Inflight IQ: evolving the way we provide services to customers

Using technology to fast-track accurate information and results for aviation customers

The only thing certain about the weather is that it’s going to change – so keeping airlines and airports operating efficiently and safely around the clock requires a lot of weather information analysis. It’s particularly vital that pilots are absolutely up to date with weather changes that could affect their flying and landing conditions.

Many airlines are introducing new technology into the cockpit to help pilots deal with the vast amount of information they need to process during each flight. One of the more simple and effective advancements has been the use of mobile devices such as tablets to access key information. To leverage this, our developers looked at the information being provided through our WeatherTrakII weather management system, and developed an iPad app that could display and update information in a compact, user-friendly format.

WeatherTrakII is a web-based real time aviation weather information and weather management system. It also ingests airline flight schedules so that a complete pre-flight MET briefing package can be scheduled and delivered electronically to wherever it’s needed. Pilots normally receive pre-flight MET print-outs from this system -  by adding printed QR codes to these packages, pilots can now simply scan the code using the new WeatherTrakII Mobile Wx iPad app. QR code technology enables individual MET packages to be uniquely identified for individual flights, so the pilot receives the correct up-to-date MET information there and then.

When connected to cellular networks or Wi-Fi, the new app continuously updates packages with the latest available data. This means pilots have the very latest weather updates displayed in a format developed specifically to meet airline specifications, right at their fingertips when they need it.

Another MetService innovation that’s bringing a landmark change to New Zealand’s international airports is the introduction of automated aviation weather observations – AUTO METARs. The new system is also attracting overseas interest for its innovative approach to providing valuable observations for aviation forecasting and flight operations.

The new automation system includes features designed to ensure high quality and reliability. Duplicate weather stations at each airport provide complete redundancy, right down to individual sensor level, along with four independent communications paths to ensure continuous operation. A new ‘present weather quality control’ algorithm compares sensor reports with other observations and refines the reports where necessary. Data from the lightning detection network adds further refinement whenever thunderstorms occur at or near airports.

The new system enables AUTO METARs to be delivered twice as often, and eliminates the possibility of missed observations. Consistent, standardised formatting fits seamlessly with the trend towards more automated data delivery to aircraft cockpits – and delivers a new standard of observations reporting. One minute updates of ‘actual’ airport weather enable airlines, air traffic management and airports to constantly monitor changes in weather conditions for approach, landing and take-off.

Changing the game through technology is an integral part of how we deliver accelerated results for our customers.

For more information about MetraWeather's aviation forecasting services, click here to contact us.

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