NTSB Report on Datalink Radar

posted Jun 23, 2012, 7:52 AM by Winston Cutshall   [ updated Jun 23, 2012, 7:54 AM ]
The NTSB just issued an alert about the pitfalls of datalink radar when used as the primary means of avoiding storms.  The key problem with using this type of information is that the picture is not live, and can be delayed several minutes.  Because of this, the cockpit system will show how old the radar image is that is being displayed.  However, the NTSB is emphasizing that there is an additional delay in the data that is not taken into account by the cockpit system - the age of the individual radar pictures used to make the nationwide mosaic.  So, there is a compounded delay, which could mean that even a new image that is freshly downloaded could in actuality be over twenty minutes old.  So, when we are flying, we need to be accutly aware that a fast moving cell that we can see on the MFD may actually be much further along than where the datalink systems claims it is.  Lets be safe out there!