11.1 Assessment of Aviation Weather Training for FAA Operational Air Traffic Managers, Air Traffic Controllers, and other Air Traffic personnel

Thursday, 10 January 2013: 12:00 AM
Room 17A (Austin Convention Center)
John McCarthy, Aviation Weather Associates, Inc., Palm Desert, CA; and N. Stoer, B. Walton, and S. Abelman

The FAA Aviation Weather Division has tasked Aviation Weather Associates (AWA) to conduct an assessment of current weather training needs and practices at representative FAA operational facilities. The assessment will be used to frame a gap analysis comparing today's training to the training that should evolve in the NextGen era.

The AWA work is taking a disciplined review to profile the extent to which substantive aviation weather training is currently being provided to Air Traffic Control (ATC) and Air Traffic Management (ATM) operational personnel. The focus of the review looks at the ways weather content, impact and translation are being taught. This differs significantly from traditional weather-related training for controllers which generally concentrates on how to operate displays (sometimes referred to as “knobology”). In other words, we will attempt to sort out the extent to which controllers and TMCs are able to take full advantage of weather information.

The AWA team will assess current pertinent training elements such as:

• Development of weather-related training curricula • Current FAA Academy training strategies regarding aviation weather • Conduct of OJT training in FAA facilities • Traffic Flow Management (TFM) Training at the FAA Command Center • Preparations for NextGen weather-related training

If the assessment shows conclusively that training gaps exist, it could be used by FAA weather, training and operational requirements offices to frame a high-level outline weather-related training curriculum strategy for use in the future.

A critical element of the assessment to the AWD will address training requirements for NextGen operations, including the expected transition from the current NAS ATC and ATM environment as the FAA morphs toward a future NextGen. We will review how and when today's typical ATC workstations and Decision Support Tools in towers, TRACONs, ARTCCs and the ATCSCC may evolve into comparable workstations in NextGen. This complex task will require detailed analysis of future weather-related requirements in the FAA En Route/Oceanic, System Operations, and Terminal domains, and with the FAA Academy.

Results of the assessment will allow the FAA to determine how much of a controller's weather-related training currently addresses the latest techniques to manage traffic flows through and around severe weather events. The intent is to present the assessment in operational ATC vernacular, not in the “weather speak” often associated with aviation meteorologists.

With respect to NextGen, a particular objective is to gather lessons learned from experiences in the current deployment of advanced NowGen systems such as the Corridor Integrated Weather System (CIWS), the prototype 8-hour convective forecast known as CoSPA, and the Route Availability Planning Tool (RAPT) which integrates weather forecasts in near real-time with actual or planned air traffic.

This abstract and a subsequent paper will report on work being conducted from approximately July 2012 to April 2013. Subsequent papers will provide results of this assessment though some initial findings may be shared in January 2013 with approval from the FAA Aviation Weather Division.

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