ESRL Global Systems Division

Aviation Initiative Demonstration

Color Coded Arrival and Departure Routes for Leesburg.
Color Coded Arrival and Departure Routes for Leesburg.
Color codes based on weather impacts.


Consistent with the FAA's Air Traffic Organization's (ATO) philosophy to review, upgrade, and create efficiencies in various functions, in January 2006 the National Weather Service (NWS) Corporate Board agreed to prototype a more effective and efficient forecast process to support Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) operations. Prototyping activities are described below.

What was the purpose of the NWS Prototyping activities?

Demonstrate the capability to perform collaboration between the Center Weather Service Unit (CWSU) and the Weather Forecast Office (WFO) to produce new forecast and decision aid products that translate weather impact on en-route and terminal air operations and that provide common situational awareness to all prototype participants.

Demonstrate the capability of the WFO to remotely support ARTCC weather information requirements when the CWSU is unavailable.

Where did the Prototype take place?

Prototyping activities were conducted from the Sterling WFO and the CWSU/Leesburg ARTCC.

How was the Prototype set up?

The NWS provided all necessary equipment (client workstation for the WFO, CWSU, and ARTCC Traffic Management Unit (TMU) and communication paths for the prototype, the prototype systems provided VOIP to demonstrate a telephone "hot-line" for immediate access to the Sterling WFO) to support collaboration between the Sterling WFO and CWSU/Leesburg ARTCC.

AID Prototype Systems

WFO Sterling was the location for the remote operation that supported CWSU Leesburg during the prototype. Remote operations were conducted from 0530-2130 Local Time five days per week. The remote operation collaborated with CWSU Leesburg to assist with the production of new standard weather briefings, forecast products, and decision aids for TMU use. The CWSU/Leesburg ARTCC meteorologists continued to be the final authority for weather service products to ARTCC personnel. Two shifts during the five day week, the remote operations provided direct support to the TMU. During these two shifts, the CWSU/Leesburg ARTCC meteorologists remained intact and staffed in their current state to provide a "safety net."

Training was provided to all operational staff on the development and dissemination of the new products.

When did prototyping activities take place?

The prototype operations began July 2006 and ended on September 2006.

How did the prototype impact day to day operation at the ARTCC?

No degradation of information provided by NWS services was encountered during the prototype; it was designed to be "seamless" and user friendly for all FAA staff.

How did the prototype impact operations at the Sterling WFO?

An additional computer workstation (including AWIPS and a FX-Connect workstation) was added to the Sterling WFO operations area. During times of prototype operations, the meteorologist staffing the remote operations desk collaborated with the WFO's operational staff. In addition to assisting the CWSU, the remote operations desk carried out the duties of the WFO Sterling short term forecaster but did not transmit any short term products. The duties of the remote operations desk were performed by meteorologists other than the WFO Sterling on-duty forecasters.


The evaluation of the new products included feedback from ARTCC Traffic Management Unit personnel and an evaluation of collaboration tools included feedback from CWSU and WFO forecasters NWSEO had an opportunity to participate in the evaluation through their representative on the Aviation Initiative Team.

What was GSD's role.

GSD developed the systems and software that made this initiative a success. The Leesburg CWSU and TMU are still using the systems to day for all briefing activities.

Above information was extracted from the AI teams "Prototype_sterling_final final.doc"