SWA/AirTran Facts and Figures In April 2012, the AirTran 737-700 fleet began transitioning to Southwest. 3500+ daily flights from 97 airports 606 Boeing 737 aircraft (300’s, 500’s, 700’s, 800’s) 88 Boeing 717 aircrafts (200’s) Southwest/AirTran consumed 1.9 billion gallons of jet fuel in 2012 Average flight length is 694 miles – Shortest: 148 miles (AUS-HOU) – Longest: 2,329 miles (BWI-LAX) 9/6/13
Reporting Aircraft Wind/Temperature - 70 Water Vapor – 87 – plus wind/temperature Turbulence – EDR – 85+ expected
Reporting Rates 6 sec intervals to 90 secs from OFF 20 sec intervals to 510 secs to TOC 3 min. intervals to TOD 60 sec intervals to ON
Why Participate Improves forecasts – external and internal. – Improves both terminal and en route forecasts. – Better forecasts result in more efficient operations. Strengthens partnership with NWS. – Integrated into forecast models. – Used by local forecast offices. – Supplement radiosondes. Integrate real-time turbulence information into operations to improve safety. – Plans include: Operational usage within Dispatch “Smart alarming” to the cockpit. Integration with other weather information made available to flight crews.
Where do you start? Obtain Executive level sponsorship. Identify key individuals within Maintenance, Engineering, Operations, and Legal to assist with program. Negotiate and execute legal agreements. Modify avionics software to database and report. Activate aircraft reporting. Establish ACMS software tracking. Communicate to Dispatchers and Pilots implementation details.
What additional effort is needed with Water Vapor reporting? Requires a part time project manager. Provide input into the STC process – installation and removal. Write installation and maintenance procedures. Create installation schedules for targeted aircraft. Develop and implement processes for routine maintenance.
Why “do” Water Vapor? Very little additional bandwidth required to downlink data. Carrier has not been responsible for obtaining the STC – just provide the consulting support. Installed during “heavy checks” so no significant impact to operations. Water vapor measurements are essential to the forecasting process. Greatly fills in “gaps” between 00Z and 12Z radiosondes.
Turbulence SWA has worked over a series of years with NCAR for equation development. Integrate into avionics software. (cost) Install on aircraft and track software revisions. Test, test, and re-test to gain acceptance from all sides. Integrate into displays to consolidate information. Implement data into operational decision making.
Lessons Learned Problem with water vapor hose installations. Inventory tracking – multiple installation sites. Amount of acceptable inventory. Software upgrades overwrite reporting capabilities. Competing company ACMS resource priorities. Older ACMS could not accommodate data load of EDR equations.
SWA Benefits Assists with internal forecasting efforts for fog, thunderstorm development, precipitation type forecasting. Provides a good source of information for turbulence and other weather related internal research activities. Offers a positive Public Relations effort demonstrating public- private partnerships and environmental focus. Costs involved with program are essentially covered. Beginning to explore the employment of this data for more precise fuel planning activities.