Improve your weather briefing skills with this hands-on course that shows you which tools to use, and what to look for when planning IFR flights.
Learn To Answer These Questions With Confidence:
If I fly somewhere today, how do I know if conditions will allow me to get home 4 days from now?
How can I predict if a thunderstorm will impact my route, or move over my destination before I land?
How do I know where rain showers will be, when they will happen, and how severe they might become?
How do I know if light to moderate rain on the NEXRAD is flyable, or should beavoided?
How much turbulence can I expect along my route, and where is the smoothest ride?
What altitude are the cloud bases, cloud tops, and icing levels at — and how will they impact my flight?
We Skip The Theory, And Show You How
Traditional weather books and training programs are heavy on meteorological theory that can leave pilots feeling overwhelmed and confused.
We heard from pilots who wanted a simplified weather program, one that gets right to the heart of it…
Which weather tools should I use (when)?
How do I find what I need?
That’s the focus of this program. It uses real scenarios and examples to teach weather briefing skills in a practical way.
Taught In A No-Nonsense Style
Jeff Van West
Vice President, Product Design and Strategy, CFII
You may know PilotWorkshop’s Creative Director, Jeff Van West, from our other programs: Real World VFR, Getting Started with Simulation, and IFR Mastery to name a few.
Jeff’s ongoing challenge is taking complex topics and simplifying them without losing the critical details. For this course, he took content from CFIIs, pilots, and meteorologist Scott Dennstaedt—and then stripped that content down into short, focused videos, each of which answers a single pre-flight weather question. These aren’t the simple questions you can address with a quick check of the weather, either. These are the tough questions—but the ones you really want help answering.
The result is a course that doesn’t cover everything weather, yet hits hard on the important briefing skills that Instrument pilots need to possess.
“Predicting Thunderstorm Movement” — Convective precipitation usually moves in two different ways. The line of precipitation usually moves in one direction while individual cells along the line move in another. Learn how to predict both motions along your route. (6 min)
This online program includes seventeen short video lessons, and quick access links to all the weather tools covered.
Understanding the limitations of ASOS/AWOS
We all use AWOS and ASOS twice: When we review METARs before a flight and when we tune the weather in the air. However, both systems have critical limitations few pilots understand, and key differences that every IFR pilot should know.
Finding thunderstorms hidden in a TAF
TAFs are one of the most difficult forecasts a meteorologist can make, which means critical information for IFR pilots can be downplayed or left out. This lesson explains how to read between the lines and when SHRA or VCSH really mean TSRA.
Catching stealth hazards with CWAs
Center Weather Advisories (or CWAs) fill in the gaps where there’s adverse weather, but it might not meet the criteria needed to generate a G-AIRMET or SIGMET. Find out where to find them, and why you should pay attention to what they tell you.
Finding potential mountain waves
Any time strong winds cross rising terrain, there’s a potential for significant turbulence. But it’s only with the right conditions that it turns into mountain waves extending thousands of feet above the ground. Learn the two conditions needed to create mountain waves.
Planning more than three days out
Go beyond the TAF and learn the crystal-ball tools that predict thunderstorms, precipitation, and ceilings, 72 hours or more before a flight. Use them to supplement the extended range prog charts and get a head start on your flight planning.
Forecasts for airports with no TAF
Many pilots know about tools like the MOS for airports that have no Terminal Aerodrome Forecast (TAF), but fewer know how the MOS works, what it’s weaknesses are, and when a distant TAF is useful for planning.
Picking an alternate when thunderstorms are forecast
We show you a quick way to plan a path with the least exposure to turbulence and the best options for a diversion. This is the key to departing with confidence on an IFR flight.
Predicting low-level windshear
Have you ever scared yourself trying to land in seriously gusty winds? It’s no fun, especially after a long IFR flight. Discover the secret to predicting the location and timing of low-level windshear potentially lurking at your departure and destination airports.
Finding IFR hotspots
A critical part of IFR planning is finding out where the actual rain showers will be, when they will happen and how severe they might become. Finding these IFR hotspots will give you a leg up planning your flight.
Assessing thunderstorm risk
Armed with NEXRAD in the cockpit, far too many pilots will fly through areas of precipitation they should have avoided. The best hints on whether to go through or around the rain aren’t in the NEXRAD, but in other weather products discussed here.
Interpreting NEXRAD before departure
There are a few key NEXRAD signatures you can’t get in the cockpit that are worth checking on the ground before you leave. They can provide a clue to unwanted weather like low-level windshear, gust fronts, strong turbulence, and even highly localized—but deadly—icing.
Predicting thunderstorm movement
Convective precipitation usually moves in two different ways. The line of precipitation usually moves in one direction while individual cells along the line move in another. This lesson explains why and how to predict both motions all along your route.
Locating hazards with G-AIRMETs and SIGMETs
The G-AIRMET is a significant improvement over the AIRMET because it lets you select different altitudes and forecast times, then lets you zoom into specific regions. Find out the best way to use this tool for more detailed planning.
Important Skew-T signatures for icing
If you’re flying IFR during the winter, your first-line tools are the icing G-AIRMET, icing SIGMETS, PIREPS and the Current and Forecast Icing Product. However, there are a few key icing signatures you can see on a Skew-T that other tools might miss.
Finding the smoothest ride
No one likes to get bumped around. The secret to avoiding turbulence is to identify the conditions that cause it in the first place. Finding the best altitude for the smoothest ride is easy when you know where to look.
Predicting stratus cloud bases and tops
Finding clouds on the Skew-T isn’t a perfect science. It works great in some circumstances, and in others it’s utterly useless. Learn when conditions are right for the Skew-T, and how to get the most useful information from it.
Predicting cumulus cloud bases and tops
The bases and tops of cumulus clouds are dynamic, but predicting them is essential when you need to go over, under, or between them. Here’s how to find out where they’ll be hours into the future.
Bonus: Weather Tool "Quick-Start" Videos
We’ve also included short videos that show you how to get started using the weather tools covered in this program. They highlight the important features and functions you should know how to use. Tools covered include:
Area Forecast Discussion
Convective and TS Outlook
G-AIRMET, SIGMET and CWA
Graphical Forecast for Aviation
Icing Tools CIP FIP
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I access this program?
A: Your training is available online via a secure, password-protected website. You can watch it on any computer, tablet or phone.
Q: Do you offer a USB Flash Drive option with this program?
A: No. Because weather tools change often, we need to make regular updates to the course which makes it impractical to deliver on a physical device that can’t be updated.
Q: Do you offer a Download version?
A: Yes, the online access version includes downloads of all the videos in the program.
Q: Will my online access to the program ever expire?
A: No. Once you register your login credentials, they never expire. You will always have access to the program.
Q: Can I access the program from more than one computer or device?
A: Yes. With your login info, you can access the site from any device as often as you want.
90 Day Money-Back Guarantee!
If you aren’t completely satisfied we’ll give you a full refund. No questions asked! PilotWorkshops.com has been an A+ rated member of the Better Business Bureau since 2006.
You can earn 3 WINGS credits for completing this program: 1 basic, 1 advanced and 1 master. An easy way to stay current and advance within the WINGS program!
IFR Weather Briefings
– Get started now with instant online access
– Watch on any computer, tablet or phone
USB Flash drives are not available for this course due to the frequency of updates.
You can download any of the videos (optional) with your online access.