Dec. 19, 2019

The FAA will discontinue the Hazardous Inflight Weather Advisory Service (HIWAS) in the contiguous United States, effective Jan. 8, 2020. HIWAS is a continuous broadcast of weather advisories over a limited nationwide network of VORs, providing pilots with information related to hazardous weather.

The agency’s decision comes in the wake of decreased demand for inflight services from flight service specialists in general, dropping from an average of more than 10,000 radio contacts per day to less than 900 per day, which the FAA said is an indication pilots are using other means to obtain weather information.

NBAA participated in an FAA/industry Safety Risk Management (SRM) Panel that analyzed the risks associated with discontinuing this service and addressed stakeholder concerns.

“NBAA was a part of the SRM process, and is comfortable with the decommissioning of this service in the lower 48 states, as there are numerous other products that provide pilots with the needed weather information,” said Heidi Williams, NBAA’s director of air traffic services and infrastructure.

“We no longer rely solely on the aircraft radio for access to weather information in the cockpit. Instead, we have access to a number of resources that we didn’t when HIWAS was created,” she added. “This greatly mitigates any impact of decommissioning what we found in the course of our review to be a little used product.”

Further, newer sources for inflight weather information typically present material in a graphical format, which is often easier to use while flying.

Air traffic controllers will continue to advise pilots of hazardous weather that may affect operations within 150 miles of their sector or area of jurisdiction. This includes details found in Airmen’s Meteorological Information, Significant Meteorological Information, Convective SIGMENT, Urgent Pilot Reports and Center Weather Advisories. Pilots will be instructed to contact a flight service specialist through air-to-ground radio frequency if they need additional information.