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Sat, May 19, 2012

NTSB Makes Safety Recommendations For Lightning Info For Controllers

Cites Accident In Which Airplanes Were Directed Into Thunderstorms

In a letter addressed to acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, the NTSB is recommending that the agency look into ways that real-time lightning displays can be offered to air traffic controllers.

In the letter, NTSB chair Deborah A.P. Hersman writes that the board has recently investigated several accidents and incidents in which air carrier airplanes have encountered "significant convective weather conditions in flight," resulting in crew and passenger injuries caused by turbulence. She says the NTSB believes that "in addition to the precipitation data provided by weather radars, real-time information provided by modern 'total lightning' detection networks can further assist pilots and controllers in identifying specific areas where lightning exists, and, through observation of storm motion, may exist as aircraft proceed along their flightpaths."

The NTSB has recommended that the FAA study the technical feasibility of presenting, through the use of the weather and radar processor system or other means, real-time total lightning data on controller displays at both air route traffic control centers and terminal radar approach control facilities, and, if feasible, incorporate real-time total lightning data on controller displays and in associated weather products for current and future display systems.

To the extent practicable, the board says the FAA should incorporate direct center weather service unit briefings on new weather-related air traffic control equipment and information services into controller training, and incorporate real-time total lightning data into the products supplied to pilots through the flight information services - broadcast data link. (Image included in NTSB Letter)

FMI: Read the Letter

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