Has Been Delivered!† Decision Support for
FedEx Cargo Operations at Memphis
Stephen Kearney, National Weather Service - Memphis Center Weather Service Unit, Memphis, TN
Each weeknight, over 150 cargo aircraft arrive from all over the world at the FedEx Global Superhub in Memphis, Tennessee.† Upon arrival, over 1.3 million packages are unloaded, sorted, and then re-loaded before being sent to their destinations.† All of this must be completed in less than four hours to ensure prompt delivery the following day.
The Memphis CWSU, located at FAA Memphis Air Route Traffic Control Center, provides decision support services to the FAA and aviation interests across the region.† Unlike most FAA Centers, Memphis air traffic is active during the overnight period due to the cargo push.† This presents unique challenges for the Memphis CWSU, because the unit only operates from 5:30am-9:30pm.† Each weeknight, the evening forecaster issues a planning forecast for the Memphis Approach and Terminal.† The forecast indicates ceilings, visibility, weather, surface winds and winds at 1000 to 2000 feet.† If thunderstorms are expected to impact the arrival gates, this is also shown.† For consistency, forecasts are coordinated with the Aviation Desk at WFO Memphis and with FedEx Meteorology.† In the event of high-impact weather expected during the first half of the operations, the CWSU remains open in order to provide additional support to the FAA.
One of the unique challenges to the overnight forecast is due to the Memphis Airport runway configuration.† Wind speeds on the airfield are important because it could make the difference between a north or south operation, which can increase fuel costs and delay the overnight sort.
This presentation will describe the role of Memphis CWSU in providing valuable weather information to FAA customers who plan and direct the overnight cargo operations each weeknight.† FAA customers then make decisions that affect air traffic safety, as well as the nationís economy.