Weather Observations and Flying

Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 9:55 AM EDT
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Weather can change quickly here in the County, so how important are weather observations when flying? Vanessa Symonick has more.

Chris Carroll: Weather is essential to aviation especially as a VFR pilot, a lot of our training is based on weather observations, obtaining weather reports, things like that.

Chris Carroll is a private pilot in the county who began flying at a young age. Most weather observations for flying come from a network of conditions called METARS. They record things automatically such as wind speed, sea level pressure, temperatures, precipitation, cloud cover, and visibility. There are a few reporting stations locally at the airports in Frenchville, Caribou, Presque Isle, and Houlton. Because these types of observations are one of the main sources for weather observations, they must report observations for flights to take off and land. While these stations are typically the main source of weather observations, Carroll says there are a few other things he considers when flying.

Carroll: “We can get weather a number of different ways. Most people have gone, you know it’s the twenty first century a lot of us are using our apps. We can get what’s called a full weather briefing on our app. We can see what’s going on in route to flight and we can take a look at the destination airport.”

Another important thing to consider are upper-level air patterns which could cause turbulence. These can be found using radiosondes which are small devices attached to the bottom of weather balloons to record upper-level winds, air temperature, and pressure. These observations generate what are called skew t charts. For anyone who may be new to flying Carroll has this message about weather observations.

Carroll: Only four percent of aviation accidents are weather attributed, but weather accounts for twenty five percent of the fatalities that happen in aviation. your apps can tell you whatever they want. you know trust your eyes, trust your gut.”

Another place you can find current weather observations is through your local National Weather Service. Vanessa Symonick Newssource 8.