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Features December 2018 Issue

Preflight Briefings

The Aviation Weather Center homepage has a rich variety of planning tools, such as this EMS tool for helicopters that gives a detailed snapshot of IFR/MVFR coverage and hazards with emphasis on the lowest 5000 feet.

Preflight Briefings

Today, the Internet gives us myriad—mostly informal—sources to figure out the weather for our flight. Here’s what to look for as you brief the weather.

Be aware of the distinction between MSL and AGL. Cloud heights associated with airports are customarily given in AGL. But areal guidance products, area forecasts, and PIREPs, use MSL. Also, anything stated as a “ceiling” or carrying the “CIG” abbreviation is AGL. Since IFR and MVFR conditions are based upon ceiling height, centralized products will always use AGL ceilings when constructing an IFR/MVFR depiction. If there is any doubt, find the information ahead of time or talk to a briefer.

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