11.2 The FAA's Weather Technology in the Cockpit Program - An Overview and Discussion of Challenges Ahead

Thursday, 10 January 2013: 1:45 PM
Room 17A (Austin Convention Center)
S. Abelman, DOT/FAA, Washington, DC; and G. Pokodner

Weather-related goals of NextGen include reducing weather delays via increasing capacity and efficiency under adverse weather conditions, enhancing Air Traffic Management (ATM) and aircraft re-routing flexibility to avoid adverse weather, reducing the number of weather-related accidents and incidents, and reduction of emissions through lower fuel consumption resulting from optimized routing and rerouting during adverse weather. This paper describes the technical challenges for a cross cutting program to achieve its objectives and goals.

To support NextGen in realizing these goals, the overall objective of the NextGen – Weather Technology in the Cockpit (WTIC) Program is to successfully accomplish a portfolio of research projects to develop, verify, and validate requirements to support airworthiness standards for enabling availability and improving the quality and quantity of meteorological (MET) information available to the aircraft to enhance safety and efficiency in commercial, business, and general aviation operations and to support NextGen operational improvements. Specific goals of the WTIC Program include: •Reduce Pilot/Flight Crew/ATM workloads to support efforts to increase NAS capacity.

•Support NextGen and other near/mid/far term programs needs for the availability of enhanced MET information.

•Eliminate MET information gaps and meet user needs.

•Make more efficient use of existing data link bandwidth for disseminating MET information to and from aircraft.

•Reduce ambiguity and latency in transmitted MET information.

•Support increased efficiency via timelier decisions in adverse weather, and more optimum routes from enhanced wind and temperature information.

Keeping the WTIC program funded and relevant has been, and will continue to be, a challenge. The WTIC team has worked hard to change the inaccurate assumption that we are developing new and improved cockpit avionics for weather display and are instead a research portfolio of related initiatives for enhancing not just the display, but also the value of weather information to the cockpit.

This presentation will overview the WTIC program goals and objectives, give high level details on a few of our current and future initiatives, and then give some examples of the difficult challenges ahead in providing enhanced weather information to the cockpit. This presentation will not propose or recommend solutions to the tough challenges, but rather stimulate thought and discussion of the issues that WTIC, and WTIC supporters, must deal with in moving forward.

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