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FAA Develops Tool to Predict Icing

Reprinted with permission from FAA Aviation News

Predicting in-flight icing just got a little easier, thanks to a new tool developed by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Using the new, web-based Forecast Icing Tool, aviation meteorologists and airline dispatchers can warn pilots about icing hazards up to 12 hours in advance.

'One of the best ways to manage the effects of bad weather is to avoid it altogether. With information provided by this automated tool, pilots flying aircraft under 18,000 feet can make critical flight decisions,' said FAA Administrator Marion C. Blakey.

In-flight icing is most hazardous to private pilots and air taxi and computer aircraft operators flying at lower altitudes. Those aircraft may not have sophisticated wing-deicing equipment used by larger commercial aircraft. The FAA tool provides a high-tech color weather map and/or a flight route display of icing potential at flight levels from 3,000 to 18,000 feet. The user can select forecast times from three-, six-, nine-, and twelve-hour intervals to plan safe routes of travel.

With funding from the FAA's Aviation Weather Research program, the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, CO, developed the new tool. It joins the growing FAA-developed suite of weather tools, such as the Current Icing Potential tool. All are publicly available on-line http://adds.aviationweather.gov/icing. The National Weather Service operates these products for the FAA.