Importanace of ATM integration of weather as a frontispice of the Next Generation Air Trdansportation System (NGATS)

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Thursday, 2 February 2006: 1:30 PM
Importanace of ATM integration of weather as a frontispice of the Next Generation Air Trdansportation System (NGATS)
A301 (Georgia World Congress Center)
Mark Andrews, Weather IPT, Washington, DC; and L. Bee and J. McCarthy

The Weather IPT for NGATS is located in the Joint Planning and Development Office, and has been divided into the following topic/function areas: Observations, Forecasting, Integration, Dissemination, Aircraft Mitigation, Training, Policy, and Systems Engineering. Each of these areas consists of various groups of technical experts that focus their disciplines to the groups, and interactions between groups occur to improve the overall focus of the IPT. At the current time, the Weather IPT effort is directed to coordination of weather efforts in six federal agencies and the private sector, rather than a fiscal source for R&D or acquisitions per se.

We believe that integration of weather information including hazards such as convective storms, turbulence, icing, major winter storms, volcanic ash, etc., into the develop of decision support tools for the Air Traffic Management System (ATM) is a critical “last” major step yet to be accomplished by the evolution of aviation weather capabilities. In the future NGATS, most decisions in ATM and flight deck management will be made with a much higher degree of automation, and to the extent possible, weather must play a critical role in this automation. In fact, we anticipate that this integration will be so ingrained into the future ATM system as to make weather much more invisible to the end user, with four-dimensional routing contracts constructed with advanced weather information.

The authors believe that while great successes in weather R&D have occurred during the past 20 years or so, there has been a failure to integrate this information into Decision Support Systems (DSS) that when corrected, the traffic manager or system can actually provide aircraft separation from hazardous weather, safer routing, and vitally, return lost capacity to the aviation system previously lost due to both overly conservative judgments about weather hazards, and the failure to integrate the information in a real-time manner. This concept of capacity return is especially important when four dimensions and probabilistic approaches are taken in the technical development. Because of this, we view ATM Integration in our program to be the most vital area for technical and operational development.