A simple question to most of the UK pilots, which weather from the Met office GA website do you use for flight planning(for wind velocity mainly)? The low level spot wind forcasts or the airmet and the Form 214? I ask as I haven't flown in the UK myself but am trying to get back into it after a 3 year absence. Thanks
I've always used the spot wind forecast. They don't tend to be very accurate, but you'll be able to work out more or less what it actually is once you're in the air. My philosophy is if there are strongish winds at my cruise altitude I plan shorter nav legs so I stay on top of any unwanted drift. Most people use GPS though these days which makes nav dead easy.
Ok thanks for the replies, does nobody really do all the pre flight planning now then? Is it a case of have a look at the weather if it looks ok jump in and set the GPS? I hope not as I actually enjoy doing the flight planning and following the map/landmarks etc and feeling a sense of acheivement when I reach the destination. I can however see the benefit of something like the airbox GPS system, just think its a bit boring!
A good spot wind forecast is contained in the Ballooning Forecast; it gives forecast wind for several areas as low as 500ft and is much more easy to understand and more relevant to students and PPLs than the F214 forecasts.
As a general personal opinion - it drives me crackers that I still have to read and interpret ancient Telex-based Metars and TAF's. Just get rid of the non-sensical abbreviations and have websites that give it to you straight and translated. This whole enamoration with ancient and incomprehensible abbreviated formats just because "that's how it's always been" is a rampant disease in aviation. That's why I love my little AeroWeather app on the iPhone and my Foreflight weather - it tells it to you straight. All the supposed great national weather briefing sites suffer from the previously mentioned that's-how-it's-always-been-syndrome and they're useless as a planning tool unless you have a degree in meteorology or a reference guide the size of War and Peace to figure out that BR means fog and that 6SM is the highest reported visual range or that MI somehow is supposed to mean shallow, etc, etc. It's the same in both the UK and the US. Utterly useless.
Has anyone, as an experiment in summoning personal insanity on oneself, read a US based FA report ever? A brain hemorrhage isn't far away, let me tell you. The most comical clue comes already in the abbreviation - FA means an Area Forecast, you see. And we haven't even opened it yet! It's a premonition of the crackers-inducing logic yet to come in the world of aviation weather.
Last edited by AdamFrisch; 22nd Aug 2012 at 00:11.
Ok thanks for the replies, does nobody really do all the pre flight planning now then? Is it a case of have a look at the weather if it looks ok jump in and set the GPS?
I don't think you are going to get too many people write a detailed reply to that one
Me don't do no soddin' planning; Me just jump in, set the GPS and go. Me get the wx off the Beeb, and phone up the last mate who flew the plane to ask how much petrol he left in the tankz, savez meee taking the filer capz off as they are quiet stif.
Touche! The enlightened are still debating the difference and definition between mist and fog and will probably do so long after I'm gone. Thankfully I happen to know that bruma means - wait for it - fog in Spanish. Makes so much sense, doesn't it? Or I'd be launching into certain death
Last edited by AdamFrisch; 22nd Aug 2012 at 06:41.
Problem is the met office site is such a ball ache to get into and also use and if the computer your on has been set up to not allow cookies etc you are stuffed. Which is the case with a large number of airports flight planning computers in C.
Commercial crews pick up briefing packs from the likes of crew briefing.
Or if you want a few quick TAF's and metars I use ADDS.
If anyone from the met office is reading a suggestion.
HAve a site say aviation.metoffice.co.uk
No log in required.
On it have the basic aviation stuff ie TAFs METARS, 214 and 215.
Nothing fancy with interfaces just direct links straight to printable pages.
Seems daft that the majority of people shun the original provider of the data to only use third party providers because its quicker and easier than using the metoffice.
Getting into and ferretting out the info on the metoffice site takes longer than opening and printing a 6 sector day briefing pack. Why you might ask would a commercial pilot want the metoffice stuff. Well actually its quite nice to have the area sheets of TAFS and Metars when your hunting to find alternates and when its one of these days you want the big picture when RVR's is the word of the day on approaches.
We want to be able to be able to sit in front of a computer and in under 30seconds have the current data for a quick look. The site needs to be able to operate quickly on the slowest most out of date heap of crap computer thats still in excistance or be able to be accessed with minimal bandwidth for the mobile pilot on a phone.
Yes you can have your fancy stuff that people pay for and keep the current method of gaining entry for that.
The current wx that promotes flight safety make it the easiest thing ever to get access to.
Other countries you have to pay to access the instrument plates and getting the Jepp ones gives you access to everything for a single payment.
The main thing with JEpps and airad etc is the updating service.
AIP is ok if you don't have anything and are happy to print everything off fresh every time you go flying. Which is what I do for my relatively rare private flights in light aircraft IFR.
The log in to prove etc is pointless these days. My log in is from a defunct airline and 30 pilots plus ops used the same login. Most schools have a generic login which every one uses so to be honest the log in rubbish that gets trolled out is pretty much pointless. And as a huge proportion of pilots shun the site it doesn't really mean anything.
Its a bit like the CAA tryng to lock down all the PDF forms to try and make you print them out then sign them and then scan them back in again. 10 seconds and they have been imported into a graphics package another 5 to paste the signature on and 10 secs to print the pdf out again. And then its sent without the huge hassel of trying to find a printer and a scanner which are never avalable when you need one.
Jeppview (and incarnations thereof for MFDs etc), and the AIP, have different (though obviously overlapping) uses.
Jepp produce plates (airport charts) and enroute VFR and IFR charts, presented in a highly uniform manner and with a 14-day update service for the airport charts.
The presentation for Goodwood is the same as for Kathmandu. This is why nearly the whole world flies professionally with Jepps (I believe some factions in the UK, like BA and the RAF when they go bombing abroad, use Aerads ).
But the Jepp textual airport data (phone numbers, opening hours, etc) is woefully totally useless, and this is where one might open the AIP and look for contact details and then contact the airport directly. In some 3rd world countries, like Spain, the airports almost never reply to emails or faxes, but the AIP is quite reliable. Same for "PNR Customs" contact details, etc.
I too find it obnoxious that the CAA generates PDFs with Copy disabled. Anybody who wants to crack this can do so in seconds, with free utilities.
The UK Met Office publishes very little data, because they have to make money. All they do is the MSLP charts, the rather naff F214/215/414/415, SigWx and a few other bits. The real stuff comes from a 3D model and the UKMO one costs a few grand a year to get access to. This is where the US GFS model comes in and all the free websites present various graphical presentations from that.
Nope, its one of these old wives tales a bit like you have to use the offical site to pull NOTAMS so that you are logged as reading them.
A complete load of bollocks before the internet.
And now the internet is here even more so as the amount of international sites that proved metoffice data without all the nonsense that you have to go through to get it on the metoffice site.
The vast majority of the flights flown in UK airspace the pilots have never looked at the metoffice.
It seems stupid that the majority of UK pilots use third party and wx providers in the USA, scandinavia, and flight planning intergrated options with no logging jsut because the home grown offical site is a royal pain in the arse with poor graphical representions of the forecast.
Yes I know they say that feedback is positive about the new site. I would say thats because most have given up using it and can't be bother giving negative because they just get what they want from other sources.