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dymondjack
Topic Author
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 2:26 pm

Where Do Pilots Get Their Weather?

Thu May 07, 2009 6:16 pm

I'm a student pilot and curious as to where experienced pilots get their weather reports from. I've always used wunderground (and still do), and have found a number of 'aviation' related weather forecasting services, but am still left feeling a bit unsatisfied.

Is there a definitive source for weather information regarding aviation?

This would be related to GA in North America, if it makes a difference...

Thanks for any insight. Probably I already have seen it, but knowing what other pilots rely on would make me feel much better about it myself (and quite frankly, there's LOTS out there... I'm beginning to think some pilots might be better meteorologists than meteorologists are).

[Edited 2009-05-07 11:17:16]
 
spudsmac
Posts: 302
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2008 10:36 pm

RE: Where Do Pilots Get Their Weather?

Thu May 07, 2009 6:26 pm

I use several different websites. I only have 150 hours or so and am almost finished with commercial but I have kinda settled on where to get WX from.

Local flights: http://fltwx.db.erau.edu/textquery.php (quick and lots of info in a neat, organized format)
XCountry: http://aviationweather.gov for planning route, weather.com for temp when I want to fly combined with Winds Aloft, 1-800-WX-BRIEF for weather right before I go preflight.
When I get lazy: DUATS.com

[Edited 2009-05-07 11:27:30]

[Edited 2009-05-07 11:28:01]
 
Goldenshield
Posts: 5034
Joined: Sun Jan 14, 2001 3:45 pm

RE: Where Do Pilots Get Their Weather?

Thu May 07, 2009 6:31 pm

In your case, for GA, the definative source for aviation weather is your nearest FAA FSS. They are specifically there to assist GA pilots in pre-flight weather briefing and planning. Anything else outside DUATS, and an FSS, or any other FAA approved weather source is ADVISORY ONLY.

Of course, you state that you are a student, so I suggest you follow your CFI's lesson plans before jumping ahead in the game. Otherwise, you could end up making things confusing and complicated.
 
spudsmac
Posts: 302
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2008 10:36 pm

RE: Where Do Pilots Get Their Weather?

Thu May 07, 2009 6:33 pm

Oh, I forgot ASOS on the phone. Sometimes I use that to decide whether or not it's worth it to drive to the airport if it doesn't have a METAR.
 
DescendVia
Posts: 141
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 4:26 am

RE: Where Do Pilots Get Their Weather?

Thu May 07, 2009 6:38 pm

Best thing is having NEXRAD weather datalink in the airplane that can pull up all that stuff  Smile
 
dymondjack
Topic Author
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 2:26 pm

RE: Where Do Pilots Get Their Weather?

Thu May 07, 2009 6:51 pm

Wow.. thanks for the quick replies.

I was looking for more 'in general' type stuff. Obviously I need to use approved sources before an actual flight, but if I'm bored at the office a few days before my next lesson I like to poke around.

Thanks for the info. A few of the places mentioned are ones that I have been scoping out, so thats good to know.

[Edited 2009-05-07 11:52:24]
 
DingDong
Posts: 65
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2007 5:45 pm

RE: Where Do Pilots Get Their Weather?

Thu May 07, 2009 6:52 pm



Quoting Dymondjack (Thread starter):
Is there a definitive source for weather information regarding aviation?

For GA, I'd say the online DUATS website, no question, as the primary source. It's a good bit of arse-covering to have a trackable official FAA-approved source of aviation weather before launching. It's either that or calling the FSS. Sometimes I do both if I'm a little uncertain about how a trend feels like it might play out and call to talk with a veteran briefer to get their educated thoughts.

If you have an accident or incident and the FAA looks into if you had all the paperwork, certificate, medical, charts, maint records, NOTAMs, current WX info, etc... And then if it involved inadvertent stumble into unfavorable weather without having a log entry of you checking DUATS or calling FSS beforehand, then you could very well be looking at a cert suspension. Not worth the risk or trouble.

However, doesn't hurt to supplement the official FAA sources with secondary WX info sources. I'd second what others here has suggested for supplementary secondary sources.
 
pilotpip
Posts: 2844
Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2003 3:26 pm

RE: Where Do Pilots Get Their Weather?

Thu May 07, 2009 7:01 pm

aviationweather.gov is great with one caveat: It's not official.

Duat/Duats have a login and record your weather briefings in much the same way that FSS does. aviationweather does not have this feature and while there's a lot of good info, it's worthless if you don't have proof of your briefing.

If you're still a student pilot I would highly suggest using Flight Service until you get good reading the printed stuff. A good way to work on that is to read the text briefing as the flight service briefer reads to you.
 
flyingbronco05
Posts: 3484
Joined: Fri May 10, 2002 11:43 am

RE: Where Do Pilots Get Their Weather?

Thu May 07, 2009 9:17 pm



Quoting Dymondjack (Thread starter):
I'm a student pilot and curious as to where experienced pilots get their weather reports from.

The dispatcher or ACARS. Big grin
 
futureualpilot
Posts: 2406
Joined: Thu May 25, 2000 10:52 am

RE: Where Do Pilots Get Their Weather?

Fri May 08, 2009 12:09 am

I'll always check www.aviationweather.gov to get a general idea and help plan my flights, then look at DUATS because it is official, and I can print out a very descriptive briefing of my entire route of flight that day. Days in advance I'll use "normal people" weather and check weather.com or wunderground just to get an idea of what to expect that day.

I can't wait for the day when I can use a dispatcher or ACARS! :-P
 
DiamondFlyer
Posts: 3576
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2008 11:50 pm

RE: Where Do Pilots Get Their Weather?

Fri May 08, 2009 12:41 am



Quoting Spudsmac (Reply 1):
Local flights: http://fltwx.db.erau.edu/textquery.php (quick and lots of info in a neat, organized format)

I used that for a while, but gave up on it. Really, it didn't give me what I needed, how I wanted it. Typically, I'll just use Aviation Digital Data Service, and then use DUAT for the official briefing. I've found that typically when actually calling FSS, they tend to give you 10x more than what you need, and I'm not big on wasting a ton of time, which is what I feel they do. If I know I won't have time to get the IFR plan filed on DUAT (30 minutes prior to departure), I'll call, but that is about the only case.

-DiamondFlyer
 
pilotpip
Posts: 2844
Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2003 3:26 pm

RE: Where Do Pilots Get Their Weather?

Fri May 08, 2009 1:20 am



Quoting Futureualpilot (Reply 9):
I can't wait for the day when I can use a dispatcher or ACARS! :-P

Substitute FSS for dispatch and you have about the same thing. You'd be surprised how often captains are on the phone with them discussing routes and weather.
 
Goldenshield
Posts: 5034
Joined: Sun Jan 14, 2001 3:45 pm

RE: Where Do Pilots Get Their Weather?

Fri May 08, 2009 1:23 am



Quoting Pilotpip (Reply 11):
You'd be surprised how often captains are on the phone with them discussing routes and weather.

That's because, while the dispatcher isn't out flying the plane, the captain and the dispatcher have to agree on everything regarding the flight before it can commence.  Smile
 
User avatar
tb727
Posts: 2316
Joined: Thu Jun 30, 2005 1:40 pm

RE: Where Do Pilots Get Their Weather?

Fri May 08, 2009 1:39 am



Quoting Pilotpip (Reply 7):
aviationweather.gov is great with one caveat: It's not official.

I like to supplement with ADDS, it has some pretty good info on it and it's quick to get to.

Fltplan.com is pretty awesome, that's also what I use in addition to what I get from the flight following department. They get all their stuff from DUAT. Back about 8-9 years ago we had Pan Am weather, that was old school but awesome!

At AFB's and other military installations it's always nice to walk down to the wx department and they will show you all kinds of stuff, usually way more than you need to know and in great detail. Kind of like going to a FSS in person.
 
futureualpilot
Posts: 2406
Joined: Thu May 25, 2000 10:52 am

RE: Where Do Pilots Get Their Weather?

Fri May 08, 2009 2:30 am



Quoting Pilotpip (Reply 11):
Substitute FSS for dispatch and you have about the same thing. You'd be surprised how often captains are on the phone with them discussing routes and weather.

Fair enough...but at least I'll be out of the bugmashers.

..No...not much SJS here, just hoping to move on someday!
 
pilotpip
Posts: 2844
Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2003 3:26 pm

RE: Where Do Pilots Get Their Weather?

Fri May 08, 2009 3:12 am

We still smash bugs. They just make a bigger streak on the windscreen. Really fun when it's something big like a locust and you hear the impact.

Just remember: The grass is always greener over the septic tank. Don't be in a huge hurry to get to the regionals. Sooner or later flying quits being fun and becomes a job. Don't get me wrong, I love what I do but I'd kill to have enough extra cash to go rent a 172 and fly around with the windows open.
 
ThirtyEcho
Posts: 1411
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2002 1:21 am

RE: Where Do Pilots Get Their Weather?

Fri May 08, 2009 6:14 am



Quoting Pilotpip (Reply 15):
Really fun when it's something big like a locust and you hear the impact.

Big fun!

Headed home at dusk in a pressurized Aero Commander 680, smooth air descending through 14000, CAVU, beacon sighted, no traffic, top of the green, fuel fat, then...

WHAP!!! The biggest, most juicy green caterpillar in the world hit the windscreen and frozen bug guts ran from bottom to top.
 
dymondjack
Topic Author
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 2:26 pm

RE: Where Do Pilots Get Their Weather?

Fri May 08, 2009 3:19 pm

This bug stuff sounds kinda fun.

Is there a website that can forecast bug density?  duck 

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