How’s the Weather?
When it comes to ATM specific weather services in Air Traffic Management (ATM) it is well known, that important weather information regarding the approach control areas between en-route and terminal sectors, including approach, departure as well as the runway complex and taxiway especially under challenging weather conditions does not quite meet the expectations of the aeronautical industry today.
Serving the aviation community with accurate, detailed and timely weather information in the terminal and near terminal areas according to modern standards and possibilities, requires all the major players to come together, chipping in know-how to find a sustainable solution for bringing the exchange and the handling of meteorological data up to speed via a flexible and state-of-the-art technology.
Adverse weather conditions can cause flight delays and performance losses. Like many technological transitions valid MET information also has to undergo a basic change of concept. The handling of MET data within the aviation community implies shifting from a sensor-centric environment to an information-centric environment. In order to supply solid situational weather information, future meteorological services will have to be web-based and imply standardized data models.
The WeAC Service Project: A comprehensive SWIM MET solution
The standardized provision of consolidated aeronautical meteorological information especially during adverse weather conditions is a transversal thread for ATM, in particular for all stakeholders where MET information in the collaborative decision making process matters. It basically requires an end-to-end processing chain starting with the production/provision of MET data based on common data formats and protocols, the provision of a fully transactional Web Features Service and a Multipurpose Binary Data Service, the support of "legacy" consumer interfaces including server hardware infrastructure, as well as a SWIM conform consumer display client.
Against this backdrop a high-profile consortium consisting of Selex ES GmbH, DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH, AC-B Air Traffic Control & Business Systems GmbH, Avitech GmbH and Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD) together developed a holistic approach to provide an information service through SWIM technologies, able to offer manifold MET information using open standards. The consortium’s WeAC Service project was able to gain the support of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) which made “The Weather in ATM and Collaborative Decision Making – WeAC” a funded Federal Aeronautical Research Program (Luftfahrtforschungsprogramm – LuFo IV 2007-2015).
MET data information service based on SWIM technologies
The WeAC Service’s web-based information systems and standardized data models will play a key role in enabling a better situational awareness for weather information. It represents a comprehensive SWIM MET solution for Controller Working Positions (CWP), which provides Air Traffic Controllers with much needed MET data, at the right moment, at the right place and the right quality. The SWIM compliant WeAC Service uses validated components of SESAR, offers a scalable middleware application and is being validated in an operational environment.