One of the first steps in developing the technology to automate the National Airspace System (NAS) is to coordinate and manage the data that is necessary for the technology to work properly. The system-wide information management (Swim) platform will allow all of the NextGen systems to “speak” to one another, as well as to other systems within other government agencies and industry partners, according to the FAA.
National Weather Service
The focus of the NextGen Air Transportation System has largely been on the development of satellite-based navigation systems, trajectory-based operations and the various technologies that will form the underlying structure of the nation’s future ATC system. But NextGen’s success is not dependent upon new procedures and inventions.
The National Convective Weather Forecast (NCWF), which combines National Weather Service (NWS) radar mosaics and cloud-to-ground lightning data into a
six-color hazardous weather depiction, is now available on the Internet and the NWS information networks.
Although the official raison d’etre for the Friends/Partners in Aviation Weather is to coordinate the needs of users and the ability of the National Weather Service (NWS) and the FAA to serve those needs, it could be likened to a nagging spouse.
OK, so we all know that no one ever does anything more than talk about the weather. But the folks at the National Weather Service’s aviation branch are doing their best to make sure that when they do talk about the aviation climate, at least the dialogue is as accurate as possible.
While the term space weather may at first invoke visions of Capt. Kirk and his starship Enterprise encountering ion storms, it is in reality something which affects radio communications, satellite transmissions and signals intelligence. And because HF radio is particularly susceptible, it often forces airlines and any other aircraft operating on polar routes to switch to different tracks, and sometimes make unscheduled fuel stops.
Air traffic controllers at the FAA’s 20 contiguous en route centers are now able to see more accurate, timely weather information on the same display that shows aircraft position data, which the agency claims will reduce the potential for weather-related accidents and lessen the effect of weather on airspace efficiency.
The National Weather Service has awarded a team led by L-3 Enterprise IT Solutions a $43 million contract to upgrade Nexrad radar sites. Consisting of 171 weather radars positioned across the U.S. and a handful overseas, the sites collect data on local weather phenomena, which are then used to predict convective activity.
Summer is almost upon us in the northern hemisphere, but the FAA is embroiled in two significant icing-related issues: a proposed new rule for when de-ice systems are activated and a new interpretation of the term “known icing.”
Back in the early 1930s, when Capt. Elrey Jeppesen first started delivering airmail to remote towns and cities in the Western U.S. in single-engine Boeing biplanes, aviation most assuredly leaned more toward art than science.