2.2 Towards a Concept of Operations for Space Weather in Support of International Air Navigation

Monday, 7 January 2013: 1:45 PM
Room 16B (Austin Convention Center)
Steven Albersheim, FAA, Washington, DC; and M. J. Gunzelman, T. P. Kiley Jr., and T. J. Helms Jr.

In 2002, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) recognized the importance of space weather and its potential impact on aviation. At that time, there were very few operations at high latitudes (commonly referred to as polar routes) that would be concerned with space weather. Over the past decade, the total number of polar operations has grown from 2,019 to 56,242. These jet routes are now considered vital airways for international operations, and support more efficient operations and fuel savings. Because space weather can significantly affect communications, navigation, and human health, operators must take great care in planning the use of polar routes. As a result, ICAO saw the need for an operational plan detailing the provision of global aeronautical meteorological services, in collaboration with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). In 2010, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) took the lead to draft a Concept of Operations (ConOps) for Space Weather in Support of International Air Navigation. This ConOps will describe the functional and performance requirements for services needed, but not the operational plan for how those services are to be provided. The ConOps will serve as the basis for the requirements of services referred to in the Standard and Recommended Procedures (SARPs). The operational procedures will evolve from these SARPs.

This paper will describe the ConOps and detail what went into the plan and how it was formulated. During the past year, ICAO and FAA have received more than 500 comments globally on this plan. Following coordination and discussion with all relevant stakeholders, a mature document will be developed and presented to the Air Navigation Commission. The final document will serve as the roadmap for future Space Weather services in support of international air navigation, with implementation planned for 2016.

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