The FAA is advising operators that the National Weather Service (NWS) will cease production of textual area forecasts (FA) in the Continental U.S. beginning October 10 as part of the transition to the graphical forecast for aviation (GFA). In an Information for Operators (InFO) released August 28, the agency noted that it had petitioned the NWS in 2015 to cease production of FAs, contingent upon the availability of equivalent level of meteorological information.
“The intent of the FAA in retiring the FA and transitioning to the digital GFA is to allow Aviation Weather Center forecasters to focus their efforts on maximizing operational benefit to aviation users, resulting in improved weather information to decision-makers,” the agency said.
GFAs will ensure availability of equivalent information, along with graphical displays of the predominant weather, sky cover and wind speed and direction. A series of web-based displays, GFAs cover the Continental U.S. from the surface to 42,000 feet msl. Wind, icing and turbulence forecasts are available in 3,000-foot increments from the surface to 18,000 feet msl and in 6,000-foot increments up to 42,000 feet msl. Turbulence forecasts are also available (“low” below 18,000 feet msl and “high” above 18,000 feet msl).
The FA will be discontinued only in the Continental U.S.; it will remain available in Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico, Hawaii and the Caribbean.