The weather is an important factor for your flying comfort. Do you wish to know the weather conditions at takeoff, cruise and landing? Wind, humidity, turbulence… This article gives you the keys to analyze the weather like a pilot, so you can take off without fear and anxiety!
Why it’s useful to know the weather forecast for your flight
Pilots receive a weather briefing before each takeoff. It is an integral part of the flight briefing: it enables them to prepare the best route, i.e. the most comfortable for passengers.
What is not always known is that passengers on a commercial flight can also get information about the weather for their flight. There is a great deal of weather information available online, many of which is intended for amateur pilots.
As a passenger, mastering the data on your flight allows you to own it and to defuse certain anxieties related to the unknown. When you suffer from aviophobia, it can be a way to reassure yourself and not be surprised if you feel light turbulence once in cruise.
Above all, don’t worry if these methods indicate bad weather, wind or turbulence: these are perfectly normal data for air safety, as we will see at the end of the article. To be informed about the forecast for your flight is above all a question of comfort.
How can I find out the weather conditions related to my flight
The climatic conditions of a flight combine a certain amount of technical data that is not always easily interpreted. This article outlines how to collect some basic weather information that does not replace a weather briefing from an aviation professional.
First advice: checking the weather forecast is useless! The weather reports of the national channels show you the weather “on the ground”. Conditions at altitude are quite different. The weather on the ground can be a hint for landing and take-off, but these phases only last a few minutes.
Access departure and arrival METAR TAF reports
Pilots rely on standardized and condensed weather data for their flight schedule:
For example, a METAR report involves a significant amount of information in very few characters. Combined with a point on the ground, it provides information on wind conditions, visibility, visual range, weather phenomena, the nature of obstacles to vision, clouds, temperatures, etc…
Below is an example of a METAR report:
- LFMT 081300Z AUTO 21013KT CAVOK 29/09 Q1016 NOSIG
Still confused? Don’t panic! The first 4 letters are the ICAO code of an airport (here, the one of Montpellier). For the rest, you can use a site that decrypts for you the METAR TAF data of more than 4000 airports in the world, by clicking on this link :
Click on an airport to get its latest updated METAR report. You will find there all the useful indications for the flight. Click on the airport of departure and arrival for a detailed overview.
Create your flight schedule with Windy.com
Alternatively, the flight planner on Windy.com provides you with a wealth of information about your flight route. To use it, you need to open this page :
On the left, go to the Flight planner plugin and click on “Load”.
To activate it, right click on the map and click on ” Flight planner “..
In case you don’t see them, make the airports appear on the world map by clicking on the airplane shaped button at the bottom right of the screen.
Click on your departure airport and press Start.
Click on your arrival airport and press End.
You can then add intermediate airports and change the departure times.
You then get a dynamic flight plan. You can change the view by using the icons on the right side of the screen, to display in real time the winds, temperatures, clouds, storms, etc…