Newest enhancements to WeatherSpork – version 4.3.0

WeatherSpork just got even better! WeatherSpork version 4.3.0 is now available in the App Store.  In addition to a few bug fixes, we are excited to tell you that we raised the roof of WeatherSpork to FL450.  You’ll now enjoy in the Route Profile view a depiction of clouds, wind and en route advisories from the surface to 45,000 feet MSL.  In this release we also added cross track distance to the Route Profile view allowing you to see the distance from fly-by airports to the proposed route.  Lastly, we added the High Resolution Ensemble Forecast (HREF) guidance for ceiling and flight category to the WeatherSpork Imagery view.

Watch the video below to see an overview of these enhancements to WeatherSpork. Enjoy!

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

Scott Dennstaedt
Weather Systems Engineer
Co-founder, WeatherSpork

 

An introduction to Model Output Statistics or MOS

A majority of certificated pilots have never heard of Model Output Statistics or what is referred to as MOS (pronounced moss).  MOS isn’t new and has been around since the 1960s, but is just starting to be leveraged by many pilots.  Back in 2016 the FAA added a brief description of MOS to the Aviation Weather Services advisory circular AC 00-45H Change 1 so it is now officially recognized by the FAA as supplemental guidance for preflight planning. WeatherSpork makes heavy use of this automated guidance which drives the signature feature in WeatherSpork called the Wheels Up Departure Advisor (WUDA) found in the Map, Grid and Route Profile views.  MOS is also used by meteorologists as one of several tools to issue terminal aerodrome forecasts (TAFs).

This video below was an audio and screen recording of a presentation given by Scott Dennstaedt to a local flight school in Charlotte.  Watch this video to learn a bit more about MOS and its advantages as flight planning guidance.

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

Scott Dennstaedt
Weather Systems Engineer
Co-founder, WeatherSpork

Thunderstorm planning with WeatherSpork, Part 3

Part 1 and Part 2 of this three video series showed a window of opportunity to depart Savannah, Georgia during the morning hours between 14Z and 15Z arriving in Charlotte, North Carolina before 17Z.  Was this guidance on the money?  Watch Part 3 of this video series to see how it all played out.  And stop back to this post and read some of the final thoughts below…

As shown below this was a very dangerous weather system that included many tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings up and down the Piedmont regions of North and South Carolina.  The line of relatively low-topped thunderstorms began to impact the Charlotte terminal area around 19Z and that matched the guidance from earlier in the day.

As I mentioned in the video, very strong winds at the surface were possible as heavy rain showers transferred the momentum of that strong low level jet down to the surface.  In fact, the wind gusted to 59 knots (68 mph) at the Charlotte Douglas Airport at 1913Z based on the METAR remarks below.

KCLT 151916Z 21035G59KT 1/4SM +TSRA BR BKN037CB BKN050 OVC065 21/17 A2980 RMK AO2 PK WND 20059/1913 LTG DSNT ALQDS RAB12 TSE01B02 PRESRR FRQ LTGICCCCG SW-W TS SW-W MOV NE P0000 T02110172 RVRNO

You can see in this color-enhanced IR satellite image below two patches of dark blue.  These were coincident with the two tornado warnings (red polygons) shown in the image above.  This satellite depictions shows cloud top temperatures in degrees Celsius.  The colder the temperatures, the higher the cloud tops.  In many cases, these overshooting tops are cells that will exhibit severe characteristics. These two cells within this line of thunderstorms likely spawned a tornado.

These two cells show up as well on the visible satellite (below), although not as good as the IR satellite image given the time of day.  If this occurred during sunset, you would have seen the higher tops cast a shadow on the clouds below. Nevertheless, the red arrows point to those two cells and the orange arrows show their approximate track.  The red X is there I live.   As this southernmost cell moved north-northeast, there was a heavy rain-wrapped circulation that passed through my neighborhood.  The driving heavy rain ended very abruptly as the backside of that cell passed…very typical of these kinds of mesoscale events.

Well I hope this video series was useful.  Feel free to send a link of these videos to all of your pilot friends and post them through your social media accounts or to your favorite aviation forums.

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

Scott Dennstaedt
Weather Systems Engineer
Co-founder, WeatherSpork

 

Thunderstorm planning with WeatherSpork, Part 2

Part 1 of this series of three videos focused on how to use WeatherSpork to find the best time of departure for a trip the following day given a threat of thunderstorms along the proposed route.  Part 2 of this series takes place on the morning of this flight.  Watch this 20 minute video below to see if yesterday’s guidance was still on track.

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

Scott Dennstaedt
Weather Systems Engineer
Co-founder, WeatherSpork

Thunderstorms a threat? Use WeatherSpork to plan your departure, Part 1

It’s that time of the year again.  Snow is finally beginning to melt in the northern tier of states and temps in the deep south are topping 90 degrees on a regular basis.  Moreover, G-AIRMETs for for airframe ice begin to morph into convective SIGMETs.  WeatherSpork is your best tool to find that perfect time to depart…or that perfect time to head to your comfy chair, put your feet up, relax and get caught up in a good novel.  Here’s a 30 minute video that will show you some of the advantages of using WeatherSpork to plan your departure when thunderstorms are in the forecast.  Enjoy!

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

Scott Dennstaedt
Weather Systems Engineer
Co-founder, WeatherSpork

A shortcut from the Route Profile to Airports view

In WeatherSpork we will be adding a number of shortcuts to cut down on the number of clicks or taps needed to navigate to other important guidance within the app.  Here’s a video that demonstrates one such shortcut to get to the Airports view for a specific station identified as a fly-by airport in the Route Profile view.

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

Scott Dennstaedt
Weather Systems Engineer
Co-founder, WeatherSpork

Using WeatherSpork to brief a flight with a departure tomorrow

Let’s say you are planning to make a flight sometime tomorrow morning from Savannah, Georgia to Atlantic City, New Jersey. What will the weather be along that proposed route?  What’s the best time to depart?  And what might be the best altitude to avoid flying into adverse weather?  Can I fly this VFR or will it require an IFR clearance?  This video will demonstrate how to use just a few of the many rich features found in WeatherSpork that makes answering these kinds of questions quite easy.

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

Scott Dennstaedt
Weather Systems Engineer
Co-founder, WeatherSpork

 

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