International Aviation


Since 1998, RAL and MMM have collaborated in the development of an Advanced Operational Aviation Weather System (AOAWS) for the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) of Taiwan. The AOAWS provides the CAA, the airlines, and the flying public with state-of-the-art aviation weather technology to detect and forecast hazardous weather phenomena that affect aviation operations, airspace efficiency, and capacity and safety at Taiwan's major hub airports. Since 2010, NCAR has partnered with a Taiwanese technology company, International Integrated Systems, Inc., to support the system.

Figure 1 Composite image showing several AOAWS end-user display components
Figure 1. Composite image showing several AOAWS end-user display components

Major components of the AOAWS include: Low-Level Wind Shear Alert Systems (LLWAS Phase III) at Songshun and Taoyuan International Airport; the WRF model which provides regularly-updated forecasts on two domains with grid spacing of 20km, and 4km; the Java-based Multi-dimensional Display System (JMDS), which integrates all available real-time observational data and displays the information automatically to aviation forecasters and flight planning specialists; a web-based display system (WMDS) that displays most of the data available on the MDS on a CAA website for users (e.g., pilots and dispatchers) to view the AOAWS weather products remotely; and an AOAWS System Monitor Display (SMD) that provides system and networking activity information and alerts to the operators if any one of the sub-systems is not running smoothly. Since 2010, the WRF modeling enhancements have been developed by NCAR/MMM under a separate research agreement with the Taiwan Central Weather Bureau (CWB). 


Figure 2 Image showing JMDS displaying a surface winds AIRMET. Inset on figure shows the tooltip containing the AIRMET text.
Figure 2. Image showing JMDS displaying a surface winds AIRMET. Inset on figure shows the tooltip containing the AIRMET text.

The AOAWS project has suspended active development of the system to give the system users time to gain experience with the existing products and assess their future needs. Accordingly NCAR/RAL has focused on support of AOAWS continued operations and maintenance. RAL’s role in this process has been to deliver third-tier support addressing issues and making changes that are best addressed by the original system developers. In 2017, RAL made modifications to AOAWS to accommodate changes to the SIGMET and AIRMET data formats mandated by changes to the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) Annex 3 standard in Amendment 77.

In addition to the AOAWS program, NCAR /RAL contributed to a number of small but safety- critical aviation weather projects. These projects primarily focused on windshear detection and were located in Africa and southeast Asia.


In FY2018, NCAR/RAL will continue to provide third-tier support for the AOAWS system. Next year that will include collaborating with the Taiwan CAA and IISI to upgrade the AOAWS hardware and operating systems, as well as to establish new data server capabilities in southern Taiwan to provide geographically redundant site in case of a critical facility failure at the primary site.  Also in FY2018, RAL will collaborate with the CAA of Taiwan to develop plans for a new aviation weather technology advancement program in Taiwan. The new program will be a combination of scientific and technical updates to existing capabilities as well as new capabilities that reflect the state of the art in atmospheric science and engineering.

In FY2018, NCAR/RAL will also continue to develop program opportunities with new and existing international sponsors to deliver capabilities ranging from small wind shear detection systems to larger scale location specific aviation weather systems.