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What is involved in your preflight weather check


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Good morning everyone, I was hoping you guys would give me some insight on what is involved in your personal weather check prior to a flight & what services you use. Especially in though's " we need an answer now", go/no go descisions for an EMS or ENG calls. Are there any particular's you look at?

 

Thanks; Steve

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I use www.weathermeister.com which is a subscription service ($70yr) and Intellicast. Weathermeister lets you set up your home airport and choose a 25, 50, or 100 mile radius for METARs and TAFs. They give you a ton of info sunrise/sunset, winds aloft, pireps, radar, NWS forecast, etc. They even email you if a TFR pops up in your region. I use it as my primary "at a glace" picture of what is going on around my area. Intellicast gives you detailed radar and precip images.

 

The NOAA aviation weather site had a HEMS tool which gave a lot of detailed wind, freezing, etc. info. I just checked the site and it seems to be gone. It was a JAVA tool so it usually took awhile to download so I didn't use it much.

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I use duat.com for most of my flight planning. You just punch in the route of flight on the flight planner and they give you distances, true course, fuel burn, NOTAMS at surrounding airports, lots of good stuff. They also have a good TFR service on there. I also use ADDS alot to check airmets, and pireps.

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Good morning everyone, I was hoping you guys would give me some insight on what is involved in your personal weather check prior to a flight & what services you use. Especially in though's " we need an answer now", go/no go descisions for an EMS or ENG calls. Are there any particular's you look at?

 

Thanks; Steve

 

For the ENG go/no go decision, I simply call up the two airport ASOS systems in Nashville, and glance at the local Doppler radar picture on my phone on the way through the hangar. As long as I have ceilings, and the wind isn't too high for the aircraft I am flying its a go.

 

Both of the stations that I fly for, won't hesitate when I say its time to turn around if we encounter worsening conditions, and neither questions a no go decision.

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Well, for the GOM, we have our own in house weather subscription on aviation.dtn, ADDS, Block info, etc. We also use pireps from all of the bases and other companies (yes we all share info), call platforms - usually very unreliable on crew change days, believe it or not, but they will lie about conditions because they want to get into the beach - (in between and final destinations if available and manned), and the FAA has begun to install a complete AWOS type system for the entire Gulf.

 

Go/No-go is now granted by either the lead pilot, base manager, or HQ. This took some of the pressure off of the guys that have a harder time saying no to a customer that is screaming at you about flying.

 

john

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I get a thorough briefing at the start of the shift, and keep track of the weather through the day/night with the HEMS tool and RadarLabHD from Weathertap. If you keep up with the weather, it doesn't take very long to make a decision, just a quick check to make sure nothing has changed. I also take a look out the window, because I've seen everything reporting good weather, when the actual weather was close to zero/zero.

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I check aviationweather.gov in the morning and the evening, I'll type the closest town name in to get a local forecast since we don't fly near many airports (utility). If I see anything coming up in the 5 day forecast, I'll start to look more closely at prog charts to get an idea of what's on the way.

 

Today however, weather reported clear; the 35 mile drive to the job was clear; the horizon above the trees all around was clear; preflight was clear; even the sky out the front window during run up was clear. Right as I rolled up to 100%, the mechanic came to my door and suggested I look behind me. The fog was rolling in, fast, and by the time the blades stopped, the LZ was completely socked in, more than an hour after sunrise. Took another hour to clear out.

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As an EMS pilot, first thing we look for is the freezing level so we know if or when we have the IFR as an option.

 

Next is the current and forecast weather for every place in our area of coverage. This will give us a mental picture of what we for sure can do, what flights might be 50/50 and what are no-go's. If the current weather is below VFR minimums and it's daylight, but forecast to improve we'll tell them that. Sometimes they'll ask us to try, sometimes they won't bother. At night it's much like Master Yoda once said..... "do or do not, there is no 'try'".

 

We have company established low-level VFR night routes to almost every hospital we service, these have MOCA's and MEA's like IFR routes. It makes it very cut and dry as to what we can and can't do at night which is nice.

 

At night we need at least a 1600' AGL ceiling to go anywhere VFR. As our area of coverage ranges from a sea level coastline to mountain peaks over 10,000' some night routes are very high!

 

For flights in Canada you only need to go to one place for your weather. Everything but the kitchen sink on this site.

Nav Canada

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