Updated: Nov 13
Hello and thanks for reading the 31st edition of EZNews!
We really appreciate those that have recently joined, renewed their annual membership or signed up for auto-renewal. A big thanks goes out to Joe S. who renewed his annual membership for $75. We truly appreciate your generosity which helps support our continued innovation and growth moving forward.
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 January 2024...
Starting Monday, January 8, 2024, a new twelve week basic aviation weather course called Weather Essentials for Pilots will begin. This unique class will be taught live by Dr. Scott Dennstaedt. Just to set your expectations, think of this as an Aviation Weather 102 class. In other words, the course isn't designed to overwhelm or challenge you with a ton of advanced meteorology concepts. At the other extreme, don't expect the class to be a bunch of basic lessons on how to decode a raw METAR, TAF or PIREP. Moreover, it is not meant to teach you how to use the EZWxBrief progressive web app, nor will you learn how to read a Skew-T log (p) diagram. Instead, the bulk of the sessions will focus on building the necessary foundation to get the most from the weather guidance that all pilots should be using to make more confident decisions prior to closing the door on the cockpit to depart.
In a nutshell, this 12-week 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 this twelve week course, 20% of the material will be a review of basic aviation weather topics and the other 80% will be new or untaught material to focus on the gaps of knowledge present with most certificated pilots.
The class will be held at 8 pm eastern time on Mondays beginning on January 8, 2024. Each session will last 60 minutes with 15-20 minutes added to allow for questions and spillover (a total of 75-80 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 everyone registered for the class. The class size will be limited to allow for some Q&A during each session.
> What is the cost? <
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 (allow 7 days for delivery). If you would like to attend and have not yet sent us your interest, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and you will be the first to be notified when the official registration goes live. 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 for this new course will be sent out in the December EZNews and via email to those that have already expressed a sincere interest in attending.
> "Who's who in Aviation & Weather" YouTube series continues...
We had a great time chatting with Dan Adriaansen of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in our latest "Who's Who in Aviation & Weather" series. You can view this 30 minute video with Dan. Dan is working on the next generation high resolution version of the Current and Forecast Icing Products. We ask Dan about the importance of icing pilot weather reports for their research and discuss his thoughts about the future for icing forecasts.
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.
Stay tuned for our next live program on Thursday, November 16th at 3 pm EST. We are very excited to be talking with Gary (GPS) Reeves of PilotSafety.org. Gary is an extremely talented flight instructor with a very humble attitude about instrument flying. He likely knows more about using the aircraft's automation in the cockpit than most pilots will ever care to know or remember. Mostly, he is just a fun guy to chat with.
On the schedule for the next few months, we will be talking with industry experts to include John Zimmerman of Sportys in early December and early next year we chat with Max Trescott of Aviation News Talk, Mark Robidoux of PilotWorkshops.com and Julie Boatman of FLYING magazine.
> 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.
>Register today for an upcoming free webinar in November
Want to learn more about datalink weather? Well, here's your chance. Register now for 5 Things You Must Know About Datalink Weather presented by Dr. Scott Dennstaedt and hosted by SiriusXM Aviation. Mark your calendar, this 60 minute webinar will be held Thursday, November 16, 2023 at 7:00 pm EST. You can register for this new webinar and watch other recorded webinars here. Hope to see you in attendance on November 16th!
>New TAF service for Durant Regional Airport (KDUA)
Effective Wednesday, November 1, 2023 at 1800Z, the NWS office in Norman, Oklahoma will begin TAF service for the Durant Regional Airport – Eaker Field (KDUA) in Durant, Oklahoma. After that date, routine TAFs will be issued for this airport 24 hours a day.
> The new Aviation Weather Center website is now live
On October 16, 2023 at 1500Z, the Aviation Weather Center (AWC) updated their website to include a whole new look and feel. With this update came a fair number of changes, many of them not so welcome. First, EZWxBrief uses an interface with the AWC to pull in the various layers on the EZMap. Some of the changes were not expected and many were undocumented and caused the EZMap to no longer render. This took nearly two full days to diagnose the issues and make the necessary changes to get the app fully operational.
Perhaps the most significant long-term effect is that the AWC decided to terminate the generation of dozens of static images on their site many of which EZWxBrief imported into the EZImagery view. The imagery collections that are no longer available include -
Lowest Freezing Level from the RAP
TCF, eTCF, ECFP
RAP/NAM Wind/Temp graphics
Satellite regional plots
Please note that if you have any of these imagery collections in your EZFavorites you will be asked to remove those from your favorite folders the next time you visit that favorite. We are working to find or build other comparable imagery to replace some of those that were removed. Moreover, as of December 1, 2023, some of the plots for CIP/FIP will also be removed from the EZImagery view.
> Center Weather Advisories (CWAs) in EZWxBrief
If you surveyed a group of general aviation pilots, it would probably not surprise you to learn that Center Weather Advisories are not a weather source that they use very frequently when planning a flight. However, Center Weather Advisories, or CWAs, are the “front lines” of aviation weather in the U.S. for adverse weather such as low IFR conditions, thunderstorms, icing, and turbulence. In the EZWxBrief progressive web app, they are shown on the EZMap as a cyan-colored polygon like the one below for an area of moderate turbulence (possibly severe for light aircraft as stated in the CWA text).
While they smell a lot like G-AIRMETs and SIGMETs, they are more of an in-flight advisory about current conditions than they are a planning tool or forecast. Therefore, it’s critical to look for these while en route to your destination and just before you close the door to depart. Now is a good time to mention that CWAs are not part of the ADS-B broadcast so you will not receive them while connected to a Stratus.
CWAs are issued by highly trained meteorologists at the Center Weather Service Units (CWSUs) located at the various Air Route Traffic Control Centers (ARTCCs) pictured below.
CWAs are issued to warn pilots of the following in-flight weather hazards:
Conditions meeting or expecting to meet convective SIGMET criteria
Moderate or greater airframe icing
Moderate or greater turbulence
Conditions at or approaching Low IFR
Sustained surface winds/gusts > 30 knots
Non-convective low level wind shear below 2,000 feet AGL
Volcanic ash, dust storms, or sandstorms
Unlike their G-AIRMET counterpart, CWAs are not routinely issued and have no defined schedule. Moreover, they have a very short lead time since they are issued on an as-needed basis. So it’s not unusual to see a CWA issued at 20 minutes past the hour to describe adverse weather that has evolved very rapidly. Once issued, CWAs are valid for two hours or less. If conditions are anticipated to persist beyond two hours, it will be indicated in the last line of the CWA text. As mentioned earlier, CWAs are not as valuable of a preflight planning tool because of its short lead time and duration. They tend to pop up as adverse weather evolves or develops in real time throughout the U.S. and along its coastal waters and into part of the Caribbean.
Forecasters at the CWSUs have a fair amount of latitude when issuing a CWA. Conditions do not have to meet national in-flight advisory criteria in terms of intensity or areal coverage. For example, unlike convective SIGMETs, CWAs for convection can be issued before thunderstorms have formed. That is, they can describe a broad area of towering cumulus or showery precipitation that is trending toward an aviation hazard within the next two hours especially in regions that may affect safe flow into or out of busy airspace. Convective SIGMETs issued by forecasters at the Aviation Weather Center (AWC) are more of a NOWcast that warn pilots about active areas of thunderstorms that have already met specific hazard criteria.
A good example of its complementary nature is a CWA for low IFR conditions. A G-AIRMET for IFR conditions is primarily directed at pilots flying under visual flight rules (VFR). It describes an area that may experience a ceiling and/or visibility below VFR minimums. However, what if a portion of the G-AIRMET region is also plagued with persistent low IFR conditions? This would be critical information for all pilots including those flying under instrument flight rules (IFR). The CWSU will often issue a CWA for these conditions especially when ceilings are at or below 500 feet and surface visibility is at or below 3 statute miles. You can see this in the EZWxBrief progressive web app below two CWAs have been issued (cyan polygon) as regions where there are low IFR conditions (magenta station markers) are within the larger G-AIRMET area of IFR conditions (purple polygon).
While CWAs can be issued at any time, they are generally coordinated with other agencies within NOAA to ensure meteorological consistency between products. This includes meteorologists at the AWC who are responsible for issuing the area forecast, G-AIRMETs, SIGMETs and convective SIGMETs. It’s pretty typical for the meteorologist at the CWSU to have a brief phone conversation with the appropriate meteorologist at the AWC before issuing a new CWA to be sure they are not duplicating advisories that may create confusion.
Most pilots are weatherwise, but some are otherwise™
Dr. Scott Dennstaedt
Weather Systems Engineer
CFI & former NWS meteorologist