January 9, 2015
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)