Terminal Weather Information for Pilots (TWIP) Program Annual Report for 1995
September 8, 1997
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is currently embarking on programs, such as the Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR) and Integrated Terminal Weather Systems (ITWS), that will significanlty improve the aviation weather information in the terminal area. For example, TDWR data will be available at 47 airports across the United States that have high traffic and significant risk of wind shear. The TDWRs automatically report microburst, gust front and precipitaion near the airport to air traffic control personnel on a 24-hour basis. Given the great increase in the quantity and quality of terminal weather information, it is highly desirable to provide this information directly to pilots rather than relying on voice communications. Providing terminal weather information automatically via data link will enhance pilot awareness of weather hazards and lead to more efficient utilization of aircraft. It may also decrease air traffic controller workload and reduce ratio frequency congestion. This report describes work performed in 1995 to provide direct pilot access to terminal weather information via an existing data link known as ACARS (Aircraft, Communication Addressing and Reporting System). More than 4000 aircraft operate in the United States with ACARS equipment. During 1995, five Lincoln-operated testbeds provided near real-time terminal weather information to pilots of AFCARS-equipped aircraft in both text and character graphics formats. This effort follows earlier successful demonstrations during the summers of 1993 and 1994. Section 2 of the report describes the TWIP message formats, Section 3 discusses the 1995 operational demonstration, and Section 4 presents TWIP software design. Section 5 provides case analyses from the 1995 demonstration, Section 6 discusses future work, and Section 7 is the summary.