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Learn to Fly
7 day IFR Rating
You should request a standard briefing any time you are
planning a flight
and you have not received a previous briefing. The briefer will
provide the following information in the sequence listed, except as
when it is applicable to your proposed flight.
1. Adverse Conditions
- Significant meteorological and aeronautical
information that might influence the pilot to alter the proposed
e.g., hazardous weather conditions, runway closures, NAVAID outages,
2. VFR Flight Not Recommended
- When VFR flight is proposed and sky
conditions or visibilities are present or forecast, surface or aloft,
in the briefer’s judgment would make flight under visual flight rules
the briefer will describe the conditions, affected locations, and use
phrase “VFR flight is not recommended.” This recommendation is advisory
in nature. The final decision as to whether the flight can be conducted
safely rests solely with the pilot.
3. Synopsis - A brief statement describing the type, location and movement of weather systems and/or air masses which might affect the proposed flight.
NOTE - These first 3 elements of a briefing may be combined in any order when the briefer believes it will help to more clearly describe conditions.
4. Current Conditions - Reported weather conditions applicable to the flight will be summarized from all available sources; e.g., METARs, PIREPs, RAREPs. This element will be omitted if the proposed time of departure is beyond 2 hours, unless the pilot specifically requests the information.
5. En Route Forecast - Forecast en route conditions for the proposed route are summarized in logical order; i.e., departure/climbout, en route, and descent.
6. Destination Forecast - The destination forecast for the planned ETA. Any significant changes within 1 hour before and after the planned arrival are included.
7. Winds Aloft - Forecast winds aloft will be summarized for the proposed route. The briefer will interpolate wind directions and speeds between levels and stations as necessary to provide expected conditions at planned altitudes.
8. Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs)--
(a) Available NOTAM (D) information pertinent to the proposed flight.9. ATC Delays - Any known ATC delays and flow control advisories which might affect the proposed flight.
Computer Weather Briefing (from DUAT)
1. Area forecast
2. Convective SIGMETs
3. Center Weather Advisory
4. AIRMETs and SIGMETs
AIRMETs are significant for light aircraft and include
SIGMETs are significant for all aircraft, and include
5. Current surface observation – METAR reports are generally issued every hour by reporting stations. SPECI reports are unscheduled reports that may be issued due to significant changes in weather or on demand.
METAR reports contain the following elements
Temperature and dewpoint - each is a two-digit Celsius number, preceded by M for negative values
Altimeter setting – four-digit number preceded by A
6. Pilot reports (PIREPs) - Pilot reports are preceded by the
UA, followed by any of the following:
7. Radar summaries - Location and time of report
Or echo pattern
Type, intensity and intensity trend of weather
Azimuth and range from station of points that define the
8. Terminal forecasts – TAF format - are issued four times a day (at 0000Z, 0600Z, 1200Z and 1800Z) and are valid for a 24-hour period. They contain the following elements:
Type – routine forecast (TAF) or amended forecast (TAF AMD)
The forecast field is in similar format as the METAR format – wind, visibility, weather, and sky conditions.
There are usually multiple forecast fields during the forecast
for changes during the period:
There can be temporary conditions and probability forecasts
9. Winds Aloft Forecast - Winds aloft forecasts are issued twice daily, and are valid for specific time intervals specified in the report. Winds and temperatures are forecast for 3000, 6000, 9000, and 12,000 feet, and for flight levels 180, 240, 300, 340, and 390. Winds are not available within 1500 feet of the station. Temperature is not available at the 3000-foot level or within 2500 feet of the station.
A wind/temperature group is a 6-digit encoding:
10. Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs) - are items of time-critical information that are either temporary or not known with sufficient advance notice to publish in the normal charts or publications. The AIM contains a thorough abbreviation decoding table.
There are three NOTAM categories:
Weather ChartsSurface Analysis Charts
Issued – every three hours.
Usage – good for getting detailed information on pressure systems, fronts, and overview of winds, temperatures and dew points.
Weather Depiction Chart
Issued – every three hours beginning at 01Z. Valid at the time of the plotted data.
Usage – good for a first-pass view of areas of favorable and adverse weather.
Radar Summary Chart
Issued – every hour at H+35 from available data. Available 16 or 24 hours a day.
Usage – good for identifying areas and movement of precipitation and thunderstorms. It does not necessarily identify areas of adverse weather and reduced visibilities. Pay careful attention to radar sites that are not available (marked as NA)
Significant Weather Prognostic Charts (progs)
Issued – four times daily with 12- and 24-hour forecasts based on 00Z, 06Z, 12Z and 18Z synoptic data.
Usage – used for outlook purposes. Use to get a general picture of the weather conditions that are in the relatively distant future.
Winds and Temperatures Aloft Charts
Issued – daily for 12-hour progs valid at 12Z and 00Z.
Composite Moisture Stability Chart
Issued – twice daily with valid times of 12Z and 00Z.
Usage – most useful panel is lifted index panel. The top number is the lifted index, and the bottom number is the K-index. The more negative the lifted index or the higher the K-index, the higher the chance for thunderstorms. The freezing level panel is also interesting for avoiding icing in IFR flight.