Release notes for WeatherSpork version 4.3.5

  • Fixed a bug that caused a ceiling difference between Route Profile and Meteogram views.
  • Changed fill colors of crosswind component graph in Meteogram view to green (0 – 10 kts), yellow (11 – 15 kts) and red (16+ kts).
  • Changed line colors of prevailing wind graph in Meteogram view to green (0 – 10 kts), yellow (11 – 20 kts) and red (21+ kts).
  • Fixed a bug that caused icing G-AIRMET bases to be depicted improperly for FL450.
  • Removed Privacy Policy & Terms of Service links from About view in the app and web-based versions.

New weather imagery for you jet jockeys

If you are flying in the flight levels this summer and especially the upper flight levels, we have some new static weather Imagery for you!  We recently added to WeatherSpork version 4.3.4 new guidance that is going to be very popular with you jet jockeys out there.   It’s from the High Resolution Ensemble Forecast (HREF) which is updated four times a day and provides two probabilistic forecasts for echo top heights at hourly intervals with a lead time of 36 hours.

Two probabilistic forecasts are available in WeatherSpork.  You will find this in the Imagery view under the HREF Model.  Choices include echo top heights greater than 30,000 feet MSL and echo top heights greater than 35,000 feet MSL.  The height of the echo top is a forecast for the highest simulated radar echo top (top of the precipitation core) with an expected reflectivity not less than 18 dBZ.  Remember, these are forecasts, not actual NEXRAD echo tops.  And note, the cloud tops are often higher.

Notice the scale at the bottom of the chart.  The echo top height forecast depicted on the chart is a calibrated probability.  The highest probabilities are on the right side of the scale (red and purple) with lowest probabilities on the left (green and blue).  So a forecast that’s depicted in red means there’s a 90 to 100% chance at the forecast valid time, there will be tops greater than 30,000 feet (or 35,000 feet depending on the forecast you are using).   Therefore, flying through or near areas of red and purple will likely require flying at an altitude higher than 30,000 feet (or 35,000 ft).  They may be areas you want to avoid.

A flight at 30,000 feet (or 35,000 feet) through areas without colors depicted will very likely be above the highest echo tops or in an area without precipitation forecast.

The valid time is posted at the top of the chart as shown above (underlined in red).  It uses a YYYYMMDD HHMMZ format. For example, the chart abvove is a 33 hour forecast valid at May 9, 2018 at 03Z (20180509 0300Z).  The time on the left side is the initialization time of the model or what is referred to as the “run time” or “cycle time” of the HREF forecast model.

“Most pilots are weatherwise, but some are otherwise.”

Scott Dennstaedt
Weather Systems Engineer
Co-founder, WeatherSpork

April 2018 SporkNews

If you are new to WeatherSpork, we want to say welcome to the Spork family!  Each month we plan to send out this e-Newsletter we call SporkNews to keep you updated on the latest developments in WeatherSpork.  If you use social media, feel free to follow us on Twitter (@weathersporkapp), Facebook (http://facebook.com/weatherspork) and on our YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxHi72FoCshPjHC2vIFXCkg).  Of course, don’t forget to check out Scott’s blog, The Spork Report to learn more about weather and the app.

New features of WeatherSpork

In April 2018, we raised the roof on the Route Profile view.  WeatherSpork version 4.3.0 changed the maximum altitude displayed from FL200 to FL450.  The Meteogram view remains limited to FL200.  We also made a couple of other enhancements in version 4.3.0 you may be interested to learn.

For those pilots that exclusively use an Android device, in May we will be adding WeatherSpork to Google Play.  For now, WeatherSpork is designed to be responsive and will work nearly identical to the app on portable devices using a browser.  For the best experience we recommend Google Chrome.  To use the browser version of WeatherSpork, simply open a browser and visit http://weatherspork.com.  You’ll find a menu selection near the top of this page to login.

Missing airports

Since the app was released in March, we have gotten a fair number of questions about missing airports in WeatherSpork.  When initially designed, the app was predicated on having an aviation forecast (ceiling, visibility, wind, etc.) available at every airport.  Our signature feature, the Wheels Up Departure Advisor, needs to have these forecasts to evaluate the expected weather along the route of flight.  This meant that airports that did not have a MOS forecast were not included.  However, we are in the process of expanding this database to include most airports in the U.S. that have a surface observation (METAR).  For now, we suggest that you use the closest airport.  In most cases, the Route Profile, Map and Grid views will not be significantly different.  Airports outside of the U.S. will be added in the future.

Live workshops for 2018

If you’ve never attended the Weather Essentials for Pilots live workshop, it’s a great opportunity to dedicate a weekend to learn how to minimize your exposure to adverse weather.  It will challenge your most basic understanding of the weather. Four live workshops have been scheduled this year in the cities of Portland, Oregon (May 5-6), Milwaukee, Wisconsin (May 19-20), Williamsport, Pennsylvania (Sept 8-9) and Houston, Texas (Sept 22-23).  There are just a few seats remaining for Portland (registration cutoff is today at 5 pm EDT), but plenty available for the remaining workshops.  Elite members get a 15% discount on the price of tuition for this class. Details can be found here.  Come and learn more about weather.

Register now >>>

Speaking schedule for 2018

Scott will be speaking at the four AOPA fly-in events, AirVenture and the annual Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association Migration.  If you are planning to attend any of these events, please stop by and say hello!

  • AOPA fly-in, Missoula, Montana, June 16 at 9:00 a.m.
  • AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin (date and time TBD)
  • AOPA fly-in, Santa Fe, New Mexico, September 15 (time TBD)
  • AOPA fly-in, Carbondale, Illinois, October 6 (time TBD)
  • COPA Migration, Las Vegas, Nevada, October 13 (time TBD)
  • AOPA fly-in, Gulf Shores, Alabama, October 27 (time TBD)

New videos

Periodically throughout each month we will be creating educational videos like this one that explains what Model Output Statistics (MOS) is all about.  You also may have enjoyed our three part video series on thunderstorm planning with WeatherSpork.  Lastly, in this video we show you a little shortcut from the Route Profile view to the Airports view.

That’s it for the April edition of SporkNews.  As always, we need your help. Please take a few minutes today and spread the word to other pilots about this amazing new app that will get better with age and your support.

“Most pilots are weatherwise, but some are otherwise.”

Scott Dennstaedt
Weather Systems Engineer
Co-founder, WeatherSpork

 

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