Winter weather such as snow, freezing precipitation, and ice can impact airport surface operations. These conditions may result in significant disruptions in arrival and departure rates. To address these issues, NASA Ames Research Center has developed a software application called the Flight Awareness Collaboration Tool (FACT). This tool is designed to reduce the number of unnecessary flight cancellations by improving situation awareness of an impending winter weather event and its effects on airports. FACT provides the necessary data for decision-making, and supports collaboration between the organizations involved in managing flight and airport operations. It gathers the information necessary for winter weather management into one location and has predictive tools. Being Web-based, it can be available to multiple users.

The FACT user interface is a quad design with four areas. The Primary Map View shows the US with several traffic and weather overlays. The Surface Map View displays the selected airport with information on runway conditions and other factors. The Information View has specific data from various sources about the area of interest. This view also has a built-in algorithm that predicts the impact of the forecast winter weather on airport capacity. The Communication View supports messaging within the geographically dispersed team that is using FACT. When an airport is selected in the Primary Map View, the information presented in the Surface Map and Information Views is focused on that choice.

The FACT user interface design.

FACT is a Web-based application that receives Java messages from the Federal Aviation Administration System Wide Information Management (SWIM) data repository. Data acquired from Web pages and SWIM are tailored for FACT’s Information View area. FACT is designed to reside on an existing workstation monitor to be put into use as needed.

NASA is actively seeking licensees to commercialize this technology. Please contact the Ames Technology Partnerships Office at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to initiate licensing discussions. Follow this link here  for more information.


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This article first appeared in the May, 2018 issue of Tech Briefs Magazine.

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