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FSS Weather Briefing

Source: www.pilotworkshop.com/tips/fss-wx-briefing, Featuring Scott Dennstaedt

Subscriber question:

"Is a pilot required to get a standard briefing from Flight Service before each flight?"
- Jan P.

Scott:

"According to the NTSB, the simple answer is NO. The NTSB states...

Part 91 regulations do not specifically require the use of any particular sources of weather information for GA pilots, but do require that all pilots familiarize themselves with weather and weather forecast information before beginning a flight.

Certainly making a phone call to speak with a FSS briefer is a good idea, but can fall short of the information a pilot needs to make a go or stay decision when the weather is marginal or more complex. Many flights can be easily taken even though FSS gives you a lot of doom and gloom and some flights should not be taken even when FSS says that it shouldn't be a problem.

Convective icing during the warm season is a perfect example. Flying IFR through a field of congested cumulus clouds at temperatures below 0°C will produce moderate or greater airframe ice and potentially moderate or greater turbulence while in those clouds. However, if this area of convection does not meet convective SIGMET criteria, the Aviation Weather Center will not issue AIRMET Zulu or AIRMET Tango since these two en route advisories are for non-convective icing and non-convective turbulence. It is likely that FSS will not point out this threat during a standard briefing."