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Aviation Weather Research Program

The FAA Aviation Weather Research Program (AWRP) researches applied weather to minimize the impact of weather on the National Airspace System (NAS).

The research goal is to transition new or improved weather capabilities into evolving air traffic management decision support systems, incorporate them into the National Weather Service (NWS), or both to improve the delivery of FAA-required services and enhance aviation safety and efficiency.

AWRP initiatives consist of the following:

  • Meeting specific weather information needs by stakeholders and NAS users
  • Mitigating weather-related safety and efficiency issues with a line of sight to operations
  • Evolving weather information required today in legacy capabilities to meet emerging needs, often in collaboration with the NWS

AWRP research areas include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Turbulence
  • In-flight icing
  • Convective weather
  • Ceiling and visibility (C&V)
  • Advanced weather radar techniques
  • Weather prediction model development and enhancement

The FAA collaborates with the NWS via the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NWS Aviation Weather Center Web Portal to provide fast, reliable access to advanced weather products and flight planning tools, including forecast products sponsored by the AWRP. A broad community of users, including pilots, dispatchers, and Flight Service Station briefers account for more than 10 million hits per day on this web portal.

Graphical Turbulence Guidance

Graphical Turbulence Guidance tool screenshot
Graphical Turbulence Guidance produces an automated forecast of turbulence location and intensity for use in flight planning.

Forecast Icing Product

tool screenshot
The Forecast Icing Product produces an automated forecast of icing intensity and probability for use in flight planning.

Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) Tool

Helicopter Emergency Medical Services tool screenshot
The Helicopter Emergency Medical Services page includes a C&V analysis, hourly forecasts of C&V out to 6 hours, an updated time-slider, and an updated 'options' menu.

Offshore Precipitation Capability
The FAA's Non-Radar Weather Radar

Offshore Precipitation Capability tool screenshot
The Offshore Precipitation Capability (OPC) blends lightning data, satellite imagery, and weather model data using machine learning to produce an estimate of precipitation for areas that lack radar coverage. OPC is merged with the CONUS radar mosaic to provide controllers with better situational awareness for offshore sectors.

Winter in the United States can produce some of the most dangerous weather for the aviation industry, including freezing rain, freezing drizzle, and sleet. In winter of 2019, the FAA sponsored and led a field campaign, In-Cloud Icing and Large-drop Experiment (ICICLE), to collect extensive data in hazardous aircraft environments to support FAA icing research. In collaboration with scientists and engineers from Environment and Climate Change Canada and the National Research Council of Canada, the ICICLE campaign targeted weather in Illinois and neighboring states. The data from the ICICLE campaign will help develop and validate icing weather tools for the identification of icing conditions an aviation user may encounter in terminal and en route environments to enable safe operations in the NAS.

Refer to photo caption.
Ice accumulates on and NRC Convair-580 after project flight sampling during the In-Cloud Icing and Large-drop Experiment (Photo by NCAR).

Supplemental AWRP Materials

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