This innovation is a suite of three methods built into a prototype flight deck navigation display interface that supports the display of predicted weather and weather avoidance decision-making. Currently, the interface uses weather objects derived from various convective weather information sources or simulated with in-house generation tools. All three methods support the viewing of predicted weather forecasts over a specified range of future times. They differ in the means by which a user sets the forecast interval and controls the joint viewing of the predicted weather and ownship position within this forecast interval.
Two of the methods support time-based forecast interval specification, in which the forecast interval is set by a time-based slider. In one (slider), the predicted weather forecast, and the ownship position (drawn as a blue bead), corresponding to the specified future time are shown on the display after the forecast interval is specified. In the other (pulse), the display is also animated to repeatedly show a synchronous extrapolation of predicted weather and ownship position across the span of this forecast interval. The third method (route) features a space-based forecast interval specification, in which the forecast interval is adjusted by directly manipulating the spatial position of the blue bead along the future planned route of the aircraft. While all three methods can show weather prediction along the active and proposed planned routes, the third space-based method effectively offers a direct approach to visualizing proposed weather avoidance routes in both time- and space-based manners.
The three weather viewing methods and the display interface rely on the use of GUI (graphical user interface) widgets such as buttons and sliders, as well as drag-and-drop direct manipulation methods. Supporting software packages include 3D visualization, weather object generation tools, route planning, and 4D trajectory synthesis algorithms.
The three weather viewing methods are currently built into the Cockpit Situation Display, a prototype advanced flight deck navigation display interface developed at the Ames Flight Deck Display Research Laboratory. This software needs at least a 15-Hz update rate of display and GUI interaction to provide a satisfactory user experience.