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  #51  
Old 11-14-2018, 06:43 PM
jwilbur jwilbur is offline
 
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Originally Posted by scottd View Post
and



Joe,

Would like to thank Charlie for pointing this out.

Yes, I'm the co-founder of the new WeatherSpork app Charlie mentioned. I'm not going to talk about the app since that would require me to be an advertiser on this site, but I can try to address some of your concerns.

First, forecasts are imperfect and wrong from the moment they are issued. However, you can distill a lot of truth out of those imperfect forecasts...you just have to learn how to do that. I've been teaching aviation weather to pilots for nearly 20 years and I can tell you that weather is likely the least understood of all of the disciplines you need to master as a pilot and affects your flying activity more than any other physical factor.

Here's a common complaint I hear, "the forecasts were horrible...I flew from Airport A to Airport B and the forecast didn't mention thunderstorms at all, but I spent the entire flight dodging them." I usually ask, what forecast they were using. Most of the time, they will tell me they were looking at the TAFs along the route. Well, there's the issue. When I take a look at the actual weather for those airports along that route, none of them reported a thunderstorm.

Effectively, the forecast was spot on. This is because a TAF is a forecast for an airport. It's not a zone or area forecast, but pilots tend to use them as such. The TAF is only valid 5 statute miles from the airport, so if you are using a TAF that's on the other side of a mountain ridge 20 miles from your route, you can have significantly different weather over that ridge.

This is not to say that forecasts are always spot on...they are not. That's why it's important to understand the big picture. That will provide you with the best clues as to the weather you should expect. Yes, TAFs are important and useful if you plan to go to that airport (as a destination or alternate). That's how they should be used...not as en route forecasts.

I always hear the phases, "a no-go decision is never a wrong decision" or "don't beat yourself up if the weather turned out to be better and you could have flown."

These are true, but don't offer the complete story. If you've made a wrong decision where you could have flown, it won't be long before you make a wrong decision where you shouldn't have flown. You can't have your cake and eat it too. So, it could have been due to a bad forecast or it could have been a misunderstanding of how to properly use the forecasts you relied upon (most likely the case). In my experience, I see a lot of situations where the pilot was never properly taught or taught incorrectly.

I can certainly add more to this conversation, but I invite you to watch this free video I created that highlights some important topics that are not taught to pilots in their primary training. You won't be disappointed.
I watched your video. It's very informative. Actually making me wonder if I really want to finish my IFR rating at all. I know I don't have the time or the smarts to become a competent amateur meteorologist in order to interpret weather products I thought were produced for people like me to be able to make decisions. Seems from the video that even a detailed briefing is inadequate when "rain in the vicinity" is a cause for serious concern. I think I've got some serious thinking to do. ...
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  #52  
Old 11-14-2018, 06:55 PM
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Walt Walt is offline
 
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Really great stuff, weather has always been one of those things I feel I know just enough about to get me in trouble, think I'll pays my money and see what I can learn!
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  #53  
Old 11-14-2018, 07:09 PM
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Walt Walt is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwilbur View Post
I watched your video. It's very informative. Actually making me wonder if I really want to finish my IFR rating at all. I know I don't have the time or the smarts to become a competent amateur meteorologist in order to interpret weather products I thought were produced for people like me to be able to make decisions. Seems from the video that even a detailed briefing is inadequate when "rain in the vicinity" is a cause for serious concern. I think I've got some serious thinking to do. ...
I Strongly encourage you to get that IFR rating, it will make you a better pilot and it give you more tools in your tool box, always a good thing.
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Walt Aronow, Dallas, TX (52F) RV7A, IO360, C/S, 1500+hrs

EXP Aircraft Services LLC
Specializing in RV Condition Inspections, Maintenance, Avionics Upgrades
Dynamic Prop Balancing, Pitot-Static Altmeter/Transponder Certification
FAA Certified Repair Station, AP/IA/FCC GROL, EAA Technical Counselor
Authorized Garmin G3X Dealer/Installer
RV7A built 2004, 1700+ hrs
Website: ExpAircraft.com, Email: walt@expaircraft.com, Cell: 972-746-5154
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  #54  
Old 11-14-2018, 07:49 PM
scottd scottd is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Charlotte
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwilbur View Post
I watched your video. It's very informative. Actually making me wonder if I really want to finish my IFR rating at all. I know I don't have the time or the smarts to become a competent amateur meteorologist in order to interpret weather products I thought were produced for people like me to be able to make decisions. Seems from the video that even a detailed briefing is inadequate when "rain in the vicinity" is a cause for serious concern. I think I've got some serious thinking to do. ...
I wouldn't give up on the IR. And you don't have to become a meteorologist either. But it does take some training. You can be great at playing a musical instrument, but never write your own music. I like to think that pilots need to be good at playing an instrument. You don't need to be a forecaster.

I've taught thousands of pilots aviation weather over the last 20 years. Many of my students can run circles around even the most seasoned pilots with respect to weather. It just takes some dedication...but the pay off is being able to feel confident when you fly. A little knowledge goes a long way.

I just did a one-on-one online session today with a pilot who has been training with me for many years. He is making a trip tomorrow and we spent an hour looking through the weather together. He knows this stuff quite well, but likes the recurrent training.
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  #55  
Old 11-15-2018, 08:26 AM
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fl-mike fl-mike is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie Sisk View Post
www.weatherspork.com is by far the best aviation weather info and training available. I regularly fly ifr and use this every trip. Go through all the training videos and learn to use a Skew-T chart. Everything will become a lot clearer.
Charlie
As a VFR pilot and long-trip-weather scaredy-cat, I used WeatherSpork this year for the Oshkosh trip and it was fantastic. My favorite feature is the way it will time-shift the weather forecast along your route based on your departure time and speed. You can literally slide your departure time and watch your enroute line move through the weather forecasts. This allowed me to find the optimum departure time for best conditions along the route. The app was spot on. If I had used the static apps and weather websites, I would have launched early and been sitting on the ground somewhere along the way waiting for the ceilings ahead to lift.
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  #56  
Old 11-15-2018, 08:33 AM
Charlie Sisk Charlie Sisk is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Willis Texas
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JWilber
Dont give up on the ifr ticket. Dont give up. Even if you never fly imc, it will make you a better pilot. Keep working, one day you will be very glad you did !!!
Charlie
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  #57  
Old 11-15-2018, 09:46 AM
scottd scottd is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Charlotte
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fl-mike View Post
As a VFR pilot and long-trip-weather scaredy-cat, I used WeatherSpork this year for the Oshkosh trip and it was fantastic. My favorite feature is the way it will time-shift the weather forecast along your route based on your departure time and speed. You can literally slide your departure time and watch your enroute line move through the weather forecasts. This allowed me to find the optimum departure time for best conditions along the route. The app was spot on. If I had used the static apps and weather websites, I would have launched early and been sitting on the ground somewhere along the way waiting for the ceilings ahead to lift.
Great feedback Mike. That's what we're hoping to accomplish. The patent pending Wheels Up Departure Advisor really makes it easy to find that time so you can stack the deck in your favor. We wanted to attack the VFR into IMC issue which still kills more pilots than any other weather-related cause. We hope this will help save at least a few lives making it convenient (fast) without a significant amount of interpretation to find that perfect time to depart.
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Last edited by scottd : 11-15-2018 at 09:50 AM.
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  #58  
Old 11-15-2018, 10:24 AM
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airguy airguy is online now
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
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Originally Posted by Walt View Post
I Strongly encourage you to get that IFR rating, it will make you a better pilot and it give you more tools in your tool box, always a good thing.
Ditto on that. It's a whole lotta goodness in one rating.
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  #59  
Old 11-15-2018, 11:44 AM
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JonJay JonJay is offline
 
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Weather is like my Archery Elk hunting. I am really good at telling you where the Elk have been. Not so good at telling you where they are now, or where they will be later.
As mentioned earlier, use all the tools you have available.
I will look into Weatherspork. Sounds like the forecasting tools might be presented in a better format than most.
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  #60  
Old 11-21-2018, 08:01 PM
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Eddie P Eddie P is offline
 
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Location: Reno NV
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwilbur View Post
I need advice on how to make the go/no-go decision. I cancel a lot of cross country flights because some element of a forecast is less than ideal. I'm still VFR only (currently working on an IFR rating) and a low-timer. I like ceilings greater than 3000', no precipitation, and visibility with the ground (i.e., I fear getting stuck on top).
Your cancellations are occurring for a good reason - you are still gaining experience and you are a VFR only pilot who is understandably making safe decisions based on the limitations of your experience and your equipment. Understandably you are looking to explore the limits of your capability. However, even when you get your IFR ticket, you are still flying a light GA aircraft. Anything without a turbine powerplant and robust FIKI capability is pushing it in anything close to icing conditions or convective activity (enroute and terminal), if we are honest with the safety numbers and capability of light piston aircraft, performance capable or not, in weather.

https://www.aopa.org/training-and-sa...s/vfr-into-imc

As you keep earning hours and stripes, you'll realize you will see trends in your weather understanding and dynamic decision making capabilities coupled to your equipment (air, space and ground based). To safely expand your cross country dynamic flight planning weather analysis and decision making, the IFR certificate is a good place to start and also a lot of research and studying. Slow, metered progress is the key. Get home-itis (or let's take a look itis) consistently takes victims over time and repeated attempts. Don't be suckered by pushing too far too fast.

Last edited by Eddie P : 11-21-2018 at 08:06 PM.
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