Being a pilot often involves flying in all different types of weather conditions and climates, and sometimes this weather can be unpredictable.
Determining what the weather is going to be like in a specific area is an important job, as the weather can often cause unnecessary complications during a flight. The weather can determine many different things on a flight.
Understanding and working to predict the weather is really important as it can affect the decisions that a pilot has to make. The weather can easily make the difference between a safe and smooth flight to a dangerous one if it is not paid attention to.
You might be left wondering how pilots are able to get their weather information and even why it is important, and we are going to answer all of your questions about this here in this article. This will help you to understand one of the things that a pilot has to deal with on a daily basis.
What is the Aviation Weather Center?
The Aviation Weather Center works to provide weather data that has been provided by the NOAA, and put it into a variety of formats that will cover all of the US at all altitudes. This is a service that is often used by pilots, no matter the plane that they are flying.
One of the best things about the aviation weather center is that it will allow pilots to check the local weather around an airport, which can come in handy for takeoff and landing weather information. The pilot will also be able to view the weather over the entirety of the United States to check the route of the flight.
This information can be provided with the use of both text-based and graphical images, and these will show all of the relevant information. Pilots that are in training will be taught how to read, decode, and interpret all of this weather information.
Where Do Pilots Get Weather Information?
Pilots can gain access to weather information through the use of websites, radio & telephone briefing services, radio broadcasts, pilot reports, satellite and weather radar imagery, and their own eyesight.
Being aware of the weather forecast condition and current conditions will allow pilots and air traffic controllers to make the best decisions to ensure the safety of the flight.
Things like cloud heights, forward visibility, thunderstorms, and severe weather phenomenon will all have an influence over how flights will operate on a daily basis, and before a flight takes off, the pilot will need to be aware of the weather, so they can make the best decisions or even alterations regarding the flight.
If the internet were to become unavailable, a pilot will have access to several telephone services that are run and maintained by the FAA. Two of the main telephone services are the Telephone Information Briefing Service (TIBS) and the In-person Briefing Service.
Why Do Pilots Need to Know the Weather?
Pilots need to know about the weather conditions like wind speed and direction before they take off.
There are some weather conditions that can make flying really difficult or even dangerous, and the pilot needs to be aware of any situation that may arise.
Something that can often cause an issue is the wind, which in aviation, is measured in knots. On a weather depiction chart, the closer the isobars are together, the greater the pressure change will be for a certain distance.
This means that the wind will be much stronger, so looking at these charts will be able to tell you which direction the wind is coming from and how strong it is going to be.
A pilot will need to be aware of any issues that the wind could cause, as it could impact the safety of the flight if unmonitored.
Conditions like fog, snow, ice and crosswinds mean that air traffic controllers will need to make the gaps between planes that are landing longer. This will work to reduce the number of planes that an airport can manage.
These weather conditions can make it more difficult and slower for the planes to taxi, and many commercial flights can be affected by this weather that is causing issues on the ground.
Interestingly, an aircraft that has been in freezing weather overnight will need to be de-iced before its next flight. This will help to ensure that the plane remains safe for use and that it has not been compromised.
There are lots of different weather conditions for a pilot to consider when they are flying a plane, but being aware of any potential hazards and threats ensures that the pilot can make the right decisions to keep everything running smoothly.
Pilots may have to divert from their flight path if the weather has become too dangerous to fly in.