FAA launches in-flight icing app

The Federal Aviation Administration has developed an online warning tool to predict in-flight icing so that aviation meteorologists and airline dispatchers can warn pilots of small planes up to 12 hours in advance about icing hazards.

The Forecast Icing Tool provides a high-tech color weather map with a flight route display of icing potential at flight levels from 3,000 to 18,000 feet. Users can select forecast times from three-, six-, nine- and twelve-hour intervals.

With funding from FAA's Aviation Weather Research program, the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., developed the application. The new app joins a suite of other FAA weather products, such as the Current Icing Potential tool. The National Weather Service maintains the tools for FAA.

'With information provided by this automated tool, pilots flying aircraft under 18,000 feet can make critical flight decisions,' FAA administrator Marion Blakey said in a statement.

In-flight icing is most hazardous to smaller aircraft and air taxi and commuter planes flying at fairly low altitudes. These aircraft often do not have the sophisticated wing-deicing equipment used by large commercial aircraft.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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