As a student pilot, you will learn the basics of weather and weather forecasting products. The challenge is to learn to make the go/no-go decision. As with most important skills, this comes with experience. Here’s my checklist for a student pilot to use to start to obtain this experience during their flight training.
- Start by reading through the Preflight, Inflight, PostFlight and Safety Tips sections of the General Aviation’s Pilots Weather Guide at: http://www.hf.faa.gov/weatherdecisionguide/default.aspx
- Read How to obtain a good weather briefing.
- Register for a DUAT or DUATS account using your student pilot certificate number (it may take a few months before your student certificate number is recognized by the registration process. Check out the visual weather products. Get a briefing for flight.
- Register for an account at Lockheed Martin Flight Service https://lmfsweb.afss.com/Website/. Check out the visual weather products. Get a briefing for flight.
- Obtain a weather briefing from Automated Flight Service at 1-800-WX-BRIEF. You will need to provide the briefer with this information:
- 1. Pilot Qualifications (e.g., Student, Private, Instrument)
- 2. Type of Flight (VFR/IFR)
- 3. Aircraft N-Number or Pilot’s Name
- 4. Aircraft Type
- 5. Departure Airport
- 6. Route of Flight
- 7. Destination/Alternate
- 8. Flight Altitude(s)
- 9. Estimated time of departure, and estimated duration
- Follow along on ADDS Standard Briefing page at http://www.aviationweather.gov/stdbrief/ to visualize the weather products as the briefer walks you through the briefing.
- For each lesson, obtain a weather briefing and complete a Aviation Weather Analysis Form and Weather Analysis Checklist for the flight. Bring to the flight lesson and brief your instructor on the weather risks. Also be sure to obtain any NOTAMs that apply to the flight, and information on TFRs that may affect the flight.