Updated: Jul 11
Tell everyone you heard about it here first! Loosely speaking, on the heals of the aviation area forecast (FA) that was retired in 2018, the word on the street is that the FAA/NWS will finally be retiring the legacy AIRMET as of February 2023. Certainly that is loooong overdue...about 10 years too late. In fact, the Aviation Weather Center stopped providing a graphical depiction of the legacy AIRMET many years ago. Since 2010, the G-AIRMET has been the operational product and as I discuss here, it's automatically generated from the G-AIRMET forecasts. However, the G-AIRMET forecast is not a textual product like the legacy AIRMET, it's completely graphical with a higher temporal resolution making it more useful to the pilot.
I expect there to be several Service Changes Notices (SCN) issued prior to the termination as well as a period of review to get the opinions of users for the impact of this change. This will likely need to be coordinated with Flight Service and other official outlets for weather. Many aviation apps that are still emotionally attached to the legacy AIRMET will also need to step up to the G-AIRMET concept. FIS-B provides both at this point so there's no major concern there. EZWxBrief is currently using G-AIRMETs on the EZMap display.
Just to be clear, this will only affect the legacy textual AIRMET and not SIGMETs or convective SIGMETs. Those will remain the same as they are today.
Most pilots are weatherwise, but some are otherwise™
Dr. Scott Dennstaedt
Weather Systems Engineer
CFI & former NWS meteorologist