CHAPTER 5. Information Systems

Preflight Overview

A broadcast weather service allows you to see these products in the cockpit. Most systems offer a movable cursor that allows scrolling through the display to center on any location along the route. This capability, combined with the MFD’s range control, allows you to look for significant weather anywhere along the planned route of flight prior to departure.

Track Progress of Significant Weather En Route

The same scroll and range control features allow you to look ahead and check for weather conditions along upcoming portions of the flight route. Weather forecasts, such as TAFs, SIGMETs, and AIRMETs, issued after departure can be easily checked en route.

Investigate Weather Phenomena Reported by Radio

You can use cockpit weather systems to further investigate advisories received from HIWAS and other radio broadcasts. Another practical use is to check the METAR for a destination airport before flying in range of the airport’s ATIS broadcast. When you suspect that changing weather conditions have made continuation to the destination airport inadvisable, the radar and satellite features can be used to search for alternate airports. Since not all weather products can be viewed at once, a key pilot skill is the ability to determine which weather products to display at what times.

Broadcast Weather Products Versus Onboard Weather Sensors

Onboard weather sensor systems and broadcast weather services contribute to the weather decision-making process in slightly different ways. Broadcast weather services provide delayed information over a wider coverage area. Broadcast weather services are useful for making strategic decisions about which areas to fly into and which areas to avoid. Using a broadcast weather product to attempt to find a hole in a line of thunderstorms is inappropriate, since you cannot know if the current location of the thunderstorm cells is the same as when the broadcast weather product was generated. Onboard weather sensor systems provide real-time information about weather phenomena in the immediate proximity of the aircraft. Onboard weather sensor systems are useful when making immediate, close-range decisions about flying in the vicinity of potentially hazardous weather phenomena. You must keep in mind the limitations of onboard weather systems.

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