Aviation Weather Services

A Call for Federal Leadership and Action

National Aviation Weather Services Committee

Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board

Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.
1995



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--> Aviation Weather Services A Call for Federal Leadership and Action National Aviation Weather Services Committee Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1995

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--> NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the panel responsible for the report were chosen for their special competencies and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Harold Liebowitz is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Harold Liebowitz are chairman and vice-chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. This study was supported by the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Weather Service, and the Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorology under contract No. DTFA01-94-C-00042 and contract No. NA94AANWG0519. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 95-72006 International Standard Book Number 0-309-05380-3 Additional copies of this report are available from: National Academy Press 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Box 285 Washington, D.C. 20055 (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington Metropolitan area) Copyright 1995 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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--> Committee on National Aviation Weather Services Albert J. Kaehn, Jr., Chairman, Commander, U.S. Air Force Air Weather Service (retired) John A. Dutton, Vice Chairman, Dean, College of Earth & Mineral Sciences Pennsylvania State University Grant Aufderhaar, Research and Development Panel Leader, The Aerospace Corporation William W. Hoover, Operations Panel Leader, Executive Vice President, Air Transport Association (retired) Sue Ann Bowling, Assistant Professor of Physics, Geophysical Institute of Alaska, University of Alaska, Fairbanks George P. Cressman, Director, National Weather Service (retired) Wilfred A. Jackson, Assistant Professor, University of North Dakota Carl R. Knable, Manager of Meteorology, United Airlines Peter R. Leavitt, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Weather Services Corporation Robert J. Massey, Pilot, Delta Airlines Paul K. Rosenwald, Principal Engineer, NYMA Corp. Wayne R. Sand, Aviation Weather Consultant David N. Schramm, Louis Block Professor in the Physical Sciences, University of Chicago Paul H. Smith, Senior Manager, Air Traffic Services, National Business Aircraft Association Tom Wardleigh, Chairman of the Board, Alaska Aviation Safety Foundation Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board Liaison Robert R. Lynn, Sr. Vice President, Research & Engineering, Bell Helicopter Textron (retired), Euless, Texas Staff Alan C. Angleman, Study Director JoAnn C. Clayton, Director, Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board Ted W. Morrison, Project Assistant

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--> Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board Jack L. Kerrebrock, Chairman, Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, R.C. Maclaurin Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge Steven Aftergood, Senior Research Analyst, Federation of American Scientists, Washington, D.C. Joseph P. Allen, President and Chief Executive Officer, Space Industries International, Inc., Washington, D.C. Guion S. Bluford, Jr., Vice President and General Manager of Engineering Services Division, NYMA, Inc., Brook Park, Ohio John K. Buckner, Vice President, Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems (Retired), Fort Worth, Texas Raymond S. Colladay, Vice President, Business Development & Advanced Programs, Martin Marietta Astronautics, Denver, Colorado Ruth M. Davis, President and Chief Executive Officer, Pymatuning Group, Inc., Alexandria, Virginia Steven D. Dorfman, President, Hughes Telecommunications & Space Company, Hughes Electronics Corporation, Los Angeles, California Donald C. Fraser, Director, Center for Photonics Research, Boston University, Boston John M. Hedgepeth, President, Digisim Corporation, Santa Barbara, California Takeo Kanade, Director, The Robotics Institute, and U. A. and Helen Whitaker Professor of Computer Science and Robotics, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh Bernard L. Koff, Executive Vice President, Engineering and Technology, Pratt & Whitney, West Palm Beach, Florida Donald J. Kutyna, Corporate Vice President, Advanced Space Systems, Loral Corporation, Colorado Springs, Colorado John M. Logsdon, Director, Space Policy Institute, George Washington University, Washington, D.C. Robert R. Lynn, Sr. Vice President, Research & Engineering, Bell Helicopter Textron (retired), Euless, Texas Frank E. Marble, Richard L. Hayman and Dorothy M. Hayman Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Professor of Jet Propulsion, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena C. Julian May, President and Chief Operating Officer, Tech/Ops International, Inc., Kennesaw, Georgia Bradford W. Parkinson, Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory, Stanford University, Stanford Alfred Schock, Director, Energy System Department, Orbital Sciences Corporation, Germantown, Maryland John D. Warner, President, Information and Support Services, The Boeing Company, Seattle, Washington Duane T. McRuer, Chairman, Systems Technology, Inc., Manhattan Beach, California, Ex Officio Staff Director: JoAnn Clayton

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--> Preface Each time we see grim pictures of aircraft wreckage on a rain-drenched crash site, or scenes of tired holiday travelers stranded in snow-covered airports, we are reminded of the harsh impact that weather can have on the flying public. Accordingly, the federal government, state governments, commercial air carriers, and a wide variety of aviation and meteorological professional and industry associations strive to improve the ability of the national airspace system to accommodate adverse weather. As part of this effort and at the request of the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Research Council established the Committee on National Aviation Weather Services during May 1994. The committee examined institutional issues that affect (1) the provision of national aviation weather services and (2) related research and technology development efforts. The committee's task statement consisted of five specific elements: Examine the roles played by various federal agencies in providing aviation weather services and in planning systems advances. Examine the roles of these agencies in research and development for those services. Assess the effectiveness of existing institutional arrangements to operate the current system and to plan and direct system improvements. Identify possible unmet needs (i.e., potential services or capabilities that may "fall through the cracks"). Explore alternative approaches that might lead to improved weather monitoring and prediction for the aviation community ill both the Bear and long-term. In order to assess the effectiveness of institutional arrangements, the committee first examined the adequacy of operational aviation weather services and related research. Although the committee did not focus on the effectiveness of individual aviation weather systems, it did determine how well current systems meet user needs. The committee then determined the extent to which the persistence of unmet needs and other problems could be attributed to shortcomings in institutional arrangements. The committee concluded that user needs are well defined in earlier reports, federal documents, and interviews with knowledgeable members of the aviation and meteorological communities. In addition, the specific aviation weather functions that the Federal Aviation Administration, National Weather Service, Department of Defense, and other agencies currently provide seem to be well suited to their respective missions and capabilities. However, the committee did discover a lack of consensus and cooperation among many of the parties involved in providing and using aviation weather services. This fragmentation of responsibilities and resources leads to a significantly less-than-optimal use of available weather information. This report examines alternatives for responding to this situation. In particular, the report develops an approach whereby the federal government could provide stronger leadership to improve cooperation and coordination among aviation weather providers and users. The committee believes that stronger leadership is required for timely resolution of many key issues associated with aviation weather services and related research.1 As such, stronger leadership should be viewed as an essential element of the overall effort to improve aviation weather services. Given its specific tasking, the committee confined its analysis to the relatively specialized field of aviation weather services. That analysis, however, raised broader issues regarding institutional effectiveness within the Federal Aviation Administration. Such issues go beyond the purview of this committee. If the Federal Aviation Administration conducts a more-comprehensive analysis of overall institutional effectiveness, the committee recognizes that this might have implications for the way in which the recommendations of this report are implemented. The study committee met five times between July 1994 and April 1995, collecting information, assessing relevant issues, and generating appropriate recommen- 1   See Appendix A for a complete list of the committee's findings and recommendations.

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--> dations.2 One of the goals of the committee was to ensure that its deliberations included a broad range of perspectives. To accomplish this goal, committee members conducted numerous additional meetings individually and in small groups in order to broaden the information collection effort and to discuss relevant issues with a wide variety of users and providers of aviation weather services. Committee members visited aviation weather and air traffic control facilities operated by the Federal Aviation Administration, National Weather Service, major air carriers, and private weather services in the vicinity of Washington, D.C.; Kansas City, Missouri; Boulder and Denver, Colorado; Boston, Massachusetts; Chicago, Illinois; and Dallas, Texas; and in communities throughout the state of Alaska. As pan of these meetings, committee members discussed aviation weather operations, research, and development with a wide variety of individuals, including pilots, meteorologists, air traffic controllers, flight service specialists, and current and former government officials from the Federal Aviation Administration, National Weather Service, National Transportation Safety Board, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The committee wishes to thank all of these individuals, who are listed in Appendix C, for their contributions to the work of the committee. Finally, the committee wishes to express special appreciation and singular recognition to the study director, Alan Angleman, for his competence and diligence in every phase of its activities. His commitment to excellence leaves an indelible mark on this report. Alan was ably assisted by Ted Morrison in this effort. Ted's attention to a myriad of administrative and logistic issues made a significant contribution to the committee's successful conclusion of its task. BRIG GEN ALBERT J. KAEHN, JR., USAF (RETIRED) CHAIRMAN, COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL AVIATION WEATHER SERVICES 2   See Appendix B for a list of committee members.  

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--> Table of Contents     Acronyms   x     Summary   1 Chapter 1:   Introduction   9     Safety Imperatives   10     Economic Imperatives   10     Organization of this Report   12     References   12 Chapter 2:   Current Roles and Missions   14     Legislative Requirements   14     Implementation by the Executive Branch   16     OMB Circular A-62   16     FAA/NOAA Memorandum of Agreement   16     Effectiveness of Implementing Documents   19     Federal Aviation Regulations   19     Establishing an Air Traffic Services Corporation   20     References   21 Chapter 3:   Current Services   22     Aviation Weather Services   22     Observation   22     Analysis   27     Forecasting   27     Dissemination   29     Training   35     Pilots   35     Dispatchers   36     Air Traffic Controllers and Flight Service Specialists   37     Aviation Meteorologists   37     Training Improvements   37     Unmet User Needs   38     References   40

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--> Chapter 4:   Research and Development   41     Federal Planning   42     Research Organizations   42     Planning Documents   43     Planning and Coordination   43     Longer-Term Research Priorities   44     Strengthening the Research Program   45     Priorities   45     Funding   45     Leadership   46     Process   46     References   46 Chapter 5:   Regional Requirements   48     Regional Variability in Aviation Safety   48     The Alaskan Example—1980 and 1995   49     Improving Regional Services   50     References   51 Chapter 6:   Future Roles and Missions   52     Future Alternatives   52     Assessing the Alternatives   53     Roles and Missions   54     Federal Aviation Administration   55     NOAA/National Weather Service   57     Private Sector   57     Department of Defense   58     National Aeronautics and Space Administration   58     Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorology   59     State Governments   59     References   59 Chapter 7:   The First Step   61     References   61 Appendix A:   Summary of Findings and Recommendations   63     Chapter 2, Current Roles and Missions   63     Chapter 3, Current Services   64     Chapter 4, Research and Development   65     Chapter 5, Regional Requirements   66     Chapter 6, Future Roles and Missions   66     Chapter 7, The First Step   67     References   68 Appendix B:   Biographical Sketches of Committee Members   69 Appendix C:   Participants in Committee Meetings   72

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--> Appendix D:   Reference Documents for Current Roles and Missions   74     Organic Act of 1890   74     Weather Services Modernization Act   74     Federal Aviation Act of 1958, as amended   75     National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, as amended   76     Department of Commerce Appropriations Act of 1963   77     OMB Circular A-62   78     FAA/NOAA Memorandum of Agreement   79     References   81 Appendix E:   ASOS Assessment   82     References   84 Appendix F:   General Aviation Flight Scenarios—1994 and 2015   86     Scenario One: 1994   86     Scenario Two: 2015   88     References   89 Appendix G:   Federal Funding   90     References   92 Appendix H:   Research Documents and Organizations   93     References   94 Appendix I:   Detailed Assessment of User Needs in Alaska   96     Factors that Define Regional Variability   96     Geography and Weather Patterns   96     Transportation Systems   98     Other Elements of the Regional Infrastructure   100     Cultural Differences   100     Economic Factors   101     Regulatory Factors   102     FAA and NWS Organization and Operations   102     Impact of Regional Variability on the Level of Available Information   103     Options for Improving Regional Services   104     Weather Observations   104     Dissemination   105     References   106 Appendix J:   Alternative Approaches for Improving Aviation Weather Services and Research   107     References,   109

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--> Acronyms ACARS Aeronautical Radio Inc. (ARINC) Communications and Reporting System AFSS Automated Flight Service Station ARTCC Air Route Traffic Control Center ASOS Automated Surface Observing System AWOS Automated Weather Observing System COMET Cooperative Program for Operational Meteorological Training CWSU Center Weather Service Unit DoD Department of Defense DUATS Direct User Access Terminal Service FAA Federal Aviation Administration FAR Federal Aviation Regulation FSL Forecast Systems Laboratory FSS Flight Service Station GAO General Accounting Office IFR Instrument Flight Rules MDCRS Meteorological Data Collection and Reporting System MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration NCAR National Center for Atmospheric Research NOAA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NTSB National Transportation Safety Board NWS National Weather Service OFCM Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorology OMB Office of Management and Budget PDT Prospectus Development Team RE&D Research, Engineering and Development RVR Runway Visual Range TDWR Terminal Doppler Weather Radar TRACON Terminal Radar Approach Control USWRP U.S. Weather Research Program VFR Visual Flight Rules