Mock Scenario: Due to your outstanding reputation as a skilled member of an aviation weather consulting team, you have been asked by a friend, who is an experienced general aviation (Skybrary) (Links to an external site.) pilot, to analyze the weather conditions and identify potential weather-related flight impacts for their planned upcoming flight from Daytona Beach, Florida to Prescott, Arizona.
Using flight-specific information and weather products provided, you will identify already existing or potentially developing weather phenomena at the departure and destination, and along the planned flight route, and discuss the associated aviation-related hazards/impacts at the departure and destination, and along the planned flight route due to the weather phenomena identified.
To complete the activity:
• Carefully read the instructions and requirements.
• Examine the Information section, which contains the flight-specific information and weather products.
By the end of this module (Module 7): Orient yourself to the activity, and get started on the analysis and interpretation. Contact your instructor if you need any clarification or guidance on what’s expected.
By the end of the next module (Module 8): Finalize and upload your submission within Module 8 Ultimate Wx Analysis Submission. Be sure to review the M8 Ultimate Wx Analysis Rubric prior to your submission.
Please proceed to the Activity Instructions section.
In this activity, you will be guided in analyzing the expected weather conditions and potential flight impacts and hazards for a flight in a general aviation (Skybrary) (Links to an external site.) aircraft. The flight is planned for a mid-March day, going from Daytona Beach International Airport in Florida to Prescott Regional Airport in Arizona, with a mid-way stopover to rest and refuel at Fort Worth International Airport.
You will be evaluating the weather and flight impacts and hazards for 1) the initial departure from Daytona Beach, 2) along the flight route between Daytona and Prescott, and 3) the landing at the final destination at Prescott, by analyzing and interpreting the weather products and information in the Information section.
Part 1 of the information section shows a US map with the departure, stopover, destination, and flight route annotated. A cross-section of the topography along the flight route is also provided in the following Google Maps:
• Daytona Beach International Airport (KDAB), elevation 33 feet, is located about 4 miles west of the Atlantic Ocean on the east coast of Florida. Map Image of Daytona Beach International Airport (Google Maps). (Links to an external site.)
• Prescott Regional Airport (KPRC), the elevation of 5,045 feet, is located in the Bradshaw Mountains of North Central Arizona. Map Image of Prescott Regional Airport (Google Maps). (Links to an external site.)
The planned departure time from Daytona Beach is 1200 Z, which is 8:00 am local time (Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)). After the estimated flight time for each leg of the trip, and the stopover time in Ft. Worth, the expected landing time in Prescott is around 0000 Z, which is 5:00 pm local time Mountain Standard Time (MST) (Arizona observes MST all year).
The planned cruising altitude is 18,000 feet. The departure, stopover location, destination, and flight route are identified on the weather maps and imagery.
In completing the evaluations and summary of the weather and its impacts and hazards to the flight, keep in mind the difference between weather and flight weather impacts and hazards. For example, fog and low clouds describe weather, and the associated impacts of fog and low clouds are low visibility and low cloud ceilings.
Please proceed to the Part I section.
First, you will evaluate the weather situation at the departure, along the flight route, and at the destination, by analyzing and interpreting the weather products and information presented on the referenced images of the Information section.
Write down the evaluations and calculations as specified in 1-3. You will use this information to complete your activity submission.
1. Analyze the US surface map with radar image overlay* (Image 2), the Southeast region infrared satellite image* (Image 4), and the KDAB surface weather for the planned departure (take-off) time of 8:00 am EDT (1200 Z) (Departure and Destination Surface Weather Tables) to identify:
A. Specific surface weather features or patterns, such as high and low-pressure systems, cold and warm fronts, and the pressure gradient (tight or loose), and associated wind speed (strong or weak) in the vicinity of KDAB
B. Any fog or clouds in the vicinity of KDAB. Specify if the clouds are layered or convective. If layered, specify it they are high or low-level clouds.
C. Precipitation (if present, specify intensity) or other significant weather in the vicinity of KDAB.
D. The difference between the wind direction and the runway orientation at KDAB (determined by comparing wind direction with runway orientation from the airport Google Map image (link provided in the Activity Instructions section).
E. For each item identified in A-D, state the specific map, image, and/or information used to make the identification.
2. Along the planned flight route at flight level between KDAB and KPRC – analyze the US surface map with radar image overlay* (Image 2), all infrared satellite images* (Images 3, 4, and 5), and the 500 mb map* ** (Image 6) to describe:
A. The height pattern (troughs/ridges) and wind flow pattern (meridional or zonal) along the route
B. How the wind is changing along the route, stating the numerical values of speed and stating in words the direction FROM which the wind is blowing
C. Any clouds along the route. State whether 1) the clouds are layered or convective, and 2) whether or not the aircraft is passing through clouds (determine this by calculating the 500 mb (flight level) dew point depression using data in the 500 mb station models).
D. Any precipitation (and its intensity) along the route
E. How the temperature is changing along the route, stating specific values of temperature with appropriate units
3. Analyze the US surface map with radar image overlay* (Image 2), the US infrared satellite imagery (Image 3) and Southwest region (Image 5) infrared satellite images*, and the KPRC surface weather for the planned destination (landing) time of 5:00 pm MST (0000 Z) (Departure and Destination Surface Weather Tables) to identify:
A. Specific surface weather features or patterns, such as high and low-pressure systems, cold and warm fronts, and the pressure gradient (tight or loose) and associated wind speed (strong or weak) in the vicinity of KPRC
B. Any fog or clouds in the vicinity of KPRC. Specify if the clouds are layered or convective. If layered, specify if they are high or low-level clouds.
C. Precipitation (if present, specify intensity) or other significant weather in the vicinity of KPRC.
D. Any differences between the wind direction and the runway orientation at KPRC (determined by comparing wind direction with runway orientation from airport Google Map image (link provided in the overview section above)).
E. For each item identified in A-D, state the specific map, image, and/or other information used to make the identification.
*The maps and imagery are valid for the segment(s) of the flight as annotated in the Information section.
Recall that the 500 mb map visualizes the weather conditions at the 500 mb pressure level, which is approximately 18,000 feet above mean sea level. Reference Module 6 Pressure and Wind Analysis.
Please proceed to the Part II section.
Next, you will evaluate the potential flight weather impacts and hazards based on your determination of the weather conditions in Part I.
Write down the following evaluations as you will use this information to complete your activity submission:
1. Based on your evaluation in Part I, determine, for both the departure (take-off) from KDAB, and the destination (landing) at KPRC, if:
A. Low cloud ceiling and/or low visibility conditions are present. If so, state the cause(s).
B. Low-level turbulence could be present. If so, state the cause(s).
C. Crosswinds could be present.
Justify each determination in A-C with evidence from the evaluation in Part I.
2. Based on your evaluation in Part I, along the flight route at flight level between KDAB and KPRC:
A. identify locations* where crosswinds will be present.
B. discuss any potential impact of the along-route winds to the predicted flight time and fuel requirements.
C. identify locations* where the potential of encountering convective turbulence, aircraft icing, low visibility, or hail damage exists.
D. identify locations* where the potential for a “high to low” scenario exists, and describe how this could impact the determination of the aircraft’s true altitude.
E. identify locations* where the potential of encountering mountain wave turbulence exists (hint: analyze page 1 of the weather information file).
Justify each determination in A-E with evidence from the evaluation in Part I.
*Describe locations using an appropriately identifying geographic reference, e.g., “over Central Texas”
Please proceed to the Submission Instructions and Requirements section.
Submission Instructions and Requirements
For the activity submission, formulate, a four-paragraph document, where each paragraph of the document meets the criteria specified and is presented in the following order:
• Paragraph 1 (30 points): Formulate a complete yet concise summary of the evaluations and calculations performed in 1-3 of Part I – Big Picture Evaluation of Expected Weather. The summary should address all points as outlined in 1-3.
• Paragraph 2 (30 points): Formulate a complete yet concise summary of the evaluations performed in 1 and 2 of Part II – Evaluation of Potential Flight Weather Impacts and Hazards. The summary should address all points as outlined in 1 and 2.
• Paragraph 3 (15 points): Address the following “What if” critical thinking questions, considering the typical local summer weather patterns for each location.
o Suppose the flight was instead taking place in the middle of the summer (vs. the spring).
What impacts and hazards could potentially exist for an afternoon take-off from Daytona Beach in the summertime scenario?
For a return trip from Prescott to Daytona Beach, what impacts and hazards could potentially exist for an afternoon take-off from Prescott in the summertime scenario?
• Paragraph 4 (15 points): Develop a few sentences of critical self-reflection on your preparedness to complete this activity. While engaging in self-reflection, the objective is to analyze things for what they are, not what you think they should be, with a perspective as if you were watching an event from a distance. In reflecting on your preparedness to complete the activity, consider the knowledge and skills you have acquired to this point in the course (from readings, lessons, and activities) as well as any learning or experiences previous to this course.
• Utilize mainly course resources – textbook, lessons, previously completed activities – to formulate your document. If any outside sources are utilized, provide a list of those sources at the bottom of your document.
• Develop your document using your own words, without directly quoting or paraphrasing from the course or outside resources. Any submission content determined by the instructor to be inauthentic (material from outside sources presented as your own work) will not receive credit and could prompt academic integrity violation procedures.
• Use correct spelling and grammar.
Please proceed to the Information section.
The tables provide the surface weather conditions at the airfield.
KDAB (Daytona Beach Int’l Airport, FL), elevation 33 feet
Expected Weather at Planned Departure Time (8:00 am EDT (1200 Z))
Dew Point Temperature 53°F
Sky Cover Overcast
Visibility 1/4 mile
Present Weather Fog
Sea Level Pressure 1021 mb
KPRC (Prescott Regional Airport, AZ), elevation 5045 feet
Expected Weather at Planned Arrival Time (5:00 pm MST (0000 Z))
Dew Point Temperature 22°F
Wind South 20 knots gusts to 30 knots
Sky Cover Clear
Visibility 10 miles
Present Weather none
Sea Level Pressure 1018 mb