Frontal Weather

Now that we’re staring at the weather picture from the depths of winter, perhaps you’ve been re-acquainted with how fronts make an impact on the weather. Fronts truly form one of the building blocks of meteorology. In the Air Force forecasting school I attended years ago, fronts were the very first topic that followed the […]

Changing of the Guard

You’re flying along, listening to a controller issue instructions to many aircraft. From one second to the next, you suddenly start hearing a different controller’s voice. You haven’t changed frequencies. They’re seemingly picking up where the first one left off. Controllers are used to hearing voice changes from an aircraft. Many times a day, I’ll […]

Ice Is Not Nice

Icing affects flight operations in many ways. Accordingly, we offer some thought-provoking reports from pilots who’ve been there. Little has been said about instrument malfunctions due to icing, and we discuss those in particular. Chilly Carburetors An instrument-rated Commercial pilot operating VFR experienced a sudden power interruption in his Cessna 150, followed by a surge […]

Vertical Air Movement

Heading into another winter season, our thoughts begin shifting to cold-weather flying hazards—fog, icing, and widespread precipitation. Most pilot training considers each of these factors individually. But most of them share a common cause, and it’s rooted in the weather patterns. Because of that, most pilots will be ahead of the game if they can […]

Reading the Sky

Part of being able to forecast comes from reading the sky, because so much of what’s taking place in the atmosphere can be seen visually. When I worked the forecast counter in the Air Force, I occasionally stepped over to the window for a quick look while filling out the weather briefing forms. The pilots […]

Tropical Weather

Entering the dog days of summer, our attention shifts to the south. Rich moisture, weaker winds, and an increase in thunderstorms are classic signs that tropical moisture has entered the forecast equations. The media also becomes filled with headlines about hurricanes and tropical storms. And perhaps your cross-country trips even take you south to the […]


On a warm summer afternoon, a two-ship flight consisting of a Beech A-36 Bonanza and a Piper PA-31 Navajo lifted off from Newport, Rhode Island. One made it through a looming storm; one didn’t. Short Trip The two airplanes made a gradual right turn to the southwest out over the grayish- blue waters of Rhode […]

Summer Patterns

Summertime almost certainly means vacations, cookouts, and maybe some time on the beach. There are airshows, fly-ins, $100 hamburgers, and of course AirVenture at the end of July. Whatever the destination, there’s a good chance you’ll be putting in some flight hours in the coming months. Flying outside your home area means unknown weather patterns […]

A Radar Primer

Radar, whether we're talking air traffic control, thunderstorm detection, navigation, or even air combat, is a technology that has shaped the history of flight...

Inside AWOS And ASOS

How many times have you heard a report like this? “Podunk Municipal airport, automated weather observation, 2347 Zulu. Weather, wind 050 at 12 knots,...


With summer approaching, we often think about those hot temperatures, high density altitudes, and storms. But another factor enters the picture: moisture. High relative...

Dangerous Radar Data

Another season of turbulent spring weather is just ahead, so it’s a good time to go over storm safety. We’ll do that once again...