Tuesday, 13 January 2009: 8:30 AM
Making Aviation Safer: Results of the National Aviation Weather Program's 10-Year Goal to Reduce Weather-Related Accidents by 80 Percent
Room 121BC (Phoenix Convention Center)
The White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security in 1997 laid out a goal of reducing fatal aviation accidents by 80 percent in 10 years and the federal meteorological community incorporated this goal into the National Aviation Weather Program with a focus on reducing weather-related accidents. The National Aviation Weather Program (NAWP) is a federal government initiative within the coordinating infrastructure of the Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorological Services and Supporting Research (OFCM). The goal of the NAWP is to improve aviation weather products and services through research, transition of research to operations, and better operational capability to enhance safety and efficiency for this $1.3 trillion sector of the U.S. economy. The National Aviation Weather Program Council in 1999 approved 86 initiatives across eight service areas to reduce accidents and achieve this goal. In 2003, the OFCM published the National Aviation Weather Program Mid-Course Assessment which provided a snapshot of progress at the mid-way point. The assessment showed significant improvement and identified problem areas for additional focus. The OFCM recently completed analysis of National Transportation Safety Board accident data for the entire 10-year period, showing continued progress in weather-related accident reduction but at a much slower pace in the latter half of the period. The causes of this slowed rate are under investigation but, over the entire 10-year period, general aviation weather-related fatal accidents fell by 54 percent. The fatal weather-related airline accident rate per 100,000 departures has stayed at effectively zero and non-fatal weather-related accidents fell by 22 percent. However, in the area of nonscheduled commercial and smaller scheduled commercial service, fatal accidents increased slightly (3 percent) while the overall weather-related accident rate fell by 7 percent. The OFCM and the NAWP will continue to facilitate activities to sustain this progress and improve weather-related aviation accident rates.