*This presentation is based on a survey that was driven by comments and questions raised during this summers FPAW meeting at the NTSB, primarily the opening presentation by Don Eick of the NTSB and the discussions that took place during the final panel of the day where I had the privilege of sitting with several members of the FAA including Nancy Kalinowski [Vice President of System Operations], Johnnie Garza [Director, System Operations], Steve Bradford [Chief Scientist for Architecture and NextGen Development] as well as Christopher Strager of the National Weather Service.
The general consensus was that the FAA and the NWS need our help. Nancy mentioned that she believes that a big part of the answer lies in people and training, but that the FAA needs more money to help with both of those issues. Johnnie asked participants to define what a good day in the National Airspace System (NAS) looks like for their operation so that they can help them achieve that goal. Finally, Steve told us that the FAA needs to know what information we want provided and how we need it delivered for maximum benefit. With these comments and questions in mind we at the NBAA put together a short survey to begin to get a very basic idea about how our members and members of the aviation community in general felt about these issues and to also get an overall idea of their basic weather IQ.
*The idea behind the first two questions was to try and discover as much information as possible about our members and other end users of the product. As a person who works in the Command Center and has participated on the FAA Weather Evaluation Collaborative Decision Making Team for about five years now, Ive been introduce to all of these products and have seen them used in one form or another for air traffic management. Of course the true test is to see how many of our members are aware these tools, how often they use these tools and how they perceive the usefulness of these tools. Several of these tools are heavily relied upon by air traffic managers to make traffic flow management decisions. Others are the forecasts are these products are based on. For example, the ECFP and the AWWD are both based on the SREF forecast. We didnt list CoSPA because that is not readily available to the public, but that uses the HRRR model.
Just so that people have a reference point, it was basically a five point scale with the choices being: never, rarely, sometimes, frequently and always. The answers were pretty well spread out.CCFP 31% Always, 26% Sometimes, 24% Rarely.ECFP 27% Always, 26% Rarely. ADDS 35% Always, 26% Never. This one surprised me. AWWD 47% Never, 25% Always. SREF 37% Never, 28% Always. HRRR 42% Never, 27% Always.
*So Ill be honest here, we rushed to get this out after the summer FPAW meeting as a way to try and get some useful information. We tried to keep it short to encourage participation. It is our intention to go forward with a more in depth survey based on the information gathered from this one, and comments from the group during the discussion after this presentation. For example, going forward we might want to more accurately define the usefulness of a tool in order to better judge the responses.
A good example is the CCFP, which was designed as a traffic management tool. Some are concerned that pilots are using it as a flight planning tool. However, if its being used to determine where the programs and reroutes are likely to pop-up, it is after a fashion, a flight planning tool. This is one of the things we could research further with a more in depth survey.
For now, we had the following ratings for this question: Not Useful at all, somewhat useful, Useful, Mostly useful and Very useful.CCFP 38% Very useful, 28% Useful. ECFP 32% Very useful, 28% Somewhat useful. ADDS 51% Very useful, 25% Not useful at all. AWWD 33% Very useful, 24% Not useful at all. SREF 31% Very useful, 20% both Useful, Somewhat useful. HRRR 30% Very useful, 22% Useful.
*The next two questions are a result of the final panel discussion at the summer FPAW meeting where we discussed what we needed versus wanted in a budget constrained reality. Obviously, in a perfect world, we want it all and we want it now. Unfortunately, thats not where we are at with sequestration and other budget impacts. Again, we were trying to keep the survey short and as a result, we didnt go into details for this question like how much more accurate it would be versus how much less often the forecast would be available.
With that in mind, the response was 65% in favor of more accuracy versus more often.*This question was based on a previous discussion about quantifying the benefits of aviation weather forecasts. This question also makes the user choose between two alternatives that might be combined in a perfect world.
The overwhelming choice at 70% was to know what type of precipitation was going to be falling versus knowing the start and end times for the precipitation.
Again, in the future, by asking a few more questions, hopefully we can find out why our members made this choice. *95% of the people answering the survey want their weather tools delivered via the internet. The other highly requested delivery method was via an electronic flight bag like the Apple iPad or similar tablet device. Another 34% of the responses were looking for flight deck integration. We also received some interesting write in notes.
[Im guessing this was not a pilot, but cant be certain] It would make your information much more useful if it were quoted in local timee vs. UTC. Having to deduct 6 hours from every single forecast is really not necessary. Why not convert to local time for the airport/city etc. for which the forecast is prepared.WSI InFlight Wx or XM WxI use internet most frequently to gather wx information before flightads-baviationweather.gov*Make us more aware of the advanced products available on ADDSForecast Confidence Factorization (FCF) on a standardized basis.Have the FAA take back the AFSS from Lockheed Martin and re-open local AFS StationsProvide more current data and forecast products that provide detail for a greater number of non-airline airports.Provide Weather Service Trained Personnel and not FAA trained personnel for briefings. FAA trained personnel are not generally focused on the details of weather analysis.enhance adds website availabilityRegarding Terminal Wx Start and End times of Wx phenomenon is important to me. My ETD and ETA are pretty accurate, so conditions at ETA are important for my decision making. ATC deals with Enroute Wx with re-routes which are beyond my control. I use onboard Wx radar for tactical Wx avoidance.accuracy of weather products (tafs and metars) clear and easy to read sigmets & airmets, good radar imaging like intellicastPlease note in reference to the first two questions. We do not use these products on the govt web site. All our weather comes from private suppliers, FltPlan.com and WSI who may repackage these products in their own formats. The only answer choice I had that was the closest to being correct was that we don't use them.Use Fltplan.com format*I mentioned this during the final panel at the summer FPAW meeting, but it bears repeating. Our organization represents a very diverse membership. This means that they also represent a good cross section of the general aviation community. The two largest groups of responders on this list were operators of multi engine jets follo