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02-029
For Release: April 19, 2002

Katherine K. Martin
Media Relations Office
216/433-2406
katherine.martin@grc.nasa.gov

Lori J. Rachul
Media Relations Office
216/433-8806
lori.j.rachul@grc.nasa.gov


New Weather Information System to Take Flight

A new system, called the Pilot Weather Advisor (PWA), is now ready to hit the market later this year as an accurate real-time, in-flight weather information service. ViGYAN, Inc., Hampton, Va. developed the system under the NASA Small Business Research (SBIR) Program and has recently sold PWA to WSI Corporation, Billerica, Mass.

The Pilot Weather Advisor system provides a continuous satellite-based broadcast of weather information to aircraft cockpits. Both radar and airport condition information is graphically displayed on portable or panel mounted displays. An SBIR Phase III contract through the Weather Accident Prevention Project at NASA's Glenn Research Center added to ViGYAN's in-house and other private investment to successfully complete the system in February. NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. initially supported development of the Pilot Weather Advisor system through Phases I and II of the SBIR Program.

"It's gratifying to see NASA-sponsored aviation technologies, like graphical weather displays and satellite datalink communications, come together over the last few years and finally make their way into the marketplace," said Gus Martzaklis, project manager of NASA's Weather Accident Prevention project at Glenn, which is part of NASA's Aviation Safety Program. "Weather contributes to about 30 percent of all aviation accidents. Our research has shown when pilots have real-time, moving weather maps available in the cockpit they're able to make better, safer decisions faster."

Richard White, Vice President of ViGYAN, said, "Without assistance from NASA, we would not have been able to develop the Pilot Weather Advisor as quickly as we did. We certainly would not have had the success in selling this product to WSI without NASA's Weather Information Communications program."

In addition to improving aviation safety, this technology will also eventually benefit travelers using marine and ground transportation, since the PWA is expected to be introduced in these markets, in addition to the aviation market.

More information about NASA's Weather Information Communications Program can be found at: http://wincomm.grc.nasa.gov/

More information about NASA's Aviation Weather Information Program can be found at: http://awin.larc.nasa.gov/

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