Thunderstorm clouds can be easy for VFR pilots to spot, but IFR pilots flying in the soup often rely on air traffic control (ATC) to route them around the severe weather. Communication is key when working with ATC, as the AOPA Air Safety Foundation explains in its new four-minute minicourse, Avoiding Thunderstorms.
Avoiding Thunderstorms contains actual ATC transmissions between controllers and a pilot who flew into a Level 6 thunderstorm with tragic results. The audio dramatically illustrates the need for clear pilot-ATC communication and understanding of radar services provided.
The course advises pilots to verify with each controller they are handed off to exactly what services they will receive. This can help minimize the chances of a misunderstanding.
You'll also learn about ATC services, the enhancements in controllers' weather radar displays, and the importance of giving pilot reports. A list of weather- and ATC-related subjects at the end of the course leads you to more information.
July 1, 2005