XM Satellite Radio and Weather Works, an affiliate of Baron Services, have joined forces to provide Nexrad weather maps, Metars, TAFs and other data through XM’s proprietary satellite system, which also beams 100 channels of digital audio to special receivers, mainly in cars.
Despite the fundamental role of clouds in weather, there is much we don’t know about them. NASA intends to do something about that under a 24-month, satellite-based mission scheduled to launch next year. Called CloudSat, the program is aimed at better understanding how clouds affect climate in terms of their thickness, height, absorption, and water and ice content.
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 Department of Transportation in 2003 cited adverse weather as the leading cause of airline delays. Between May and October of last year, however, delays and late arrivals caused by the airlines themselves, rather than by nature’s worst, took the top spot, affecting nearly 15 percent of the 3.7 million flights during that period, according to DOT Bureau of Transportation statistics. The number of flights struck by weather-
KING AIR B-200, PIQUA, OHIO, AUG. 24, 2001–The chief pilot for the Hartzell Propeller Co. waited for a chartered King Air to shoot the approach into the Piqua Airport after the turboprop circled while waiting for fog to dissipate. As he heard the airplane on final approach, the Hartzell pilot heard the “terrible sound of impact” followed by silence. The King Air’s ATP-rated pilot died in the crash.
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.
Universal Weather & Aviation relocated its New York-area flight planning facility from Westchester County Airport (HPN) in White Plains, N.Y., to Jet Aviation’s FBO at Teterboro Airport (TEB), N.J. The new office, which houses the same sales staff, will offer a customer service desk, access to Jet Aviation’s pilot lounge and lobby area and more space for additional weather equipment.
Weather-data provider Meteorlogix introduced AviationWatch, a so-called “smart weather” briefing and alerting service for pilots that can be accessed on the ground and in the cockpit. Meteorlogix currently powers MxVision AviationSentry for a number of FBOs and corporate flight departments and maintains an online product that gives subscribers access to weather data over the Internet.
Some pilots don’t look forward to flying in bad weather, but helicopter pilot and TV news reporter Johnny Rowlands actually fires up his Bell JetRanger and goes after the very worst in bad weather. Twice in May, on the 4th and 8th, Rowlands used “NewsChopper 9,” KMBC-TV’s Bell JetRanger, to track tornadoes that were savaging the Kansas City area, destroying property and killing people.
Wilson Air Center of Memphis, Tenn. has installed a new 32-inch, high-definition monitor interfaced with the WSI Pilotbrief Pro Weather System, a new flight decision support system that combines weather, airspace and flight plan information into a single integrated display.