As do other recreational pilots, Ashish Kapoor learned during flight training that he shouldn't count on the accuracy of wind forecasts. The best available forecasts in the United States—from the federal government's Winds Aloft program—have been based largely on data from instrumented weather balloons released twice a day, providing forecasts for 176 stations across the United States.
"They would tell you, 'Winds Aloft is often not accurate, so you have to take that into account when you make your flight plan,'" says Kapoor, a Microsoft researcher who specializes in machine learning and decision-making. Pilots learn to plan for longer flight times and greater fuel consumption, he says, in case the actual wind conditions are not as expected.
In our data-driven, sensor-filled world, that lack of precision motivated an effort to devise a better solution. Read entire article here>