Supporting safety for General Aviators

GA plane

The extensive range of products and services that the Met Office provides on behalf of the CAA to support airlines operating globally is well known. What is perhaps less well known is the commitment that the Met Office places in supporting the flight safety and well-being of the UK’s general aviation community.

General Aviation briefing portal

The Met Office provides a General Aviation briefing portal, which contains all the weather information that most general aviators typically require when planning a flight. That’s all well and good of course, but these forecasts are only truly valuable if pilots have the information to fully understand how their content can be used to contribute to their safe flying. For example, as a private pilot do you really know what weather to expect behind the cold front that you see on a synoptic chart, and do you know what’s going on between your departure airfield and your arrival airfield? What happens if something unexpected happens to the weather during your flight – do you have a plan to manage that?

Working with GASCo

Because the Met Office places an emphasis on promoting flight safety for private pilots, we are pleased to be members of GASCo, the General Aviation Safety Council. GASCo is a not for profit charitable trust that has, at its core, the objective to promote best practices for all GA pilots, whether they operate fixed wing aircraft, balloons or gliders, or other flying machines, ensuring they have the tools to keep safe in the air. As well as sitting on the council meetings which meet 3 times a year, the Met Office, in conjunction with GASCo, hosts a highly popular Weather Safety Seminar at the Met Office, annually.

This year’s event took place on 20th September. The Seminar focused on helping pilots to understand fronts and air masses, and interpret the aviation forecast products typically used by GA pilots. The event was extremely well received by GASCo and the 25 pilots in attendance, whilst also generating revenue to support GASCo in continuing to promote safety to the GA community.

This is one of a number of initiatives designed to help improve awareness and understanding of Met Office products. For example, we have also just generated a GA newsletter and continue to develop a Pilot Resource Portal. Taken together, we hope these activities will usefully support the aviation forecast products that are used by aviators.

Darren Hardy

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