Graphical-AIRMET Safety Tool

The G-AIRMET was created to provide hazardous en-route weather information in a condensed and higher resolution product than had previously been available, according to Murphy. The new product may be used by itself or in conjunction with other in-flight products such as the legacy text AIRMET that has been produced for decades. Responses from a survey of pilots held from July 2007 to March 2010 showed a high pilot preference for the new tool.

In addition to providing forecasts on en-route weather hazards in graphic form, which is more readily interpreted than text, the G-AIRMET is depicted every three hours for up to 12 hours into the future. G-AIRMETs are routinely issued every six hours and updated as often as meteorological conditions warrant. G-AIRMETs provide information on several en-route aviation weather hazards including:

  • Instrument flight Rule conditions (IFR)
  • Mountain Obscuration
  • Icing
  • Freezing Level
  • Turbulence
  • Low Level Wind Shear (LLWS)
  • Strong Surface Winds

G-AIRMETs are available in a variety of formats recommended by the World Meteorological Organization, including the “Binary Universal Form for the Representation of Meteorological Data” (BUFR) format. BUFR allows service providers and end users to customize G-AIRMET displays to individual specific applications and unique system configurations. G-AIRMETs are also available as Graphics Interchangeable Format images and in a java-based Internet website display that can loop and overlap different weather hazards. They can also be found on the Aviation Weather Center website.

“Our staff was quick to grasp the time saved by graphical depictions of weather phenomena,” Murphy said, “and the G-AIRMET is another in a growing line of en-route weather safety tools designed to take advantage of web-based and glass-cockpit technologies that allow pilots to see conditions at a glance rather than having to glean that information by reading lines of text. Pilots are telling us the G-AIRMET is proving to be a popular tool and one that will help improve aviation safety.”

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