NWS Stationery Header

November 24, 1998

Dear Aviation Constituent:

As our partner in aviation safety, please join us in celebrating the 80th anniversary of the first aviation weather forecast on December 1, 1998. Less than 15 years after the Wright brothers historic flights of December 1903, the National Weather Service, then the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Weather Bureau, issued the first official aviation forecast--to help deliver the mail. Now 80 years later, we issue thousands of aviation forecasts, advisories, and warnings to make flying safe and efficient.

On December 1, 1918, Weather Bureau forecasters combined ground observations with data collected by instrumented kites and tethered balloons to provide a forecast for the "Aerial Mail Service" route from New York to Chicago. Since 1918, we have made quantum leaps in aviation weather forecasting. Today our Aviation Weather Center, in Kansas City, Missouri; Weather Forecast Offices, and Center Weather Service Units rely on a vast array of computer technology, weather satellites, and data collected by en route airliners to provide forecasts of developing weather phenomena.

Our goal is to continue this progression into and through the next millennium. With the improved services, and with our partners in commercial and general aviation, we are able to save on fuel costs and select routes that avoid hazardous weather.

We have posted a map of the daily weather forecasts for December 1, 1918, on the Internet at:


I look forward to our continued partnership.

John J. Kelly, Jr.
Assistant Administrator
for Weather Services

NWS Home Page | NWS Headquarters | NWS Industrial Meteorology