Has the weather become too dangerous to risk flying?

The Air Asia 8501 crash is causing people to focus anxiously on severe weather as a new danger to flying.  It is not.   The aviation industry has a deep understanding and respect for weather, built up over a century of continuous operations.  Authorities have used this knowledge to set conditions on airlines that enable aircraft to operate safely year-round.  These restrictions often limit flight operations. I was asked on a TV interview on Tuesday whether an e-mailed weather briefing rather than a face-to-face briefing might be the cause of Air Asia’s fatal encounter with a thunderstorm. I answered that it makes no difference.  It’s exactly the same report, and pilots are trained to interpret that information.  Before a flight, a pilot receives a comprehensive weather briefing in a set format.  It tells the pilot three main things: the current and predicted weather at the departure airport, the en-route weather, and the...(Read Full Post)