Real time global weather patterns displayed on the flightdeck are on the cards after NASA approval of a development plan by a Honeywell-led team.

The work, which promises improved safety and fuel savings, is a part of the space agency's Aviation Safety Programme, which was created in 1997 with the US Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Defense.

The team's five-year mission is to create "-a commercially viable worldwide infrastructure for obtaining and disseminating critical weather information that will increase the overall safety of the aviation industry", says Honeywell. The resulting aviation weather information system will build on foundations established through the earlier cockpit weather information network programme.

"We'll get information from a variety of sources - satellite images, ground weather services, other aircraft - process it, distribute it and display it," says Honeywell programme leader Keith Hughes.

Team members include ARINC, which will provide weather data integration, communications and distribution, Weather Services International, which supplies US weather data, and the US National Center for Atmospheric Research, which will provide products to warn aircrew of turbulence, icing, cloud ceiling and visibility, convection and winds.

In addition,United Airlines will provide "end-use application, input and simulator support", and Swissair will play a similar role.

Source: Flight International