An excellent set of in-depth articles (start here, continue here) by Aviation International News’ Jennifer Harrington, focusing on the critical role that weather is already playing in shaping the NextGen project.
A brief excerpt:
Weather forecasters will no longer analyze reams of data in an attempt to produce a single, uncertain forecast. Instead, the forecaster of the future will oversee an automated forecasting system that will produce a “probabilistic weather forecast.” In other words, the system will produce different scenarios based on the probability of a certain weather event occurring. “Today we have only one plan, so it tends to be conservative,” [the FAA’s Steve] Bradford said. “The [weather] automation would run through a number of different potential futures and help us come up with a plan that would allow us to maximize the use of the airspace around an airport and minimize the chance of diversions. We could plan continuously and increase efficiency.”
Among those quoted extensively: Bruce Carmichael, director of the Aviation Applications Program at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR); Steve Bradford, the FAA’s chief scientist for Architecture and NextGen Development; Robert Gillen (Ensco’s director of engineering) and Christina Frederick-Recascino (Embry-Riddle’s VP of Research), both of whom are involved with the Daytona Beach NextGen testbed facility.