What Does Your IF Weather Preparation Consist Of?

RNAV, GNSS, GPSS. Your place to discuss all aspects pertaining to Instrument Flying.

Moderator: Moderators

User avatar
Hop Harrigan
1k poster
1k poster
Posts: 1012
Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2010 7:55 pm
Has liked: 3 times
Been liked: 19 times

What Does Your IF Weather Preparation Consist Of?

Unread post by Hop Harrigan » Sat Jun 04, 2016 4:03 pm

What are the types of weather info required for a safe cross country IF flight? Including go-nogo decision and en-route safety/avoidance for each phase of the flight and what are the best RSA sources for this info? eg Terminal forecasts, Synoptic Charts, Icing data, winds aloft etc. I have a bit of a ritual of using the various types of weather data available on WeatherSA but I'm not sure I'm looking at the correct data or best sources. Also, what weather data do you obtain in-flight (from ATC or via cellphone)? I am keen to hear from the Pros. what your weather preparation consists of.
Hop
There is no gravity...the Earth sucks
User avatar
Hop Harrigan
1k poster
1k poster
Posts: 1012
Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2010 7:55 pm
Has liked: 3 times
Been liked: 19 times

Re: What Does Your IF Weather Preparation Consist Of?

Unread post by Hop Harrigan » Fri Jun 10, 2016 5:16 pm

Okay, so no takers, so let me try...
For long-range planning, I use Winduru. Is pretty reliable out to about 5 days
24-30 hrs I use the WeatherSA Metars
0-12 hrs I access the following on WeatherSA:
Taf at departure, destination and alternate for cloud cover and ceilings
Synoptic chart for en-route cloud, t/storms and particularly for icing. Also upper winds to select optimum altitude (not much choice really...FL080 or FL100 unpressurised)
WeatherSA radar pictures, particularly in the summer...those that do work!!
(George!!)
In-flight, I try to get latest TAF if cellular coverage allows. Also request update at destination when 1 he out from very helpful ATC.

...and still I get surprised by the incorrectness of the forecasts and the actuals! Anyone got better ideas?
There is no gravity...the Earth sucks
User avatar
Iceberg
Too Tousand
Too Tousand
Posts: 2616
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2011 1:09 pm
Closest Airfield: FAWB
Location: Pretoria
Has liked: 30 times
Been liked: 50 times

Re: What Does Your IF Weather Preparation Consist Of?

Unread post by Iceberg » Mon Jun 20, 2016 12:22 pm

You do a lot of preparation which is very good.
For the longer term stuff, any service is OK, because in the end they will all be wrong IMHO.

The only useful weather info for an IF flight are the forecasts you get a few hours before you go. I use TAFS, METARS, SIGW charts and wind charts from weatherSA. I like to have a look at the radar charts - either use weathersa or Easyplan/Easycockpit if you have them.
This gives an idea of where trouble is brewing before you launch. The wind charts at 15000ft give an idea in which direction the storms are moving. Then, very important is to check the freezing levels if you don't have FIKI kit on your plane.

Writer Richard Collins said a few wise words relating to this:
"Forecasts are only there to help you make the go/no go decision. Once you are flying, forget the forecasts. You are now in the best weather office in the world. You see it out the window and you feel it in the turbulence and the ground speed. Decisions on whether to continue or divert/return are based on what you see and feel and on what other pilots and ATC are reporting, not on forecasts."

Very true words from Collins - I have almost killed myself pushing on in deteriorating weather because the "forecast" was good instead of heeding the evidence all around me...
The sky is not the limit....
ZS-MDK
Karl Eschberger
User avatar
Hop Harrigan
1k poster
1k poster
Posts: 1012
Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2010 7:55 pm
Has liked: 3 times
Been liked: 19 times

Re: What Does Your IF Weather Preparation Consist Of?

Unread post by Hop Harrigan » Tue Jun 21, 2016 6:06 pm

Hi Karl, great advice from RC...I do now recall hearing him say that, from his set of videos if I recall (I should run through them again).
Also like your advice on the 15000' forecast for storm movement prediction. My biggest worries are embedded T/S's and icing (have non-FIKI anti-ice installed).
Btw, there is quite a nice weather display on JeppFD, including icing, winds aloft and surface conditions, do you have any idea what the source of it is?
Real pity we don't have in-flight weather available. I wonder if one of the cellular operators could be persuaded to add upward-looking antennae to a percentage of their base stations? That way we could access the radar services on WeatherSA in flight...
Hop
There is no gravity...the Earth sucks
User avatar
Iceberg
Too Tousand
Too Tousand
Posts: 2616
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2011 1:09 pm
Closest Airfield: FAWB
Location: Pretoria
Has liked: 30 times
Been liked: 50 times

Re: What Does Your IF Weather Preparation Consist Of?

Unread post by Iceberg » Wed Jun 22, 2016 10:41 am

Hop Harrigan wrote:Hi Karl, great advice from RC...I do now recall hearing him say that, from his set of videos if I recall (I should run through them again).
Also like your advice on the 15000' forecast for storm movement prediction. My biggest worries are embedded T/S's and icing (have non-FIKI anti-ice installed).
Btw, there is quite a nice weather display on JeppFD, including icing, winds aloft and surface conditions, do you have any idea what the source of it is?
Real pity we don't have in-flight weather available. I wonder if one of the cellular operators could be persuaded to add upward-looking antennae to a percentage of their base stations? That way we could access the radar services on WeatherSA in flight...
Hop
Yes, the 2 items that stand in the way of a GA IF pilot are thunderstorms and icing. One must always be ready to bail out and have a plan for this.
I have used Easyweather on Easycockpit whilst flying - it certainly is useful. One loses signal at times, but if you can update the radar map every now and then it helps. Just remember that a lot can happen in the 15+ minutes since you got the last update.
The sky is not the limit....
ZS-MDK
Karl Eschberger

Return to “Instrument Flying”