The FAA is requesting public comment on its proposal to discontinue the Hazardous Inflight Weather Advisory Service (HIWAS). Since the early 1980s, the broadcast, available in various locations of the contiguous U.S., has allowed pilots to access hazardous weather while in flight without going through a Flight Service specialist.
HIWAS was conceived when there was a large demand for in-flight briefings from FSS specialists and wait times could be extremely long. With the advent of the internet and other technology, the demand for in-flight services from Flight Service specialists has declined dramatically. According to the FAA, radio contacts have dropped to fewer than 900 per day, from an average of 10,000 daily.
In addition, pilots no longer need to contact a Flight Service specialist to adhere to the pre-flight requirements of FAR 91.103 and to maintain awareness of hazardous weather advisories along their route of flight.
“Multiple sources are available that provide access to weather and aeronautical information to pilots in the cockpit, often presented in a graphical format, making it easier to visualize what is going on along the route of flight,” the agency said. However, the NBAA said, “Internet-based graphics are often not available in the cockpit because many aircraft do not have Wi-Fi in the air. HIWAS, by contrast, is listened to over the [VOR] frequency and does not need the internet.”
Comments must be received by August 22.