5 Best Practices Used by Aviation Meteorologists on the Day of Operation

> and | February 2, 2012 | 1 Comment
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This aviation blog post is part of a series on aviation weather and continues from our last post: 6 Best Practices Used by Aviation Meteorologists for Pre-Flight Planning.

Besides having an aviation meteorologist assist with the planning stage of a trip, there are many benefits from using his or her expert knowledge for the day of operations. For example, a comprehensive weather service can help you avoid significant weather and take advantage of upper-level winds (which can be critical in managing a trip). It can also provide tailored day-of-operation weather updates and real-time weather alerts just to name a few. Below are five best practices your aviation meteorologist uses in helping you on the day of operation.

1. Providing tailored weather information

With a meteorologist working with you on your trip, you can expect detailed and tailored aviation weather briefings for en-route, destination and alternate weather. Forecasts can be provided electronically and/or in hard copy. Overviews of significant weather help avoid hazardous conditions such as ice, turbulence, thunderstorms and tropical systems. Additionally, the weather will be factored into equal time point and extended-range twin-engine operation decision criteria. This can all be forwarded to both the crew and flight department via all means of communication, including directly to the flight deck.

2. Providing a full spectrum of weather data

On the day of your operation, your meteorologist will compile a range of customized weather graphics, both route-specific and regional. These can include significant high- and low-level weather charts showing winds, turbulence, icing, convective weather and the flight plan route plot, among other details. When an experienced 3rd-party provider provides your flight planning, you can also expect to receive a weather package that includes satellite coverage, together with route-on-weather overlays. High- and low-level significant charts, as well as all prognostic charts, should also be provided. Some of the larger meteorology departments will also provide daily aviation weather briefs via the Internet (worldwide forecast) for severe weather or weather that might impact your operations.

Weather information typically provided by aviation meteorologists

  • Tailored operational weather briefing
  • Detailed route forecast worldwide
  • Tailored destination forecasts; valid 2 hours prior to and after arrival time
  • Worldwide textual weather; government TAFs and Metars; departure, en-route, ETPs, and destination
  • SIGMETS
  • Convective SIGMETS
  • AIREPS/PIREPS
  • NOTAMS
  • En-route NOTAMS and GPS NOTAMS
  • Passenger weather
  • SIGWX chart(s) with route overlay (high-level and low-level)
  • Surface chart(s) with route overlay
  • Upper-level wind chart(s) with route overlay
  • Flight-plan chart with route overlay and waypoints
  • NAT Track message
  • NAT Track chart
  • Radar coverage (continental U.S.)
  • Turbulence chart(s) with route overlay
  • Icing chart(s) overlay
  • Volcano chart(s)
  • AIRMET chart (domestic only)
  • Convective SIGMET chart
  • SIGMET chart(s)
  • Precipitation charts
  • Worldwide satellite coverage
  • Tropical-warning messages
  • Tropical chart depicting current and forecast track


3. Keeping you informed with time-sensitive weather updates

Weather updates can be an integral part of an active flight. They provide the latest information the crew needs for their next leg. By using a weather service, crew members can receive updates customized to their specifications. Weather updates can also be sent to down-line locations on very short notice and via any means of communication.

4. Providing passenger weather briefs

Tailored passenger weather is another important benefit of using an aviation meteorologist. Your meteorologist should be able to provide standard passenger briefings for both domestic and international weather forecasts between two and five days in advance. This period can even be extended by up to 10 days. Moreover, the information provided can be for one or multiple destinations, per your request.

5. Sending real-time alerts

Crews in flight need to be kept abreast of weather hazards or other changing conditions that affect planned or active flight routes. Aviation meteorology departments will actively monitor weather conditions that may impact your flight and will push alerts to the crew when necessary in-flight via air-to-ground communications. These alerts are an important capability that your aviation meteorologist should offer and aren’t equally substituted by do-it-yourself, online weather services.

Conclusion

The advantages of full-service weather support can be particularly acute, especially while on international trips. Time-sensitive weather updates, passenger weather briefs and real-time alerts improve the safety of operations. Additionally, they help in the event that weather conditions necessitate a flight schedule revision. Remember: It’s always best to maintain close communication with your weather support provider on all international legs.

Questions?

If you have any questions about this article, contact me at stevearbogast@univ-wea.com.

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Category : Best Practice

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About

Curtis Ford has more than four decades of experience as a meteorologist, including nearly 30 years in the United States Navy where he retired as a Lieutenant Commander. Curtis served at Universal Weather and Aviation, Inc. for approximately 18 years and at the time of his leaving held the position of Manager of Weather and Flight Planning.

About

Steve Arbogast has nearly 30 years’ experience in aviation meteorology. After eight years of active duty service in the U.S. Navy, he joined Universal in 1989. He currently serves as senior aviation and flight planning supervisor at Universal headquarters in Houston. Steve has attended and spoken at many business aviation- and FAA-related seminars and workshops, including volcanic ash workshops. Steve has provided his aviation meteorology expertise to NBAA and leading business aviation industry publications such as Professional Pilot, Aviation International News, BART and Altitudes. Steve, is a certified Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) dispatcher. He can be reached at stevearbogast@univ-wea.com.

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