Terminal Doppler Weather Radar operational test and evaluation Orlando 1990
April 9, 1991
Lincoln Laboratory conducted an evaluation for hte Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR) system in Orlando, Florida during the cummer of 1990. In previous years, evaluations have been conducted at airports in Kansas City, MO (1989) and Denver, CO (1988). Since the testing at the Kansas City International Airport, the radar was modified to operate in C-band, which is the intended frequency band for the production TDWR systems. The objectives of the 1990 evaluation period were to evaluate TDWR system performance in detecting low-altitude wind shear, specifically microbursts and gust fronts, at the Orlando International Airport and in the surrounding area; to refine the system's wind shear detection capabilities; and to evaluate elements of the system developed by the contractor, which were new for this C-band system and therefore not available for evaluation in previous years. Some performance comparisons are made among results from the vastly different weather environments of Denver, Kansas City, and Orlando. The report discusses and presents statistics for the performance of the system in detecting and predicting microbursts and gust fronts. A significant use of the prediction capability is its potential use for air traffic control (ATC) personnel to plan aitport operations when hazardous weather is predicted. Issues such as low-velocity ground clutter (from tree leaves, road traffic, and dense urban areas) that affect prediction performance are discussed, along with possible software modifications to account for them. FInally, the ATC personnel and pilots who took part in the evaluation provide the users' perspectives on the usefulness of the system's capabilities.