Summertime Flying: More than just bright lights and loud noise
Did you know?
The GA fatal accident rate has remained relatively flat over the past five years, despite FAA, NTSB, and industry efforts to improve safety. The FAA's goal is to reduce the GA fatal accident rate by 10% over a 10-year period (2009-2018).
As the warmer temps hit, so does the desire to get airborne and go somewhere. Don't become a victim of "get-there-itis."
- General Aviation News – "Protect yourself from ‘get-there-itis’"
- FAA Safety Briefing March/April 2013
The warm and humid summer air usually means one thing for pilots – thunderstorms! Be prepared, learn more:
- Thunderstorms – Don't Flirt… Skirt 'Em (PDF)
- AOPA – Weather Watch: Convective coverages
- National Weather Association – Summer Weather: Navigating Summer's Worst
- Advisory Circular 00-24C: Thunderstorms (PDF)
- Professional Pilot – Better knowledge of downbursts can save you from dangerous flying experiences
- FAA Safety Briefing May/June 2012 (PDF)
- AOPA Live
Sometimes it is better to "just say no" when the weather won't cooperate:
Been out of the "saddle" for a while? Before you jump back in the cockpit, check out
- FAA Safety Briefing March/April 2014 (PDF)
- AOPA – Rusty Pilots: Bringing lapsed pilots back to the sky
NextGen is now for GA! Here's what you need to know about technologies that can provide weather services to GA pilots.
Flight Information Service – Broadcast (FIS-B) is an FAA data link service that provides meteorological and aeronautical data to the cockpit for aircraft operating in the United States National Airspace System (NAS). FIS-B provides a suite of weather and aeronautical information products so pilots have timely information of regional weather & NAS status/changes that could impact flight. FIS-B is a continuous uplink broadcast over the UAT link from each of the 600+ ADS-B ground-based Radio Stations (RS).
Many pilots are familiar with commercial subscription data link services that are provided via satellite. Let's compare the commercial satellite systems and the FAA's ground-based approach. With the satellite approach, a single broadcast transmitter is providing broadcast data to subscribing users for the entire service area (i.e. the NAS). With the FAA's ground-based approach, which is available subscription-free to pilots equipping with ADS-B In on the UAT link, each RS is broadcasting a specific subset of the FIS-B data centered on that RSs location. FIS-B is limited to line of sight to the RS being used. Consequently, coverage is limited at most GA airports on the airport surface. When airborne, the specific products a pilot receives is dependent on the aircraft's altitude and the FIS-B service volume. Pilots should be aware of FIS-B's capabilities and limitations and be particularly alert and understand the limitations associated with individual products.
Learn more about FIS-B service volumes and products:
Get Involved – explore more resources on weather topics and flight planning:
Publications, Guides and Tools
- Key to Aerodrome Forecast (TAF) and Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR) (PDF)
- FAA/Industry Training Standards – Personal and Weather Risk Assessment Guide (PDF)
- Personal Minimums Development Guide (PDF)
- Weather Radar Echo Terms
- How to obtain a good weather briefing (PDF)
- Learn about one pilot's encounter with a thunderstorm
- The Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) tool is designed to meet the needs of low-altitude VFR emergency responders.
Online Courses, Quizzes and Webinars
- Accident Case Study: Time Lapse
- Aviation Weather Data: A Targeted Approach – Online Course
- NTSB – Weatherwise Online Course
- Online course: Weather Wise: Thunderstorms & ATC
- Webinar: Thunderstorms and ATC: What You Need to Know
- Webcast: Preempting a Thunderstorm's Fury
- Webinar: Thunderstorm Avoidance
- Webinar: Flying Safely with Cockpit Weather
- Safety Quiz: Thunderstorms
- Safety Quiz: Thunderstorm Avoidance
- Safety Advisor: Thunderstorms & ATC (PDF)