EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Evolving the Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) Tool

Austin Cross, Stephanie Avey, and Dan Veitor
Austin Cross et al.
  • NWS Aviation Weather Center, Kansas City, United States of America (

The Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) tool is designed to be an intuitive web-based platform that presents weather conditions for short-distance and low-altitude flights to non-weather experts quickly and effectively.  Having timely and accurate weather information is crucial for the flight planning needs of the HEMS community.  

The Aviation Weather Center (AWC) has been working closely with FAA partners from the Aviation Weather Research Program (AWRP) and the Aviation Weather Demonstration and Evaluation (AWDE) Services group to enhance the ceiling and visibility capabilities within the tool, as well as the usability of the tool to meet user needs. An updated gridded ceiling and visibility analysis, as well as forecast ceiling and visibility, are two recent improvements based on user evaluation results that are set for operational implementation in early spring 2020. Evaluations have shown that users span well beyond helicopter pilots, and therefore the tool must evolve to accomodate all low level flight users, including unmanned aerial systems (UAS)/urban air mobility (UAM) users.

To meet this evolution, AWC will be incorporating the HEMS tool capabilities into the same framework as the one-stop-shop tool for general aviation users, the Graphical Forecasts for Aviation (GFA). The Low Altitude GFA (GFA-LA) will continue to meet the needs of the HEMS community, and will provide better consistency with other products across providing a common user experience for all aviation users. Research into automated quality control of surface observations is expected to allow addition of non-regulated station information to be added, and work on on-the-fly visualizations is expected to allow three dimensional data interrogation. Recent updates to the HEMS tool, as well as future plans to evolve HEMS into GFA-LA will be presented.

How to cite: Cross, A., Avey, S., and Veitor, D.: Evolving the Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) Tool, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-10962,, 2020

This abstract will not be presented.