Many thousands of general aviation pilots are benefitting from the free in-cockpit weather information broadcast over the FIS-B link accessible by 978-MHz universal access transceivers – what most of us call ADS-B In. Now, a host of new weather products are coming to the service to provide pilots with even more information they can use to make better en route decisions.
In June, the FAA will begin broadcasting lightning strikes, turbulence, icing forecasts, cloud tops, airmets and Center weather advisories over the FIS-B link.
The new weather information will complement the original 13 “baseline” weather products in the FIS-B feed that include Nexrad radar imagery, winds aloft and terminal forecasts, according to John Croft, FAA NextGen Outreach Editor.
Croft explained that turbulence reports will be updated every 15 minutes, while cloud top data will be disseminated in 1,500-foot intervals from 1,500 feet MSL to 15,000 feet and and in 3,000-foot intervals to 24,000 feet. Lightning strike data will be update every five minutes and broadcast over the FIS-B link every five minutes. As always, the FAA warns that Nexrad mosaic information transmitted to ADS-B flight displays or tablets could be up to 15 to 20 minutes old.
Icing data includes real-time predictability for where atmospheric conditions may be conducive to icing, and includes a forecast for potentially affected areas over the next 12 hours. The icing feed is updated every 15 minutes.
While the ADS-B feed is being updated in June, pilots will only gain access to the new weather products after their avionics software or tablet apps have been updated to receive the feed information.