[Avionics Today 02-03-2015] The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is expanding its aircraft weather research program to new coverage areas. Under a new agreement with Rockwell Collins, the research program will expand to obtain weather data over the upper Midwest, Alaska and areas of the Pacific Ocean to provide the National Weather Service (NWS) with complete weather data for the entire United States.
“Better forecasting of severe weather has clear benefits for the aviation industry, like improving passenger safety and flight routes while saving costs by reducing unplanned deviations,” said David Poltorak, vice president of aviation and network services at Rockwell Collins. “The continued expansion of this program is enabling better predictability and preparedness for weather events that impact individuals and organizations around the world.”
Rockwell Collins' ARINC Meteorological Data Collection and Reporting System (MDCRS) has been gathering information about wind speed, air temperature and turbulence from commercial aircraft for the NWS and FAA since 1991. Bob Frisch, vice president of flight operations for Air Wisconsin, says the expanded coverage areas will help his airline to more accurately forecast and plan for weather conditions on the routes they fly. Air Wisconsin is one of the most recent airlines to begin participating in the program.
“This is a great opportunity to make valuable use of data about the weather conditions encountered on many of the routes we fly,” said Frisch. “Conditions in the Midwest and Northeast can at times be particularly challenging, so the more we can accurately forecast and plan for these situations, the better we can improve route planning.”