Volume 27 | Thursday, April 8th, 2021
2021 Convective Season
Welcome back to Jump Seat. With spring here and summer on the way in the northern hemisphere, we want to highlight the challenges of navigating the convective season and the air traffic delays that come with it. Business aviation is no stranger to the struggle of delays brought on by increased volume and the challenges of changing weather conditions. If there is one weather event that is synonymous with encumbered traffic this season, it’s thunderstorms.
There are several products to reference when planning to avoid thunderstorms. In the United States, the Aviation Weather Center (AWC) produces Traffic Flow Management (TFM) Convective Forecasts (TCF). These are high-confidence graphical representations of forecasted thunderstorms that meet specific criteria including coverage, intensity, and echo top height. TCFs are issued every 2 hours and valid at 4, 6, and 8 hours after issuance time.

Additionally, The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) issues convective outlooks five times per day that include the probability of severe thunderstorms. The categorical risks can range from general thunderstorms with no severe weather expected to a high risk where widespread severe thunderstorms are expected.
Finally, ARINCDirect provides worldwide, high-resolution thunderstorm forecasts as an overlay within the mapping tool. Storm intensity and echo top heights can be particularly useful when planning the altitude of your flight. The thunderstorm product is updated every 6 hours with hourly forecast increments out to 31 hours in the future.
With the increase of thunderstorms throughout the National Airspace System (NAS) comes the return of increased traffic management initiatives. These include Required Re-Routes, Airspace Flow Programs, Ground Stops, and Ground Delay Programs that may trigger “EDCTs” or Expected Departure Clearance Times. While most operators in business aviation are familiar with the common delays at an airport like KTEB on a Thursday afternoon in the middle of summer, not all are familiar with some of the options around it. Here are some tips to help your operations navigate the constraints:

  • Review the next day's FAA PERTI (Plan, Execute, Review, Train, and Improve) Plan. The PERTI Plan gives accurate and trending information directly from the FAA Air Traffic Control System Command Center on how they plan to manage the airspace each day and where the potential weather and traffic management initiatives could be. The PERTI Plan can be found on the “Create FPL” page in the “Trip Details” section under “FAA/ATC NEXT DAY PLAN”. If you would like to receive the PERTI plan directly, please supply a business or operational email within this survey and we will add you to the distribution list.
  • Plan ahead as much as possible and put your flight plan in the system as soon as you can. At 23 hours and 59 minutes prior to your ETD, ARINCDirect sends any pending flight plan “intent to file message” to the FAA. Once that happens, the flight is considered as a “known demand” on the traffic system. This will help to mitigate delays for you and the industry as a whole. 
  • Understand what is causing your delay. ATC utilizes different traffic management initiatives (TMIs) to control traffic. The live status of all national air traffic control programs can be found on the FAA’s Operational Information System (OIS). Different traffic management programs result in different options that can be utilized to mitigate delays.  
  • If your schedule allows for flexibility, use this to your advantage. Can you choose a different destination airport? Can you be a pathfinder or accept non-standard routing? These are just a few things that could help you avoid significant delays. Make sure you coordinate these options with your passengers and operations if the day is shaping up to be challenging in the NAS. It may mean the difference between getting them to the meeting and home on time or waiting out lengthy delays.
  • ARINCDirect can help! Our Flight Coordinators are kept abreast of the status of the NAS and ATC in real-time and have the latest information available to support you. We can coordinate the mitigation of EDCTs or suggest alternative routing. Contact us anytime at +1 410 266 2266 or flightops@arinc.com.
Did you know?
  • The 2021 Masters Golf Tournament takes place this weekend in Augusta, Georgia. Click here to review the FAA ATC procedures or here to see the latest from the NBAA.
Useful Links:
Thank you for reading!
We want to invite you to take another tour of our upcoming webinar training events to expand your knowledge of new and existing features. Register for these sessions listed on the ARINCDirect Help and Training page.