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Weather 'Flag'Criteria

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Weather 'Flag'Criteria

Old 30th Sep 2019, 00:56
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Weather 'Flag'Criteria

Can anyone remember the criteria and origins of the 'Flags'declared as weather changed at Stations in the 70s? I presume something different is used now. I seem to remember Red flag was cloud base below 200 feet - not sure of viz. How many others were there?
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Old 30th Sep 2019, 05:32
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Are you referring to military 'colour states'? If so, they are still used.
Red is cloud ceiling (not base) less than 200ft and visibility (not RVR) less than 800m.
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Old 30th Sep 2019, 07:45
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Originally Posted by chevvron View Post
Are you referring to military 'colour states'? If so, they are still used.
Red is cloud ceiling (not base) less than 200ft and visibility (not RVR) less than 800m.
Correction: Red is >3/8 cloud below 200ft or visibility (not RVR) less than 800m. But Iím unfamiliar with the flag system so canít say whether it was the same. It seems unlikely to me that there would be different shades of yellow for 1 and 2 but ISTR that those were adopted later.

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Old 30th Sep 2019, 09:32
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And Black Flag (Black in modern usage) - Airfield unusable for reasons other than weather. Eg blocked runway due to incident.
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Old 30th Sep 2019, 11:07
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Originally Posted by olddog View Post
And Black Flag (Black in modern usage) - Airfield unusable for reasons other than weather. Eg blocked runway due to incident.
A Black Flag Day was normally a weathered out day. The runway being declared Black was normally an aircraft stuck on it i.e in the RHAG, etc. But I have heard them being called Black due to ice, snow, etc.

Always under the impression the reason for a runway being declared Black was that it was unusable for absolutely *any* reason.
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Old 30th Sep 2019, 12:20
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I wonder whether the OP is referring to the Flying Training Command and successors Flying Phase system? Phases 1 - 5;

Phase 5 - no restrictions, unrated student solo.

with progressive limitations to

Phase 1 - Green rated only

Any criteria below Phase 1 was usually referred to as Black Flag or occasionally Phase 0 - No Flying.

I cannot recall all the criteria involved, but in addition to the usual ones cloud depth and icing(?) featured.

The full table is probably out there somewhere.

YS
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Old 30th Sep 2019, 15:57
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Black Flag used to be accompanied with a number - I think 1 to 5. I recall runway blocked, ice and crosswind. This allowed simplification when the colour states were passed from Ops via a phone (no nifty electronics in the 60s)to be recorded on a board by the duty auth i.e. Waddington is White and Binbrook is Black 3 (which I think was crosswind) etc for all UK bases.
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Old 30th Sep 2019, 18:53
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One wonders, in the days of yore, whether the colour state was signified by the appropriate coloured flag in the airfield signals square - it could explain the tern "flag"? Just asking.
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Old 30th Sep 2019, 19:00
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Originally Posted by CharlieJuliet View Post
Black Flag used to be accompanied with a number - I think 1 to 5. I recall runway blocked, ice and crosswind. This allowed simplification when the colour states were passed from Ops via a phone (no nifty electronics in the 60s)to be recorded on a board by the duty auth i.e. Waddington is White and Binbrook is Black 3 (which I think was crosswind) etc for all UK bases.
I was aware that the Airfield Colour State could be qualified by "Black" but was unaware of any additional qualifiers. Your reference to "Black 3" being crosswind (outside limits) would tend to indicate that this may have been a local or Group procedure. The crosswind limit would differ for different aircraft types so "Black 3" could not be a universal qualifier.

YS

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Old 30th Sep 2019, 20:25
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From memory:

YLO 1 and 2 were UK usage and not adopted by NATO or used in RAFG. This occasionally led to interesting discussions with an OC Ops who had come from Home.

More by accident than design [I think] the abbreviations :

RED AMB YLO GRN WHT BLU have negligible letter commonality , making it very difficult indeed to misread or miss-type a colour state.

BLK was only ever authorized by ATC, Met. added it to the message thus: GRN BLK ......."if the RAF could get its finger out the weather is OK!"
Or RED BLK ..... "don't bother extracting the finger."

Then of course we had the nause of forecast colours, probably because the customer could not understand the TAF.

E & OE of course.
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Old 30th Sep 2019, 20:47
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YS interesting comment as I remember B3 but you must be correct in that it was Command/type related. However, I think that the max crosswind for most types was 25 knots in those days - maybe the duty auth imposed this limit, but I don't remember it being so. I can certainly remember airfields going B (x) and this was an aircraft crash on that base!
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Old 1st Oct 2019, 16:46
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I remember as a junior ATCO at Chivenor declaring the airfield black due to worms on the runway.
After heavy rain the blighters all climbed onto the blacktop to escape the waterlogged ground. The braking action was akin to ice. OC Ops, Iíve forgotten his name, mid 1982, was mildly amused by it.
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Old 1st Oct 2019, 19:49
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On the topic of weather codes, my first great Staff achievement (was there another? ) was in the mid-70s at HQ MATO as a flt lt... getting the RN, AAC, MoD PE and [importantly] USAFE to accept just the weather colour (amplified by r/w and s/w [and QFE/QNH?] instead of the full nine-yards of cloud and vis. Oh, that saved us Area ATCOs so much r/t time!
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Old 1st Oct 2019, 21:08
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"Black Flag" at Linton in the late '60's meant no flying (weather) and generally a 'march' by the students to the pub, followed by us QFI's in various forms of transport ! "White flag" was unrestricted flying - dual & solo. If I remember correctly there was also a black/white flag that denoted only dual and certain student solo elements (senior course etc.) The appropriate flag was flown by ATC and announced on the tannoy when changed. As far as I can remember this was purely a Flying Training Command issue.

Bill
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Old 2nd Oct 2019, 10:20
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I suggest that the YLO 1/2 'thing' was an 11 Gp aberration as in my 27 years I only came across it at RAF Leuchars, no where else.
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Old 2nd Oct 2019, 12:08
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DM-L,
And at Wattisham, Binbrook and Colt. I think that in addition to being 11Gp, It was for the Lightning force (usually near fuel critical at ToC)
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Old 2nd Oct 2019, 12:13
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Originally Posted by Downwind.Maddl-Land View Post
I suggest that the YLO 1/2 'thing' was an 11 Gp aberration
It was UK RAF wide during my time.
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Old 2nd Oct 2019, 20:03
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Originally Posted by Bill Macgillivray View Post
"Black Flag" at Linton in the late '60's meant no flying (weather) and generally a 'march' by the students to the pub, followed by us QFI's in various forms of transport ! "White flag" was unrestricted flying - dual & solo. If I remember correctly there was also a black/white flag that denoted only dual and certain student solo elements (senior course etc.) The appropriate flag was flown by ATC and announced on the tannoy when changed. As far as I can remember this was purely a Flying Training Command issue.

Bill
In the 1970s, a succession of Black Flag days ay Linton prompted something more organised than a pub visit which resulted in the Tannoy message, "There will be an Inter-course Sports Competition in the Gym starting at 1300. All students are to participate". We all went along eagerly, wondering who was going to supply enough WRAF/Nurses etc for the events.
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