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VOLUME 3  GENERAL TECHNICAL ADMINISTRATION

CHAPTER 26  AVIATION WEATHER REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS

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Section 3  Safety Assurance System: Adverse Weather Phenomena Reporting and Forecast Systems

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3-2091    BACKGROUND. Adverse weather phenomena are meteorological conditions that, if encountered during flight or ground operations, could reduce and even threaten the safety of those operations. All certificate holders conducting Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 121 operations are required to have a system of obtaining reports and forecasts of adverse weather phenomena. These systems are optional for certificate holders and program managers conducting 14 CFR parts 91 subpart K (part 91K), 125, and 135 operations. However, these certificate holders and program managers do have some requirements to either obtain reports and forecasts of adverse weather phenomena or at least recognize such phenomena (see Volume 3, Chapter 26, Section 1). Therefore, the information contained in this section may also be relevant.

A.    Part 121 Domestic and Flag Operations. Certificate holders who are authorized to conduct part domestic and/or flag operations must have a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-approved system of obtaining reports and forecasts of adverse weather phenomena. This is required by part 121, § 121.101(d).

B.    Part 121 Supplemental Operations. Certificate holders who do not have domestic or flag authority, but do have the authority to conduct part 121 supplemental operations, are required to have a system of obtaining reports and forecasts of all adverse weather phenomena. Certificate holders conducting these supplemental operations are not required to obtain FAA approval of their adverse weather phenomena reporting and forecast system. These systems are necessary for the safety of flight, and to ensure compliance with certain part 121 regulations, which are outlined in Volume 3, Chapter 26, Section 1, subparagraph 3-2050C, Regulatory Requirements Part 121—Supplemental Operations. It is important to note that although these certificate holders’ adverse weather phenomena reporting and forecast systems do not require FAA approval, the portion of the system that is used to determine that conditions are such that frost, ice, or snow may reasonably be expected to adhere to the aircraft is subject to FAA approval as part of the certificate holder’s ground deicing/anti-icing program required by § 121.629. (Information regarding ground deicing/anti-icing programs is located in Volume 3, Chapter 27.)

3-2092    SCOPE. The information contained in this section is primarily directed toward principal operations inspectors (POI) with oversight responsibility of certificate holders conducting part 121 operations. POIs of certificate holders and program mangers conducting parts 91K, 125, and 135 operations should review this information and encourage the certificate holders and program managers for which they are responsible to adopt the policies contained herein.

3-2093    ADDITIONAL GUIDANCE. Volume 3, Chapter 26, Section 1 contains an overview of regulatory requirements for adverse weather phenomena reporting and forecast systems and forecasts and reports of adverse weather phenomena. Volume 3, Chapter 26, Section 2 contains information regarding approved sources of forecasts and reports of adverse weather phenomena. POIs must review this information before approving an adverse weather phenomena reporting and forecast system and any source of forecasts and reports of adverse weather phenomena.

3-2094    GENERAL. An adverse weather phenomenon reporting and forecast system must contain methods through which a certificate holder obtains, maintains, and disseminates information regarding adverse weather phenomena. In accordance with § 121.135(b)(15), all certificate holders conducting part 121 operations must document and describe their procedures for operating during any potentially hazardous meteorological conditions. Therefore, a certificate holder must describe its adverse weather phenomena reporting system, as the means of obtaining information regarding hazardous meteorological conductions, in its manual.

3-2095    ADVERSE WEATHER PHENOMENA. Adverse weather phenomena are meteorological conditions that, if encountered during ground or flight operations, could directly diminish and even threaten the safety of those operations. At a minimum, the FAA considers the following meteorological conditions to be adverse weather phenomena:

·    Moderate to severe clear air turbulence;

·    Strong surface winds (exceeding 30 knots);

·    Low-level wind shear;

·    Thunderstorms;

·    Moderate or severe in-flight icing;

·    Icing which affects ground operations (including snow, freezing rain, drizzle, ice, fog, or sleet);

·    Meteorological conditions that contaminate a runway or takeoff surface and adversely affect aircraft performance;

·    Sandstorms and duststorms;

·    Cyclones, hurricanes, typhoons, and tropical storms; and

·    Natural hazards such as volcanic ash.

3-2096    CAPABILITIES OF AN ADVERSE WEATHER PHENOMENA REPORTING AND FORECAST SYSTEM. An adverse weather phenomena reporting and forecast system must include the following:

A.    Access. Each adverse weather phenomena reporting and forecast system must provide direct and timely access to sources of weather information capable of identifying, reporting, and forecasting adverse weather phenomena that could directly diminish and/or threaten the safety of flight or ground operations.

B.    Collection and Evaluation. Each adverse weather phenomena reporting and forecast system must have methods, polices, and procedures for the collection and evaluation of adverse weather phenomena and its effects on flight and ground operations.

C.    Dissemination. Each adverse weather phenomena reporting and forecast system must have a means of quickly disseminating information regarding adverse weather phenomena to flightcrews, dispatchers, and other persons authorized to exercise operational control.

D.    Continuous Updating. Each adverse weather phenomena reporting and forecast system must have methods of providing flightcrews, dispatchers, and persons authorized to exercise operational control with continuous updates regarding adverse weather phenomena as it develops and changes.

E.    Continuous Monitoring. In order to ensure continuous updating, each adverse weather phenomena reporting and forecast system must have a means whereby weather phenomena are continuously monitored by a certificated Aircraft Dispatcher (or other person authorized to exercise operational control for supplemental operations).

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F.    Pilot Weather Reports (PIREP) and Aircraft Weather Reports (AIREP). Each adverse weather reporting and forecast system must have a means of disseminating PIREPs and AIREPs when reported by aircraft of similar speed and performance.

G.    Location of Phenomena. Each adverse weather phenomena reporting and forecast system must have a means to provide and/or describe the location of adverse weather phenomena with reference to navigational fixes or aircraft relative position.

H.    Operating Procedures. Each adverse weather phenomena reporting and forecast system must have procedures for operating in areas affected by adverse weather phenomena in order to comply with § 121.135(b)(15).

I.    Communication. Each adverse weather phenomena reporting and forecast system should contain methods for flightcrews and dispatchers (or other persons authorized to exercise operational control) to communicate with each other regarding areas of adverse weather phenomena.

J.    Restrict or Suspend Operations. Each adverse weather phenomena reporting and forecast system must contain policies and procedures for certificate holders, pilots, dispatchers, or other persons authorized to exercise operational control to restrict or suspend flight and/or ground operations when adverse weather phenomena presents a threat to the safety of those operations.

K.    Quality Control (QC) and Quality Assurance (QA). Each adverse weather phenomena reporting and forecast system should contain methods to ensure that each certificate holder maintains the quality and accuracy of the information provided.

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3-2097    APPROVAL—PART 121 DOMESTIC AND FLAG OPERATIONS. Certificate holders conducting part 121 domestic and flag operations are required to have an FAA-approved adverse weather phenomena reporting and forecast system in order to comply with § 121.101(d). POIs will grant approval of an adverse weather phenomena reporting and forecast system in the appropriate table (Table 1) located in a certificate holder’s operations specification (OpSpec) A010. For more information on OpSpec A010, see Volume 3, Chapter 18, Section 3. POIs must ensure that certificate holders requesting approval of an adverse weather phenomena reporting and forecast system do so in writing in accordance with the general process for approval or acceptance contained in Volume 3, Chapter 1, Section 1. Each request must describe the proposed system in sufficient detail for the POI to conduct a thorough evaluation of the proposal and decide if it warrants approval. Each request must be accompanied by all proposed manual materials.

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A.    Adverse Weather Phenomena Reporting and Forecast System Combined with an Enhanced Weather Information System (EWINS). Certificate holders have the option to fulfill the requirements of
§ 121.101(d) by obtaining and maintaining an FAA-approved EWINS. In this case, the requirement for the adverse weather phenomena reporting and forecast system would be satisfied by the EWINS. Certificate holders may find this option desirable because it gives them more flexibility in terms of the weather sources they can use as part of the system. In order for a POI to approve an EWINS as an adverse weather phenomena reporting and forecast system, the system must meet the requirements contained in this section in addition to those contained in Volume 3, Chapter 26, Section 4. POIs must review both of these sections prior to approving any EWINS for use as an adverse weather phenomena reporting and forecast system. POIs of certificate holders whose adverse weather phenomena reporting and forecast system is combined with its EWINS will approve the combined systems via OpSpec A010, Tables 1 and 2. Table 1 applies to an adverse weather phenomena reporting and forecast system. Table 2 applies to an EWINS. POIs will enter “See Table 2” in the first column of Table 1, and then continue by populating Table 2 with the appropriate information. For information on how to correctly populate A010, see Volume 3, Chapter 18, Section 3, OpSpec A010.

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B.    Adverse Weather Phenomena Reporting and Forecast System Without an EWINS. POIs of certificate holders that do not desire an EWINS but are required to have an approved adverse weather phenomena reporting and forecast system may approve weather sources for that system in accordance with the guidance contained in Volume 3, Chapter 26, Section 2. POIs and certificate holders should be aware that without an EWINS, the weather sources used in an adverse weather phenomena reporting and forecast system are limited to those that are automatically approvable by a POI, or those that must be approved by the Air Transportation Division (AFS-200). When approving an adverse weather phenomena reporting and forecast system that is not combined with an EWINS, POIs must evaluate the material submitted by the certificate holder along with their request for approval and ensure it complies with the requirements of this section. POIs will approve the system by listing the appropriate information in Table 1 of OpSpec A010. For information on how to correctly populate A010, refer to Volume 3, Chapter 18, Section 3, OpSpec A010.

C.    Manual Requirements. Certificate holders who are required to have an FAA-approved adverse weather phenomena reporting and forecast system that do not have an EWINS must describe the details of the adverse weather phenomena reporting and forecast system in their manual system as a condition for approval.

1)    Any component that comprises the adverse weather phenomena reporting and forecast system is subject to FAA approval; therefore, the details as described in a certificate holder’s manual are subject to FAA approval.
2)    If a certificate holder elects to include its adverse weather phenomena reporting and forecast system in a manual that is typically accepted, rather than approved, by the FAA (e.g., a dispatch or operations manual), the portion of the manual that contains the adverse weather phenomena reporting and forecast system is still subject to FAA approval.
3)    POIs of certificate holders who elect to describe the details of their adverse weather phenomena reporting and forecast system in a section of an FAA-accepted manual must verify that the certificate holder has a means of distinguishing the section of the manual containing the description of the adverse weather phenomena reporting and forecast system as being FAA-approved rather than FAA-accepted.
4)    Any revisions to a certificate holder’s FAA-approved adverse weather phenomena reporting and forecast system are subject to approval by the POI. Once approved, the POI will update the adverse weather phenomena reporting and forecast system table located in OpSpec A010 to reflect the current revision information.
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D.    An Aviation Safety Inspector-Aircraft Dispatcher (ASI-AD) Must Review the Adverse Weather Phenomena Reporting and Forecast System Prior to Approval. Prior to initial approval or the approval of a revision to an FAA-approved adverse weather phenomena reporting and forecast system, an ASI-AD must evaluate the certificate holder’s system and the applicable policies, procedures, and processes. When the ASI-AD determines the adequacy of the certificate holder’s system, the POI may approve it. If there is no ASI-AD resource available in the certificate-holding district office (CHDO), the POI should contact the regional Flight Standards division (RFSD) for assistance in locating an ASI-AD within the region. If the RFSD is unable to locate an ASI-AD resource, then the RFSD should request assistance from AFS-200 in locating an ASI-AD, or to provide the necessary subject matter expertise.

RESERVED. Paragraphs 3-2098 through 3-2115.