FAA To Eliminate HIWAS Program

 - December 9, 2019, 11:17 AM

After reviewing comments received about the FAA’s proposal last year to discontinue the Hazardous Inflight Weather Advisory Service (HIWAS), the agency has ruled to eliminate the program effective January 8. The broadcast allows pilots to access hazardous weather while in flight without going through an FSS.

HIWAS was conceived some 40 years ago when there was a large demand for in-flight briefings from FSS specialists and wait times could be extremely long. With the advent of digital technology, the demand for HIWAS from FSSs has declined dramatically.

The FAA received 27 comments on the proposal. Thirteen either supported the initiative or were neutral about the proposal, while three comments did not apply. A number of the remaining comments focused on the inability of pilots to obtain weather from alternate sources such as EFBs or other digital products.

In addition, the FAA said, “Air traffic controllers will continue to advise pilots of hazardous weather that may affect operations within 150 nautical miles of their sector or area of jurisdiction.”

A safety risk management panel was held on February 26 to address concerns raised by stakeholders. The panel consisted of representatives from the FAA and industry, including AOPA. The panel reviewed all comments and the participants were unanimous in their opinion that “removing the legacy service would not add any additional safety risks.”