Weather Information Presentation
Tenny A. Lindholm The National Center for Atmospheric Research Research Applications Program
Before we can fully relate the aviation user's weather information needs to the function or task at hand, both now and in the future, we must comprehend and contrast the differences between the current aviation environment and whatever is envisioned for the future. It follows that we begin this chapter with a description of current aviation weather information available to users and then provide a vision of the future air traffic control system and associated weather information. The human factors and display design for this future system can then considered from a functional point of view, allowing user needs to evolve in the proper context. Each element and user within the National Airspace System (NAS) will be considered, as well as the implications of their interactions within the system. The goal is to develop a true system-level understanding of weather information display needs, because users and their needs for aviation weather to support decision making are so varied. The approach taken here insures that the functional interactions of the air traffic control system and its allocation of weather display capabilities will be well understood as the system is modernized.
On the afternoon of August 2, 1985, a wide-bodied jetliner crashed short of Runway 17L at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, with considerable loss of human life. The only indication of a hazard to the flight crew was a moderate to severe rain shower just to the right of the approach course. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) listed as a probable cause the occurrence of a small, short-lived but severe downburst now widely known as a microburst ( Fugita, 1986).
A number of years ago, a South American jetliner crashed while on approach to New York's John F. Kennedy Airport during marginal ceiling and visibility conditions. The aircraft arrived in the terminal area with just enough fuel and reserves to complete a normal sequence to landing. After unplanned and lengthy holding delays, the aircraft