FAA Awards UAF researcher for aircraft icing research

Release Date: 
Thursday, October 10, 2002


The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has recognized its In-Flight Icing Product Development Team, including UAF Geophysical Institute Assistant Research Professor Jeff Tilley, as the winners of the 2002 Excellence in Aviation Award. As part of the Icing Product Team, Tilley provides experimental real-time modeling of aircraft icing potential for the benefit of pilots in Alaska.

Tilley combines observations from ground-based weather stations with satellite data and weather prediction model data to diagnose icing conditions and issue forecasts that extend up to 12 hours.  The information is then posted to a Web site for free public use, and is updated twice daily.

The Excellence in Aviation Award designation is a highly competitive, non-monetary award presented annually to individuals and/or institutions whose research benefits the aviation community.

“Inclement weather is responsible for 69 percent of flight delays and approximately 30 percent of fatal accidents,” said Charlie Keegan, FAA’s associate administrator for Research and Acquisitions.  “The laboratories supporting our weather research program are providing critical safety enhancements by developing tools to generate more accurate and accessible weather observations, warnings and forecasts.”

The National Weather Service provides icing forecasts for Alaska’s aviators. However, Tilley’s models provide icing information in greater detail.

Though Tilley’s icing forecasts are currently considered experimental products, potential application of the information is widespread.  The products could provide guidance on everything from in-flight hazard areas to potential requirements for de-icing operations on the ground.

The experimental icing potential products and other weather prediction model products can be viewed on-line by selecting “MM5 Weather Forecast” from the Geophysical Institute Web site: www.gi.alaska.edu/welcomenews.html.

Jeff Tilley, UAF Geophysical Institute Assistant Research Professor: (907) 474-5852
Vicki Daniels, UAF Geophysical Institute Public Relations Specialist: (907) 474-5823 or via email at vicki@gi.alaska.edu