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IFR: Tactical Weather Planning

Featuring Bob Nardiello


"Bob, what if a solid line of weather had developed across your route and it was too large to deviate around. What would you do?"


"The answer to that is to land and let the weather pass. There are a number of airports along our route that we could land and allow the weather to pass and then file another flight plan and proceed to our destination.

But certainly, we would not approach this weather closely. Remember thunderstorm activity, convective activity, requires a wide berth. We don't want to get too close to these storms. Twenty miles is not too much to avoid this type of weather.

Put it down. Be sure you've become acquainted with the airports along the route so that you can select an appropriate airport to land your aircraft and wait out the weather."


"Are there any situations where you'd actually turn back?"


"Well that's possible if we pass a potential airport which would be a satisfactory waiting point, and then determine that…well things aren't quite as good as we might have thought they were. We can certainly turn back to an airport that's behind us. All we need to do is let ATC know what we'd like to do and then turn back to that airport and land. There's no need to continue on your route to your next available airport if the weather is not satisfactory along the route."


"Under what circumstances would you cross the line and get on the back side of the weather?"


"We would only do that if a couple caveats apply. One, we could cross the cold front without encountering any weather. This is somewhat problematical because at the time we initiate the crossing there may be no weather on the front, but once we reach the front we might find that weather is developing rapidly and we might get caught in the middle. So that's not a real good alternative if the potential exists for convective weather with the particular front involved.

Secondly, we would want to know that the front would pass our destination before our arrival. Otherwise there would be no point getting on the backside of the front only to find that the destination airport was still east of the front, as it might be in this particular case. So there'd be no point in doing that unless we were certain of frontal passage at the destination at our estimated time of arrival."

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