The FAA's Aviation Weather Research Program (AWRP) directs research and development activities for 11 Research Teams. The roles of the InFlight Icing Product Development Team (IFI PDT) are to provide guidance to the FAA on in flight icing, prepare annual plans for research, monitor progress on the plan and provide quarterly reports to the AWRP Management Team, provide regular briefings to the AWRP, and coordinate FAA sponsored research activities with those of other organizations.
The IFI RT lead is Marcia Politovich; Gary Cunning is the lead engineer. Jim Riley of the FAA Technical Center has been designated the Subject Matter Expert. The team interacts with other organizations conducting inflight icing research such as NASA GRC Icing Branch, NASA Langley Cloud Products Group, MSC, MeteoFrance, the Universities of Illinois and Washington, and Wichita State University.
The intermediate goal of the IFI PDT is a gridded depiction of inflight icing severity, probability of encounter, and the confidence in those estimates, based on integration of operational model output with real–time sensor data. Current resolution is 20 km but this will soon be increased to 5 km over the CONUS as higher–resolution weather models (i.e., High–Resolution WRF Rapid Refresh) become available, better use of radar and satellite data is achieved, and computational and communications bandwidth problems are resolved. In data–sparse regions (polar regions, ocean routes, etc.) resolution may be coarser depending on available data inputs and model grid size.
The ultimate goal for inflight icing forecasting is a high–resolution, frequent–update field of liquid water content, the full drop size distribution, and temperature. This information would be ingested into flight models that simulate ice accretion and resulting performance degradation to optimize safe and efficient flight routing.