top of page

Weather & Aviation | Aviation Meteorology

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.