FAA installs a new system for weather data

FAA installs a new system for weather data

The Federal Aviation Administration has begun using a system that lets air traffic controllers view real-time weather information along with aircraft positions on their displays.

The Weather and Radar Processor system recently went online in Fort Worth, Texas. It lets controllers see advanced Doppler radar weather information along with aircraft position data.

The system will help controllers reroute air traffic to avoid severe weather, FAA officials said.

FAA awarded a $72.5 million contract to Harris Corp. of Melbourne, Fla., to develop the system in July 1996. Earlier this year, it awarded a $26 million follow-on contract through September 2004 for hardware and software maintenance.

The system uses different colors to show varying intensities of precipitation at three altitudes. Weather information appears as background graphics to aircraft data, giving controllers a better view of localized precipitation. This helps them evaluate the weather's impact on flights, FAA officials said.

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