September 23, 2013

With an eye on how federal belt-tightening is affecting service delivery, the Friends and Partners of Aviation Weather (FPAW) is asking for NBAA Member input on its delivery of information through the Aviation Digital Data Service (ADDS).

Founded in 1997, FPAW is a collaborative effort to improve the coordination of relaying weather issues among flightcrews, dispatchers, air traffic controllers and aviation meteorologists.

“They’re looking at killers,” said NBAA Aviation Air Traffic Management Specialist John Kosak. “We’re talking about adverse winds, low ceilings and visibility, as well as thunderstorms. So the questions FPAW wants to answer is, how can the aviation weather community provide the best possible information on those conditions?”

The next meeting of FPAW takes place at NBAA’s 2013 Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA2013) in Las Vegas, on Oct. 24. Representatives from NBAA, FAA, the National Weather Service, the National Transportation Safety Board and other organizations will talk about the most effective ways to deliver critical aviation weather data to general aviation users nationwide.

“It’s very much focused on the user end,” Kosak said. “For instance, the community is trying to quantify the benefits of a better forecast. How does a bad forecast affect us? Should we attempt to deliver the forecast sooner or more accurately? What would be the justification for that? These are questions NBAA Members and the general aviation community at large can help us answer because they’re the ultimate users of this information.”

One topic of conversation will be how to maximize the government’s return on investment in its weather service delivery during a time of budget constraints.

“Sequestration is a big issue right now,” said Kosak, who works at NBAA Air Traffic Services inside the Air Traffic Control System Command Center in Warrenton, VA. “How can we quantify the benefits of better forecasting? What is it that we can specifically do to make the national air traffic system and the National Weather Service work together in the best possible manner for a safer national airspace?”

The ADDS web page is perhaps the most visible means of delivering that information to flight crews, dispatchers and air traffic controllers. FAA and the National Center for Atmospheric Research operate the page and have started beta testing a new version, which presents much more information in a way that can be configured to best suit the user’s needs.

Review the ADDS web page.

“FPAW is looking for information from all aspects of general aviation, including business aviation. We would love to hear from NBAA Members. Commercial aviation has no trouble speaking up at these gatherings,” Kosak said. “We need to represent the interests of business aviation.”

Take the NBAA/Friends and Partners in Aviation Weather Survey.

Those interested in the ADDS discussion can participate either online or in person. One outcome of the session will be a one-day user workshop to take place early next year.