Global Weather Notification System published in ATCA Bulletin

by Jason Craig, Aviation Applications Program (AAP)

The Global Weather Notification system is a novel way to provide pilots with real-time, cutting-edge weather hazard information about rapidly developing adverse weather conditions.  The Aviation Applications Program at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) developed this system to deliver weather information to the cockpit by sending a text notifying the pilot of upcoming adverse weather, but only when these conditions are predicted to be in the aircraft’s near future path. This system sends these alerts of hazardous conditions with enough lead time for pilots to take measured, preemptive, responses to ensure safe and efficient flight operations.

The system alerts pilots to developing hazardous conditions, allowing them to take measured, preemptive, responses to ensure safe and efficient flight operations.

Currently, pilots receive updated weather information using a tablet display to view available weather products, which requires pilots to analyze various product types. However, this approach demands significant bandwidth for receiving these data in the cockpit. Without a tablet and in-cockpit connectivity, there are very few options for pilots to be directly updated about weather information, which means they must rely on discussions with Air Traffic Control, Dispatch, and what they can see, either out the window or from the on-board radar. This tool can significant benefit pilots by reducing their need to analyze weather data while en-route, reduces bandwidth usage in the cockpit, and alerts a pilot to adverse weather that may be rapidly developing.

For the next steps, NCAR is seeking interested industry partners to license and lead this novel system through the final steps toward operational capability. The final implementation will require an industry partner who can run the system and implement the various methods of getting the text notifications into cockpits. This tool may offer broad implications and benefits for the wider range of aviation, such as Uncrewed Aircraft Systems. The Global Weather Notification systemhas been developed, tested, and demonstrated with funds from the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Weather Technology in the Cockpit (WTIC) program.

Jason Craig