One of the most important things that affect how an airplane works and how safely it can do so is the weather. However, there are two main reasons why aviation meteorology is important. One is predicting and forecasting the weather so planes can plan for or avoid potentially dangerous conditions. Two, it is important to know more about what is going on in a storm system, etc., so that planes can handle the weather better and better training techniques can reduce the risks.
What Is Aviation Meteorology?
Aviation meteorology studies weather from the unique point of view of the aviation industry. This topic started when hot-air balloons and gliders were popular. Meteorology is important because the weather affects living things.
First, cities need to be able to predict the weather because they need to be ready for things like tornadoes and snowstorms to avoid disasters.
Second, farmers need to know how the weather will be in the long term. Drought can make people go hungry. Farmers need to know about the weather because plants need water to grow.
Why is meteorology important in aviation?
As a meteorologist for aviation, you have many responsibilities. It can be hard and sometimes frustrating to guess the weather. Because planes can fly anytime, aviation meteorologists may have to work at night, on weekends, or holidays, especially if there is a weather emergency.
A meteorologist who works in aviation needs to be able to think logically and analytically and keep cool when things get busy.
Airlines benefit from weather forecasts. Plan the routes and altitudes of their flights better to avoid turbulence. This is important for the comfort and even safety of the passengers.
Wind charts help plan flight levels better, and a good tail jet stream can cut hours off a long flight. Regarding flight time, it is also important to stay away from headwinds. Both of these ways can save a lot of gas.
If both ground-based and aircraft-mounted weather radar show storm cells and big cumulonimbus clouds, smart pilots will try to steer around them if they can.
If there is bad weather or fog at the airports where flights are going, and meteorologists do not think it will clear up in the next 3–4 hours, it is best to hold or reschedule shorter flights at the airports where they are leaving.
How Aviation Meteorology Helps Flight Operations
What can an airline expect when they hire a good aviation meteorologist? Here are three reasons why it is good to work with a skilled meteorologist.
They Help You Figure Out Where To Fly And If It Is Possible.
As you know, making flight routes takes a lot of work. Meteorologists in aviation look at a lot of real-time and predicted data to help you plan the best routes for your origins, destinations, times, and more.
They Give Detailed Forecasts For Each Route.
These forecasts give you all the details you need about winds, turbulence, and jet streams to make safer decisions before takeoff and during your flight. So, you can avoid things like turbulence, bad weather, and other things that could put your flight in danger.
They Are Always Available For Updates While In The Air.
Of course, planning can only help so much. Even with the best tools for forecasting, there will always be things we cannot see coming. When you are in the air, you will get real-time updates and alerts to make decisions based on the data to keep your passengers safe.
Do Pilots Need To Know Meteorology?
Pilots fly worldwide. They go through many different climates and see many different kinds of weather. They spend most of their time up in the clouds, where the weather is, and everything about the flight depends on what the weather is doing. Because of this, pilots need to understand meteorology so they can make good decisions.
When a pilot plans a flight, it is very important to know what weather they might face on the way and at the destination. Depending on the weather, planes act in different ways. For example, air temperature and wind speed affect how well an airplane works. So, pilots will check the weather before and during a flight to see if it could change their route. We might have to change our plans to stay away from bad weather. Here is some example.
Thunderstorms do not just cause turbulence and make the flight uncomfortable; they can also cause performance to go up and then down quickly, which could be beyond what the plane can do.
Temperatures and Pressure
Planes are made to work in temperatures ranging from very cold to very hot, and pilots are trained very well to handle the changes. However, the temperature does affect performance, which pilots need to know. One problem with heat is that as the air gets hotter, it gets less dense, which means it lifts less and makes the engine work less.
If it is very cold or the air pressure is low, the instruments will show you are much higher than you. This means that the instruments will need to be adjusted to consider this. If both low pressure and low temperature are present, this could be thousands of feet, which could mean disaster if the pilot does not make adjustments.
Snow and Ice
For operations in cold weather, there are many manuals, pieces of information, and steps to follow. Pilots go through a lot of training, which includes learning how to deal with bad weather and how to figure out if it is safe to take off or land in bad weather.
Icing and how and when it can happen are also very important things for pilots to think about and try to avoid. Knowing the different kinds of ice and their meaning is important since some can build up quickly and cause huge problems for planes.
Strong winds are one of the most important things to keep an eye on when flying an airplane safely, especially when taking off and landing. Pilots need to know how the land around them, like mountains, can affect the wind and make a huge difference depending on where they are on the land. To improve flight safety, aviation meteorology needs new instrument platforms and ways to analyze data.