Despite the latest air traffic management and flight control technologies, weather phenomena repeatedly impede operation of air transport, in particular safety, efficiency, and predictability. Most weather phenomena today are predictable. However, the relevant information is not available to the controller support systems in an appropriate manner and can therefore not be used by air traffic controllers.
The project "Meteorology for Air Traffic Management" (MET4ATM) uses actual and forecasted weather data to support circuits and alternative routes during approach. The project focuses on extreme weather conditions such as thunderstorms and hail. On the one hand these often occur regionally over limited areas; on the other hand they can also have significant impact on air traffic. Obviously, the influence of weather on air transport cannot be fully controlled. By using appropriate support systems with correspondingly reliable and accurate weather forecasts the air traffic control process can be proactively optimized.
This can be achieved through improved planning support with higher reliability and predictability. The development of the project focuses on both short-term and medium-term planning of approaches. The short-term time frame covers a planning horizon of up to one hour and the medium-term up to six hours. The Institute of Flight Guidance of the DLR in Braunschweig and Air Transportation Systems of the DLR in Hamburg are developing network planning and flight assistance systems that support airlines and air traffic controllers directly to avoid dangerous weather phenomena safely and efficiently. The research is focusing particularly on redesigning the airspace in the vicinity of airports, which is intended to enable aircraft to perform direct approaches simultaneously and more independently of surrounding air traffic. Using data link functionalities, approach procedures influenced by extreme weather will be made safer and more efficient.
Weather and weather phenomena impact on the aviation sector in different ways and with varying intensity. The aim of the project MET4ATM is the development of controller support systems for planning and guiding all of the traffic approaching an airport, taking dynamic storm cells into account. To achieve this, consistent meteorological data providing constant coverage with regard to both time and space are translated into polygons and 4D-trajectory generation technology is used to calculate safe arrival routes around severe weather.