AEA Pilot's Guide 2020-2021 - 43

S T O R Y

B Y

D A V E

H I G D O N

T

here's a line in a Bob Dylan song that works as another truism - and
it was written with no connection to meteorology whatsoever: "You
don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows."
Dylan was engaged in social commentary, evoking the name of an urban
guerrilla group called "The Weather Underground."
Today, many pilots use that line to note their use of one of today's myriad
weather-avoidance services and tools. Additionally, pilots never had it so good -
or, at least, had so many options for the weather information they use.
Oh, and one other thing. Today, many weather sources exist for use in the
cockpit - in-flight, and almost live. Some of the best in-cockpit options require a
subscription to a pay-for-use weather service.
Pilots also enjoy options that cost nothing to access. Both the for-a-fee and
free-for-all options require the investment in hardware to receive the weather
sought. But increasingly, those weather products also play on personal
electronics devices most of us already own.
As a pilot, do you own a smartphone? Probably or absolutely. There are
weather-information tools that run on smartphones, both Android- and iOSbased. And their use doesn't automatically violate any regulations of the Federal
Communications Commission.
How about a tablet computer, such as an iPad or Galaxy Tab? Good news,
again, weather-avoidance tools already available run on those devices, as well.
Beyond accessing weather-avoidance tools via sundry portable consumer
devices - both graphics- and text-based - pilots increasingly enjoy access to
in-cockpit weather on a growing list of panel-mounted avionics systems, some
of them providing the same services available on those PEDs but overlaid on
navigation or flight-instrument displays.
And did we mention that most of these services deliver weather data and
graphics on an almost-live basis? Yes, we did.
The only live, see-it-as-it-happens weather-avoidance tool flying today
remains airborne weather radar - that is, weather-avoidance tools originated
by and received by the inquiring aircraft's onboard radar. Those radar systems
remain the gold standard for airborne weather-avoidance decision-making,
and numerous systems exist from several manufacturers for use in a variety of
aircraft types and sizes.
Unfortunately, airborne weather radar remains unavailable for the majority of
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AEA Pilot's Guide 2020-2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AEA Pilot's Guide 2020-2021

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AEA Pilot's Guide 2020-2021 - Cover3
AEA Pilot's Guide 2020-2021 - Cover4
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