The Dissemination of Weather Conditions is of Critical Importance to Maintain Aircraft Operations and Levels of Service

Our work in aviation weather dissemination continues through participation in the FAA ADDS (Aviation Digital Data Service) and NNEW (NextGen Network Enabled Weather) Programs. The ADDS Program provides today's aviators with convenient web access to a variety of important aviation weather information. The NNEW Program is crafting a new weather data distribution infrastructure to meet the needs of the FAA's Next Generation (NextGen) Air Traffic Control System.

Experimental and Operational ADDS are web sites hosted at RAL and the NWS's Aviation Weather Center to provide 24 hour access to aviation weather information. As their names imply, Operational ADDS provides weather information that has received an official operational designation from the NWS and FAA, while Experimental ADDS presents aviation weather products that have progressed from research status to a provisional experimental status subject to further feedback and evaluation by aviators. The ADDS web sites handle a high volume of users who range from private pilots to military flight planners and include many of the major US airlines.

The NNEW Program is developing a new network service based infrastructure for distributing weather data within the FAA and exchanging it with external entities. NCAR is collaborating with MIT/LL, NOAA/ESRL, NOAA/NWS, and MITRE/CAASD to develop software and prototype systems for the NextGen 2013 initial operational capability. RAL has been developing a web based service to distribute gridded weather data based on the Open Geospatial Consortium's (OGC) Web Coverage Service (WCS) standard. In FY2009, RAL worked with the OGC to extend the WCS standard where necessary to accommodate three and four dimensional gridded weather data sets. Also in FY2009, RAL developed a first generation reference implementation of the FAA WCS server software for weather data. Some of the more notable capabilities of this server are its ability to spatially and temporally subset the weather data as will be required for NextGen weather data queries.

European Union's air traffic consortium, EuroControl, we develop weather data format standards for commonly used non–gridded weather data. One of the NNEW collaborators, MIT/LL, developed a reference implementation of a server for WXXM based on the OGC's Web Feature Service (WFS) standard for non–gridded (feature) data distribution. This emerging standard, the Weather Information Exchange Model (WXXM), is XML based and promises to aid in harmonization of weather data exchange between air traffic control systems in the US and Europe. The NNEW program periodically schedules capability demonstrations to exhibit the current state of the art in NNEW standards, technologies, software, and test bed infrastructure. For the most recent NNEW demonstration, RAL contributed its WCS reference implementation software, developed demonstration client software, developed the flight weather hazard service and tool, and implemented part of the NNEW test bed to support real–time WCS and WFS servers. The demonstration client software provided a graphical depiction of data delivery and weather products available from the NNEW test bed.

The Flight Weather Hazard Service (FWHS) and the Flight weather Hazard Tool (FWHT) were developed at RAL to illustrate how a complex aviation weather application can be built on the capabilities and flexibility inherentin the NNEW WCS and WFS servers. The FWHS and FWHT allows a user to specify a flight through the US airspace, retrieve weather hazards that may be encountered along that route of flight, and view a graphical depiction of those composite hazards. The data retrieved and depicted is a four dimension trajectory through the weather hazards customized for the planned path of flight and airplane capabilities. The ability to provide four dimensional trajectories of weather hazards is foundational to the needs of NextGen's air traffic automation tools.

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