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Years of effort by researchers at U.S. universities and federally funded laboratories such as the National Center for Atmospheric Research have led to systems in use today that reduce vulnerability to flight hazards such as thunderstorms, turbulence, icing, and wind shear.

The Federal Aviation Administration, pilots, and industry leaders are also focused on flight safety. Thanks to these efforts, significant advances now enable safe flights under conditions that once caused delays or cancellations. The value can be measured in lives saved and injuries prevented, as well as time, fuel, and other costs saved. These benefits flow beyond passengers and airlines to the nation’s economy as a whole.

Briefing topics included U.S. successes in minimizing the risks and costs of aviation weather hazards, how the U.S. university community is advancing safety through weather-focused science, current aviation weather capabilities from unmanned drones to airliners, and a broader discussion of the role of unmanned aircraft systems.

— February 2016