop and guide the collaborative planning efforts of the Department of Transportation, Department of Commerce, Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and other experts from the public and private sector to achieve NGATS. The JPDO organization includes eight interagency integrated product teams (IPT), one of which, the Weather IPT, addresses the impact of weather on the safety, efficiency, and capacity of the air transportation system.

Aircraft Weather Mitigation (AWM) is addressed by a Sub-Team of the Weather IPT. Aircraft weather mitigation can be thought of as a continuum extending from avoidance of all adverse weather to the ability to safely fly through any level of adverse weather. Aircraft Weather Mitigation includes aircraft systems (e.g. airframe, propulsion, avionics, controls) that can be enacted (by a pilot, automation or hybrid systems) to suppress and/or prepare for the effects of encountered or unavoidable weather or to facilitate a crew operational decision-making process relative to weather. Aircraft advances over the past hundred years of flight have provided a significant level of mitigation through incorporation of such things as closed cockpits, landing lights, gyroscopic instruments, anti- and de-icing systems, lightning protection, on-board weather radar, anti-lock brakes, thrust reversers, and windshear detection. As aircraft performance and ability to safely operate in adverse weather have improved, the desire has grown for aircraft to operate in more demanding environments and even worse weather conditions so as to enable further increases in the efficiency and capacity of the air transportation system.

This paper describes the challenges for improving aircraft weather mitigation and presents some concepts for addressing such concerns as obstruction to visibility, upset due to wake turbulence, accelerations due to atmospheric turbulence, ice accumulation, and loss of engine performance, operability and serviceability due to atmospheric particulates.

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Session 9B, Next Generation Air Transportation System [NGATS]
Thursday, 18 January 2007, 1:30 PM-5:30 PM, 217A

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