The aeronautical and meteorological communities have highlighted the need for a system that can exchange meteorological data between them. With the growth in air traffic, the availability of weather information is increasingly important to ensure a safe level of operation. The exchange of weather information would allow airline operators and Air Traffic Control (ATC) authorities to improve overall Air Traffic Management (ATM) by incorporating improved awareness of current and forecast meteorological conditions into the system.
The main objective of WEATHER was to identify the expected benefits and produce a specification of functional requirements for the exchange of weather information between airline operators, weather providers and air traffic control authorities.
The project aimed at defining:
- types of data;
- the consequences for the on-board equipment;
- the communication network and data processing.
Another goal was to investigate the impact on weather forecasting and associated benefits through the extensive use of airborne measurements.
Functional requirements were documented to show the necessary functionality and the expected benefits for all the actors. An Operational Requirement Analysis defined how the functionality could be implemented in real life. A prototype was developed and piloted to enhance the air flight planning system with weather information inputs and to extend the data-link to the aircraft. This provided examples of human-machine interfaces in the aircraft, at the ATC centre and at the National Meteorological Office for data collected during the flights.
Recommendations were produced for a Meteorological Data Exchange System (MDES).
A totally new feature was the communication via data-link of weather information between aircraft and the ground.
The project highlighted directions for future developments of an MDES. It also stressed the need for future RTD to concentrate on data transfer issues, including:
- transmission systems and standards;
- new sensors to measure more parameters;
- new software to trigger special reports;
- models using meteorological data to evaluate aircraft performance and aid in-flight decisions.
The need for a control system to gather and distribute meteorological information to everyone was highlighted.
The transfer of information on turbulence to ATC and other aircraft was recommended to improve passenger comfort.