Implications of a Successful Benefits Demonstration for ATM/Weather System Development and Testing

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Tuesday, 31 January 2006: 2:15 PM
Implications of a Successful Benefits Demonstration for ATM/Weather System Development and Testing
A311 (Georgia World Congress Center)
James Evans, MIT, Lexington, MA

Presentation PDF (261.7 kB)

In an era of significant government and airline budget austerity for civil aviation investments, it is becoming increasingly important to quantitatively demonstrate the benefits of the integrated aviation weather-air traffic management (wx-ATM ). If such a benefits demonstration is in fact going to be an integral element of the overall wx-ATM system development process as opposed to something that suddenly arises as an important issue after the wx-ATM system has been developed and deployed, then one needs to give some thought as to how the benefits assessment will proceed and, whether it is likely to be successful

There has been some experience at carrying out benefits assessments for weather decision support systems (e.g, ITWS, WARP, CIWS). However, to date there has been relatively little published work on the benefits of integrated ATM-weather systems. Such tools represent some interesting issues since they implicitly involve both modeling the weather and, the ATC system. We review the benefits experience to date with an integrated ATM-convective wx system – the Route Availability Planning Tool and, the experience with a ceiling forecast system at San Francisco.

We then present some thoughts on the implications for wx-ATM system development and testing if the end result is to be a successful “user benefits driven” demonstration:

1. What is the overall decision process for the effective use of the ATM-wx system if it is to have the desired quantifiable user benefit?

2. What is the preexisting “baseline” of aviation weather/decision processes that exists already to address the user needs? How well do we understand how the “baseline” forecast/ATM system and the associated user decision support system? How will the new capability compare? What about training (especially if the new wx-ATM system is rather different than the “baseline”)?

3. How will we measure the change in system performance? For example, if the new forecast claims to help reduce delays and/or accidents, how will one address differences in the weather between the “before” and “after” time periods? How will one determine whether the new system is in fact the key factor if there was a change?

The talk concludes with some suggestions for development and testing of new aviation weather-ATM systems in the context of benefits assessment.