As a pilot, I’m very aware of the impact that weather has on flight plans. Using weather services makes all the difference in whether a journey goes off without a hitch or a trip is delay-plagued.
The good news is that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) puts out regular advisories, so pilots always know what to expect. I have reviewed handbooks and circulars for pilots to familiarize themselves with these services.
Table of Contents
Types of aviation weather services
- FAA advisory circulars – This type of FAA publication provides important guidance on compliance and airworthiness regulations, with weather analyses, forecasts and observations included
- Aviation weather services handbooks – Pilots and student pilots can benefit from this handbook, which enables wiser decisions based on weather analysis, forecasting, and observation
- Aviation weather handbooks – These handbooks use an array of helpful charts and diagrams, accompanied by helpful information on available tools
The Best Aviation Weather Services for Private Pilots
My picks for the best aviation weather services are:
- the best overall tool for understanding aviation weather information, the Aviation Weather Services Advisory Circular AC 00-45H
- a handbook providing essential information on the interpretation of water data, the Aviation Weather Services Handbook
- the most comprehensive collection of advisory circulars (AC) from the FAA, the Aviation Handbook 8083-28
- a handbook providing all necessary FAA information in an accessible format, the Gleim Aviation Weather And Weather Services 7th Edition
Aviation Weather Services Advisory Circular AC 00-45H
I find the Aviation Weather Services Advisory Circular AC 00-45H helpful because it covers the weather essentials: observation, analysis, and forecasts. Besides being one of the most thorough weather guides available, I appreciated its availability in paperback and Kindle.
All the weather essentials students need to learn before taking exams are here. This publication should be an essential part of a pilot’s library, regardless of the career stage.
The illustrations are in full color, making them much easier to follow. Location tables for weather stations, as well as conversion charts, also come in handy.
Aviation Weather Services Handbook
The Aviation Weather Services Handbook provides one of the most comprehensive primers on interpreting weather data that I’ve found. I enjoy seeing National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Weather Service (NWS) contributions that help put everything into a proper perspective.
One thing I found particularly helpful was the book taking transitions from print to electronic sources into account. The handbook describes how to use these tools instead of only what they do, which makes it particularly helpful.
Some of the visuals include:
- Color photos
- Satellite images
This handbook includes an in-depth chapter on each of the weather-related concepts covered. I also found the map of the weather data network, density altitude calculations, conversion chart, and appendices with definitions helpful.
Anyone who needs the most comprehensive information on flight weather will benefit from this handbook. I found its availability on Kindle, as well as paperback, most helpful.
Aviation Handbook 8083-28
I think the Aviation Weather Handbook 8083-28 is another one of the most convenient tools available. Its compilation of all previous advisory circulars provides one of the best go-to sources on the market that I’ve used.
There are also 28 information-packed chapters on topics ranging from the Aviation Weather Service Program to the aviation weather tools available. This handbook is my overall pick for those who want the most information in one convenient place.
Gleim Aviation Weather And Weather Services 7th Edition
The Gleim Aviation Weather And Weather Services 7th Edition handbook is the best option I’ve found in a conventional reference book format. All the necessary weather publicans are there, in an easy-to-digest format.
This book is an exceptional reference tool for anyone seeking an instrument rating. The range of resources available would give anyone an advantage for their oral and practical tests.
A feature I enjoyed was the presence of quality illustrations in the glossary which makes a lot of the information more relevent. Anyone who wants an advantage when taking these tests will find it by reading this book.
What weather sources has the FAA approved?
Approved sources of weather information for pilots include the Enhanced Weather Information System (EWINS), the federal government, and commercial weather information providers.
What is the weather app most pilots use?
ForeFlight is the most popular weather app that pilots use.
How do pilots get weather information?
Flight service stations (FSS) are the primary source for pilot weather information. Briefings are available by calling 1-800-WX BRIEF from the U.S. 24 hours a day.
Has the FAA approved ForeFlight?
ForeFlight has received approval as an FAA-qualified Internet communication provider(QICP).