Be it on ground or Air, atmosphere is everywhere.
On an approach to landing, we can feel a sudden change in momentum of aircraft and increasing sound of engines and climb out discontinuing the descend, We call it a go around. There may be multiple reasons to it, this time it was runway not visual at decision height. I can hear fellow passengers analysing reason as rain. Weather is one of the topmost factors for a flight operation.
Traveling on road Vs Air travel
Driving on road is a two-dimensional mode of transport where vehicle tyres are sticking to ground, and roads navigate us. Whereas for air travel, aircraft is immersed into the atmosphere and 3rd dimension brings exponential change in the control. We are much more exposed to weather then water or surface transport. Moreover, aircraft has to act as both a ground vehicle as well as air vehicle.
Phases of Flight & weather
In all phases of flight weather plays a crucial role. Visibility, density, temperature, pressure, humidity, wind direction, strength & more. So many factors needs to be taken care of.
On ground, runway in use is decided based on wind direction, length of runway required is subject to wind strength, visibility and more.
Initial climb route and performance is dependent on wind, any cloud formation. Route for flight is chosen based on conducive weather including clouds, thunderstorms, wind direction and the like. Any deviation due to weather may result in increased flight time. Approach and landing are subject to prevailing weather conditions.
Observations & Forecasts
As weather information is paramount for safe & optimum operation of any flight. Present observations are taken and disseminated through established channels over a period. Similarly, Forecasts are done by designated agencies to help plan flying.
In India, Indian Meteorological Department is the prime agency to support flight operations by providing these observations and Forecasts. Round the clock monitoring of weather is done using state of art ground & satellite-based equipment including Radars and instruments. Many proven age-old methods are still used as they remain the basics e.g., mercury barometer to measure pressure, weather balloon tagged with radio sonde to report conditions at different altitude and more. One of the most basic and omnipresent instruments is windsock.
In addition to the observations taken by instruments, Pilot also report conditions faced by them. The same many times help other Pilots.
Weather radars onboard aircraft and Strom scope help scanning nearby clouds or any hazardous weather conditions.
With technology advancement, data link is available in most of the modern aircraft that allows them to receive most updated weather Information. The same is shown on relevant display units in cockpit.
All Weather Operations
With precise weather reporting and forecasts alongside instruments on ground and in aircraft enable all weather operations. Be it bypassing a thunderstorm or bad cloud or operating in near zero visibility, Aviation remain the safest mode of transport for ages and will be. Thanks to technological innovations and dedicated personnel of Meteorology departments, we do not pay heed to weather while boarding a commercial flight.
*OFLY objective is to disseminate fair and genuine information regarding Aviation. We do not represent any specific flight school. Author of this blog is an Indian Private Pilot and keen observer of Indian aviation market. He has flown with multiple flying training schools of India. He enjoys mentoring people who wish to be a commercial / hobby Pilot. He can be approached at firstname.lastname@example.org for consultation.