Flight planners, dispatchers, and trackers have traditionally worked with flight hazard forecasts that are quite general in nature, such as ‘light’, or ‘moderate’ or ‘severe’ descriptions of turbulence or icing or thunderstorms. These traditional flight hazard forecasts also cover large geographic areas, tend to encompass a very large altitude range, and are provided only four times a day.
In short, these non-specific forecasts are open to interpretation, literally, as personnel often have to infer a flight hazard situation. They might be forced to make assumptions about how moderate is ‘moderate’, or route a flight around a large area because he or she doesn’t have more-location-specific information. And a forecast issued every 6 hours doesn’t tell a tracker much about flight-impacting conditions that are rapidly changing.
However, if you are reading this while in flight, take comfort in knowing that advanced technology might also on board. Aviation businesses are following smart grid and smart mobility implementations by putting more timely and targeted information to work for smarter operation.
Now, aviation flight hazard forecasts are applying advanced-technology weather forecasting to better support the decisions that make airline, corporate flight, and helicopter operations safer and more efficient. Innovative (and patented) high-definition flight hazard forecasts are based on global weather models and a high-definition U.S. model that use shape files and graphic formats that provide better forecast-area definition and are updated more frequently and extend for more hours.
As a result, flight planners and trackers can leave interpretation to the movie critics and, instead, rely on the latest technology to improve flight safety, reduce the risk of aircraft damage, and help optimize fuel and operations costs.