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NTSB recommends FAA, National Weather Service to improve weather forecast to pilots
7 May 2014

Meteorological conditions in the Continental flight 1404 accident in 2008 might have been favorable for MWA

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued nine recommendations addressing the need to provide more comprehensive preflight weather information to pilots. The recommendations were issued to both the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the U.S. National Weather Service (NWS), who are jointly responsible for providing such information to pilots. 

The recommendations are based on NTSB accident investigations involving aircraft encountering weather conditions, such as adverse surface wind, dense fog, icing, turbulence, and low-level wind shear. Currently, although information on these conditions may exist, it is not always provided to pilots through NWS products during preflight weather forecasts.

Additionally, although the NWS routinely advises pilots of turbulence and weather patterns associated with mountain wave activity (MWA), which can cause unique and adverse flying conditions, there are currently no requirements for the NWS to issue advisories specific to MWA. The NTSB believes notification of the potential for and the existence of MWA allows pilots to prepare for these atmospheric disturbances.

The NTSB also identified the need for improved situation awareness and communication between the center weather service units (CWSUs) and the Aviation Weather Centers. Appreciating the challenges involved in issuing critical weather advisories in a timely manner, the NTSB recognizes the importance of proper coordination and communication between the various NWS components. Therefore, the NTSB is also recommending a protocol be established to enhance communication among meteorologists to ensure mutual situation awareness of critical aviation weather data among meteorologists.

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