Pilots have a rare opportunity to speak directly to the government and tell it to support a valuable aviation resource.
The National Weather Service is currently in the midst of a 30-day trial period in which they are providing 24-hour-a-day technical support for the Aviation Digital Data Service (ADDS) Web site. NWS would like to make that commitment permanent but needs formal comments from pilots indicating that they find the system useful. AOPA strongly supports the ADDS program and urges members to submit their own comments.
"For the general aviation community, this continued commitment by the government to support the ADDS site is a real step forward," said AOPA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Melissa Bailey. "Pilots need to let the government hear that message loud and clear."
From its inception, the ADDS Web site has been considered experimental. It provided a place for the FAA's Aviation Weather Research Program to "beta test" tools for pilots.
The operational ADDS tools and the still-experimental tools such as the Flight Path Tool (a customizable weather graphics page that allows pilots to overlay various weather information, including scroll-over pilot reports, METARs, and TAFs) reside on different Web sites, but NWS provides a link from the operational site to the experimental tools.
In addition to comments on the operational tools, the NWS wants to collect pilot comments about the Flight Path tool.
"The FAA and National Weather Service have really tried to tailor ADDS to fit customer needs," said Bailey. "They're very interested in what pilots like and don't like about the Web site."
Any comments submitted will become part of the public record used to evaluate ADDS. The deadline for submitting comments is September 5, 2003.