Pilots who've completed the Air Safety Foundation's SkySpotter pirep education program filed more than 130 pilot reports last month, up from just 35 in February. NOAA's Aviation Weather Center is elated about the big jump but hopes to see many more pireps as more pilots take the SkySpotter pledge: to file at least one pirep on every cross-country flight.
"Weather datalink is the next major advance in situational awareness for pilots," says ASF Executive Director Bruce Landsberg. "But until the equipment is in widespread use, pireps remain the single best tool for pilots and flight service stations to know actual weather conditions along their route. Light GA aircraft are the most weather sensitive. It only makes sense to pass along what is going on out there in real time."
The course teaches what to look for, how to file a pirep, who to file it with, and what conditions warrant filing an urgent pirep. And it makes clear that reporting conditions better than or exactly as forecast is just as important as reporting adverse conditions.