What weather prevents flying?

I’ve had two flying sessions cancelled and have another one scheduled soon, I’m worried that it’ll be cancelled again due to weather and wanted some clarification on what causes it to be cancelled, if it helps it’s in the grob tutor rather than Viking t1.

The weather on the day will:

  • have winds up to 11 mph but mostly at about 7
  • have a temperature at around 15°C
  • rain a bit at 16:00 and then a bit again at 18:00
  • and according to apple weather have a visibility at around 15 miles

This may be over the top but I just want to manage expectations as my chances to fly are very limited due to my late joining age.

Thanks for any help

At first sight, that seems to be a good day for flying - before the forecast rain of course - depending on the location / air traffic cover, there might be a “stop” before 1600 hrs anyway.

Many AEFs use a military forecast, for example RAF Wittering’s ICAO identifier is EGXT. Their forecast from yesterday (called a TAF).

Note - a military forecaster won’t be using Apple weather; as you can see, Wittering doesn’t have a TAF issued for today yet.

The visibility might be great at 15 miles, but if the cloud base is solid at only 500 ft - guess what, no flying, normally aiming for “Visual Flight Rules” weather.

Other “no fly” factors would include freezing conditions (need to de-ice the aircraft & runway), fog, & strong winds (think it is more for a parachute landing consideration rather than aircraft crosswind limit).

I tend to also look at the BBC forecast - it gives a another insight into local conditions. You can register for the Met Office information too.

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As @MikeJenvey says, ‘civilian’ weather forecasts like smartphone apps don’t always reflect the things which matter for flying, which are typically:

cloudbase - too low, no flying; lowish, flying but staying in the aerodrome circuit; not so bad - flying but no aerobatics
visibility - anywhere below 6000m starts to cause an issue, though I don’t know what the AEF limits are and they may be different at different sites due to local hazards
wind strength, gusts and crosswind - the latter is less of a problem with multiple runways but typically it’s only the AEF who are limited by this, so the RAF doesn’t maintain cross runways (e.g. Benson) any more
significant weather hazards e.g. cumulonimbus with updraughts, hail, lightning

Get the Weather Pro app (free version) and learn to read a TAF. (Although Weather Pro will decode them for you, it’s a skill worth having.) Whenever flying for my cadets is cancelled, I send them the TAF and talk them through it. At least they learn something!

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All flying today cancelled as there is a Met Office strike - hence the lack of Wittering TAF!

So no weather cancelled flying !

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Yes: I have to assume that knowledge of the weather forecast is part of the risk assessment for cadet flying. I mean, it must be…

Risk assessment - look out of window - stone on string is dry (it’s not raining), stone on string is not leaning out to one side (no gale force winds)…

Stone missing batten down the hatches.

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1500ft cloudbase minimum for cadet flying and a max of 25kts wind.


Good idea - I ignore the decode within such apps & read the raw TAF / METAR - it makes more sense to me! :wink:

The TAF for Wittering did appear eventually.

What’s the min vis?

Cloud base rather than ceiling? That would explain why a lot get cancelled…!

5k in the local area

I wouldn’t want to get foggy and tornado mixed up…