Weather forecasting aids for rotorcraft pilots and convective weather forecasts are the topics of a day-long forum organized by Friends & Partners in Aviation Weather (FPAW) during its spring meeting on Wednesday at the NTSB Conference Center at L’Enfant Plaza in Washington, D.C.
Entitled “Next Generation of the HEMS Weather Tool,” the first session is scheduled from 8:15 a.m. to noon in the NTSB Boardroom and is aimed at operations that use helicopters or UASs. The graphically based weather tool that, created in 2006 to improve weather decision making for helicopter EMS pilots, has become a critical weather decision-making asset for pilots who operate at altitudes up to 5,000 feet, according to FPAW.
Convective weather’s impact on the National Airspace System, especially on higher-congestion airspace—congestion from volume of traffic, terrain, or special use—is the topic of the afternoon session from 1 to 5 p.m. Organizers said this session aims to answer a number of questions, including which convective forecasts should be use the day before and day of a flight, as well as if forecasts are selected because of past performance or a lack of awareness of competing forecasts. FPAW said a goal of the session is to begin a process of getting the aviation community—air traffic controllers, pilots, dispatchers, and trip planners—to move to the same source for convective weather forecasts, using feedback it gains from the session.
FPAW was formed in 1997 by a group of aviation and weather professionals from the industry, FAA, National Weather Service, government weather contractors, and academia.