AIRMET/SIGMET information is available for the displayed viewing range on the MFD. Some displays are capable of displaying weather information for a 2,000 mile range. AIRMETS/SIGMETS are displayed by dashed lines on the map. [Figure 13-19]
The legend box denotes the various colors used to depict the AIRMETs, such as icing, turbulence, IFR weather, mountain obscuration, and surface winds. [Figure 13-20] The great advantage of the graphically displayed AIRMET/SIGMET boundary box is the pilot can see the extent of the area that the advisory covers. The pilot does not need to manually plot the points to determine the full extent of the coverage area.
METARs can be displayed on the MFD. Each reporting station that has a METAR/TAF available is depicted by a flag from the center of the airport symbol. Each flag is color coded to depict the type of weather that is currently reported at that station. A legend is available to assist users in determining what each flag color represents. [Figure 13-21]
The graphical METAR display shows all available reporting stations within the set viewing range. By setting the range knob up to a 2,000 mile range, pilots can pan around the display map to check the current conditions of various airports along the route of flight.
By understanding what each colored flag indicates, a pilot can quickly determine where weather patterns display marginal weather, IFR, or areas of VFR. These flags make it easy to determine weather at a specific airport should the need arise to divert from the intended airport of landing.
Data Link Weather
Pilots now have the capability of receiving continuously updated weather across the entire country at any altitude. No longer are pilots restricted by radio range or geographic isolations, such as mountains or valleys.
In addition, pilots no longer have to request specific information from weather briefing personnel directly. When the weather becomes questionable, radio congestion often increases, delaying the timely exchange of valuable inflight weather updates for a pilot’s specific route of flight. Flight Service Station (FSS) personnel can communicate with only one pilot at a time, which leaves other pilots waiting and flying in uncertain weather conditions. Data link weather provides the pilot with a powerful resource for enhanced situational awareness at any time. Due to continuous data link broadcasts, pilots can obtain a weather briefing by looking at a display screen. Pilots have a choice between FAA-certified devices or portable receivers as a source of weather data.
Data Link Weather Products
Flight Information Service- Broadcast (FIS-B)
Flight Information Service–Broadcast (FIS-B) is a ground broadcast service provided through the Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Broadcast (ADS-B) Services network over the 978 MHz UAT data link. The FAA FIS-B system provides pilots and flight crews of properly-equipped aircraft with a flightdeck display of certain aviation weather and aeronautical information which are listed below.
- Aviation Routine Weather Reports (METARs)
- Special Aviation Reports (SPECIs)
- Terminal Area Forecasts (TAFs) and their amendments
- NEXRAD (regional and CONUS) precipitation maps
- Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) Distant and Flight Data Center
- Airmen’s Meteorological Conditions (AIRMET)
- Significant Meteorological Conditions (SIGMET) and Convective SIGMET
- Status of Special Use Airspace (SUA)
- Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs)
- Winds and Temperatures Aloft.
- Pilot Reports (PIREPS)
- TIS-B service status
The weather products provided by FIS-B are for information only. Therefore, these products do not meet the safety and regulatory requirements of official weather products. The weather products displayed on FIS-B should not be used as primary weather products (i.e., aviation weather to meet operational and safety requirements). Each aircraft system is different and some of the data that is rendered can be up to 20 or 30 minutes old and not current. Pilots should consult the individual equipment manuals for specific delay times.