For most people, weather is just a part of everyday life. They wake up, check the forecast, and go about their day. For pilots however, this is a very different story. The entire life of a pilot revolves around the weather. Pilots must have a basic understanding of how weather works and be able to implement that understanding in the real world. In many cases, weather can be a matter of life and death for pilots. This is why weather in regards to aviation (aka aviation weather), is so important. But what is it and why do pilots have to be so good at weather when we have meteorologists? You can find all of this and more in today’s article!
What Is Aviation Weather?
In simple terms, aviation weather is just a form of meteorology specifically in regards to aviation. But it goes much deeper than that. To most people, aviation weather may seem more like a form of science. While this is true in one sense, I would argue that aviation weather is much more of a skill than it is a science. Aviation weather entails having a basic to intermediate understanding of weather and how it works, having the ability to implement this knowledge in the cockpit, and being able to make go/no-go decisions based on weather patterns. Aviation weather is so much more than knowing how weather affects flight. and As with any skill, aviation weather takes a long time to master. However, this does not take away from its importance.
Why Is Aviation Weather Important For Pilots?
When it comes to the importance of aviation weather, there a several situations in which being skillful in aviation weather can mean life or death for pilots. For large, heavy aircraft weather is still a factor, but at this point airliners can essentially fly through any type of weather and be fine. Weather is much more of a factor when it comes to smaller, general aviation aircraft. Even in minor turbulence, small planes tend to get tossed around. Now imagine flying a small GA aircraft through a thunderstorm. A death sentence. Unfortunately, many pilots have lost there lives at the hands of nasty weather and many times, it’s due to the pilots not realizing how powerful of a force mother nature can be. According to the NTSB
“While National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reports most commonly find human error to be the direct accident cause, weather is a primary contributing factor in 23 percent of all aviation accidents. The total weather impact is an estimated national cost of $3 billion for accident damage and injuries, delays, and unexpected operating costs.” ~ Gloria Kulesa
This quote came from an extremely interesting document that can be found here! It explains GA accidents caused by weather in great detail. I would highly suggest checking it out! All of this to say, aviation weather is very important for all pilots. Being able to make good, educated go/no-go decisions can, in some cases, be the difference between life and death.
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