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Use of Poor Mans Radar

Old 27th Oct 2017, 06:53
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Use of Poor Mans Radar

In light of the DWN 210 accident I wanted to enquire as to the use of the BOM radar as an inflight decision making tool in aircraft not fitted with weather radar. I know some top end pilots use it religiously in helping decision making when circumstances require, but how wide spread is the practise?
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Old 27th Oct 2017, 06:56
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BOM radar as an inflight decision making tool
Very useful for adjunct information. Lousy decision making tool.
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Old 27th Oct 2017, 06:58
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I have made decisions many times based on BOM radar, but from the ground while contemplating a night flight.
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Old 27th Oct 2017, 07:04
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It must be used with its limitations in mind. The picture it paints is neither in real time, nor is it complete.

But I think you’d be crazy to takeoff in wet season without accessing a resource that shows you the general areas of recent rainfall and potential storm activity. So yes I find it useful. I wouldn’t bet my life on it though.

I tried to post the link by PPRuNe wouldn’t let me. Check out the ‘radar help’ page on the BOM website to arm yourself with the knowledge of its limitations.
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Old 27th Oct 2017, 08:15
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Rep spot on.
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Old 27th Oct 2017, 08:25
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Did the ATC tour at YMMB a few years ago (very interesting) and noticed the controllers there all have screens open on the BOM radar website. From what I could gather, it was their only source of weather information.

Using Telstra 4G data it's rare in SE Australia not to be able to load NAIPS or BOM weather data.
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Old 27th Oct 2017, 09:07
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Funnily enough, I know the bloke who designed the BOM weather radar page.

His advice is that it's not an official/certified source for aviation related decision making and that its use comes with a disclaimer.

The point is sometimes the BOM radar is very accurate sometimes it isn't for reasons too technical to mention. From what I've been told the BOM really do strive to deliver as accurate data to the public as is possible at the very moment that data arrives, however besides the technical challenges there are also cultural challenges with IT people who are a decade behind with their thinking and hold the place to ransom.

Caveat Emptor.
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Old 27th Oct 2017, 09:19
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Personally I prefer the weatherzone radar as it shows Lightning as a default when looking at Aus Wide or the State Views, often times there are areas that aren't necessarily covered by a Weather Radar but due to the nature of Lightning it can be picked up at incredible distances. Having a look right now I can see a few areas of Lightning Activity that with the feature turned off and just looking at the Precipitation wouldn't be immediately obvious as being thunderstorm activity.

Also, when I first saw this, I thought you were referring to the ADF, the poor mans lightning detector! Can also be useful, only good reason to have one these days I think, other than for getting the cricket scores
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Old 27th Oct 2017, 09:40
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Did the ATC tour at YMMB a few years ago (very interesting) and noticed the controllers there all have screens open on the BOM radar website. From what I could gather, it was their only source of weather information.
Yes, that is true.. However, we cannot advise of weather info more then 50nm from the radar site..
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Old 27th Oct 2017, 10:11
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Very useful for adjunct information. Lousy decision making tool
When I say decision I meant using the information provided by the BOM radar as an input as to what that decision might be, recognising the latency of the information provided, no different in that respect to Nexrad in the USA.
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Old 27th Oct 2017, 11:58
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Before BOM Wx radar overlays it was very simple. Daytime if the cloud turns green give it a miss and at night time just avoid the flashes. Seemed to work ok.
However would I use my phone and BOM Wx these days? Absolutely!!
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Old 27th Oct 2017, 12:17
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Like ixlixly, I thought poor mans radar was the ADF tuned down as far as it would go and squelch off.

BOM radar? Telstra reception? Luxury. Half your luck, use it.

PS. Never have more than one of bad weather, low fuel or low light.
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Old 27th Oct 2017, 14:58
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The OZ RWY Radar overlay can be useful too.
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Old 28th Oct 2017, 03:54
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You have to be careful with the bom radar as it is 10mins delayed from real time on average, with the weather systems you can get in the top end that could be significantly different to actual weather conditions.

Not saying don't use it, but I wouldn't rely on it solely. Use it along side all the tools at your disposal
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Old 28th Oct 2017, 03:59
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One of my first times using an iPad in flight i had an issue where the BOM radar were showing storms roughly north of my destination though the Strikefinder were showing strikes off my left wing. Confusing, though as i were near landed didn't dwell on it. After landing i 'aimed' the aircraft at the visible lightening and the Strikefinder showed nothing ahead though with a lot of strikes roughly ninety degrees to the left where i could see no visible lightening. A clear fault with the Strikefinder.

I wonder what would have happened if the first time the Strikefinder had failed were during a flight that i had been actively using the Strikefinder to 'thread the needle' and the BOM radar had shown a conflict... confusion, somewhat. Now i know to look for the strikes coming rapidly closer from the wrong direction. Handy thing that radar..






.
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Old 28th Oct 2017, 05:44
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There was a fatal accident in the USA where the NTSB considered the pilot's use of "poor man's" radar a major factor.

See here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83uvKWJS2os
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Old 28th Oct 2017, 07:45
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Originally Posted by FGD135 View Post
There was a fatal accident in the USA where the NTSB considered the pilot's use of "poor man's" radar a major factor.

See here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83uvKWJS2os
Excellent vid.

Display differences shown at time 5.45 for those who don't want to watch it all.





.
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Old 29th Oct 2017, 02:54
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If you “need” a radar for the conditions then the BOM will NOT be sufficient and the flight should be terminated. Used correctly for SA it’s a great aid, and I still use it even tho I have a radar on board, I’ll have the onboard one set to 20 or 40nm usually but the bom helps with further distances especially when deciding which way to divert around my parts as sometimes the distances can be large.
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Old 29th Oct 2017, 08:22
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It can be very dangerous and the use of it has been a factor in at least 1 MY 210 fatal crash.

The future away from the BOM radar the image painted,the higher altitude of the weather it is.

So when you are far from say Darwin you will be seeing only the weather at say 5,000 feet.

On the NOM site, they give a number you can call for more info. Call it!
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Old 29th Oct 2017, 11:11
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I would never suggest NOT using the BOM radar simply because it has certain limitations.

A good pilot will always use ALL relevant information available for decision making purposes.

But just because something is not painting on the BOM radar doesn't mean it isn't there. Having said that, CB's of significance usually will paint on the BOM radar, in my experience.

You could, for example, use the BOM radar to tell you where NOT to go.

I use it to tell me when to doubt a TAF. For example, a TAF might make no mention of CB's when in fact the BOM radar shows plenty of CB's in the area.

I also use civilian forecasts. I don't know how many times the TAF has been silent on the subject of TS's, but then driving to work listening to the radio they say "chance of storms". And sometimes the civilian forecast is right and the TAF is wrong.

Hmmm. It's the same BOM, but for some reason they say "chance of storms" to joe public but hide that possibility from pilots. Maybe because it's less than PROB30 so they don't have to put it on the TAF.

I think it's time the BOM employed some pilots to change their attitude on that subject. They pull the same shit with FG and I've stated my opinion about that on this forum previously.

I've always suspected the BOM get under-the-table gratuities from airlines because every time they put FG or TS on a TAF the airlines have to carry more fuel, and that costs money.
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