Updated: Aug 24
Hello and thanks for reading the 28th edition of EZNews!
We really appreciate those that have recently joined, renewed their annual membership or signed up for auto-renewal. For members new to EZWxBrief, you won't find EZWxBrief in the App Store or Google Play Store. For the best user experience, EZWxBrief is optimized to run as a progressive web app (PWA) and must be installed on your device which takes less than 10 seconds per device. Follow the link above or see the 140+ page Pilots Guide for more information on how to install EZWxBrief as a PWA on all of your devices. Also check out our playlist on YouTube for some helpful videos on how to use the various features found in EZWxBrief.
Weather Essentials for Pilots online class coming soon...
Starting Monday, January 8, 2024, a new twelve week aviation weather course called Weather Essentials for Pilots will begin. This unique class will be taught exclusively by Dr. Scott Dennstaedt. The course will be designed to fill in the missing knowledge and piece together the various weather guidance pilots need to make more confident decisions to depart on a proposed flight. Please note that this is not meant to teach you how to use the EZWxBrief progressive web app. This course is specifically directed at certificated private/commercial pilots and flight instructors who feel their aviation weather knowledge is significantly lacking and is open to pilots with and without an instrument rating. Putting it succinctly, this is meant to be a slight notch above a beginner level. For most students attending, 20% of the class will be a review of basic aviation weather topics and the other 80% will be new or untaught material.
The class will be held at 8 pm eastern time on Monday. Each session will last 1 hour with 15 minutes added to allow for questions (a total of ~75 minutes). The sessions will be held using Google Meet and each session will be recorded for those that cannot attend live. The recording will be made available the following day to those attending the class. The class size will be limited to allow for active Q&A during each session. A final syllabus will be provided to those registered in early January.
The cost of the class will be set at $395 for each attendee (no refunds will be given once the first class begins). Two books will be recommended, but are optional. These can be purchased prior to class. If you are interested, please send an email to email@example.com. We currently have enough interest in the course for it to be held. A waiting list will be started once the class has reached maximum capacity. The specifics on how to register will be sent out in a future blog post and via email to those that have expressed an interest.
"Who's who in aviation & weather" YouTube series kicked off in June
In case you missed it, the first episode of "Who's Who in Aviation & Weather" aired on Saturday, June 17th and turned out really well. You can view this 30 minute interview with Captain Doug Morris who has the unique credentials of being both a meteorologist and the captain of a Boeing 787 for Air Canada.
This new program will bring you the latest news and insights from the top minds in the aviation and weather industries. With a focus on weather, each month we'll feature interviews with leading experts on topics such as air traffic control, flight safety, forecasting, flight instruction and more. We'll also explore the latest trends and developments in these fields, and provide you with the information you need to stay ahead of the learning curve. So join us every four to six weeks as we explore the latest news and trends in these two fascinating industries.
On Wednesday, August 30, 2023 at 1:30 pm EDT, we will be talking to Dave Hubner. He's the Senior Director, Aviation Services from SiriusXM Aviation. We'll chat with Dave about datalink weather and how that has impacted the general aviation market over the last 20 years.
On the schedule for later this year and early next year, we will be interviewing some other industry experts to include John Zimmerman of Sportys, Gary Reeves of PilotSafety.org, Max Trescott of Aviation News Talk, Ben Bernstein of Leading Edge Atmospherics and Dan Adriaansen of NCAR. This should be a lot of fun.
> How to watch <
The program will be hosted live on EZWxBrief's YouTube channel. If you cannot attend live, the episodes are recorded and will become available on the same channel shortly after the live broadcast ends. You can also find them in the Who's Who in Aviation & Weather playlist. The exact date and time for future episodes will be announced through this blog and will appear on the EZWxBrief YouTube community page.
AirVenture 2023 was a huge success!
It was great to meet many of you at AirVenture this year either at the EZWxBrief booth in Hangar C or at one of Dr. Scott Dennstaedt's nine presentations including one with Gary "GPS" Reeves. Scott had the chance to demo version two of the EZWxBrief progressive web app to dozens of attendees throughout the week. It was great to hear the positive feedback.
The weather at the show was outstanding, but a little on the warm side during the middle of the week. There were a few heavy rain showers and thunderstorms that rolled through the Oshkosh area, but most of those were in the late evening and overnight hours and did not significantly affect the event. We look forward to seeing everyone in 2024.
Are you required to call Flight Service to get a preflight briefing?
The short answer is no. The regulations do not specifically state that you must call Leidos, formerly Lockheed Martin Flight Service (LMFS), at 800-WX-BRIEF to get a briefing. 14 CFR Part 91.103 (a) simply states, in part:
§ 91.103 Preflight action.
Each pilot in command shall, before beginning a flight, become familiar with all available information concerning that flight. This information must include—
(a) For a flight under IFR or a flight not in the vicinity of an airport, weather reports and forecasts, fuel requirements, alternatives available if the planned flight cannot be completed, and any known traffic delays of which the pilot in command has been advised by ATC.
Certainly, a phone call on a recorded line to Flight Service (now known as Leidos) will fulfill most of these requirements. Briefers can provide the adverse weather along your proposed route of flight and assist you with identifying important NOTAMs and TFRs that may be relevant. You still must check many other aspects of the flight such as takeoff and landing distances as well as weight and balance. But from a weather perspective, can you skip the call to Leidos and roll your own “weather” briefing and be perfectly legal?
Yes, you can, but here are the caveats. The Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) and advisory circulars such as Aviation Weather Services, AC 00-45H, Change 2, provide you with guidance on how to get a good preflight briefing. These documents mention making the call to 800-WX-BRIEF as a legitimate source. While these documents are not regulatory, if you decide to roll your own briefing and something bad happens during your flight, you will likely need to show the FAA how you briefed yourself for the flight. If you can’t or if your explanation isn’t satisfactory, the FAA will likely cite this as being “careless or reckless” under 14 CFR 91.13 since they handed you the proper recipe for a briefing in these non-regulatory documents which clearly states that it is wise to make that phone call.
Nevertheless, the FAA is making a reasonable attempt to recognize that more and more pilots are briefing on their own and not making that phone call. In the revision memorandum in AC 00-45H, Change 2 (November 2016) it states:
“The experience of listening to a weather briefing over a phone while trying to write down pertinent weather information becomes less tolerable when the reports are easily obtainable on a home computer, tablet computer, or even a smart phone. To see weather along your route using a graphic of plotted weather reports combined with radar and satellite is preferable to trying to mentally visualize a picture from verbalized reports. Although most of the traditional weather products, which rolled off the teletype and facsimile machines decades ago, are still available, some are being phased out by the National Weather Service (NWS) in favor of new, Web-based weather information.”
Moreover, in a letter dated June 28, 2017 from the Assistant Chief Counsel of the FAA stated in a legal interpretation that, “The PIC’s failure to contact LMFS prior to a flight would not be a violation of § 91.103.” How about using one of the heavyweight electronic flight bag (EFB) apps to get your briefing? Yes, some of the heavyweight apps also provide a way to get a briefing that is logged and recorded that will fulfill the regulatory requirements in part. In fact, the FAA stated in the same opinion letter that, “Similarly, a PIC’s reliance on only an EFB would not be a per se violation of § 91.103.” The letter also cautioned that, “We note however, that there may be limitations and quality assurance issues in connection with the information available through certain EFB products that may affect compliance with § 91.103 and necessitate further information gathering regarding the flight.”
The EZWxBrief progressive web app is not an official source of weather, but certainly can provide supplemental weather guidance. For many EZWxBrief users, the typical scenario is to use EZWxBrief for their primary briefing and then make the call to Flight Service or get a briefing through one of the many heavyweight flight planning apps in order to document their attempt to fulfill 14 CFI 91.103 (a). We are in a discussion with Leidos at this time to build an interface to have this capability within the app.
Most pilots are weatherwise, but some are otherwise™
Dr. Scott Dennstaedt
Weather Systems Engineer
CFI & former NWS meteorologist