The new overlay “provides a visual depiction of the forecast weather along your route at the time you’ll be crossing each reporting station,” said Eric Rush, of AOPA's flight planning products team, in a video tutorial about the beta release. “This allows a linear timeline to be displayed instead of having to read through plain-text reports of terminal area forecasts.”
The Weather Along Route overlay works like other popular overlays including the Fuel Along Route overlay. It can be turned on by clicking on icons along the right side of the Flight Planner or by using the Tool or Overlay menus. When the Weather Along Route overlay is selected, any other overlays depicting current weather conditions will be turned off automatically to prevent confusion between current and forecast weather.
After seeing the big picture of weather conditions along the route, pilots can hover over the individual station icons to see a timeline of weather conditions before and after their crossing time along with warnings for any weather-related hazards. Clicking on the icon will open a window that includes the timelines as well as the current METAR, three-hour METAR history, and forecast conditions.
The hazards timeline will depict when adverse weather conditions might exist but will not alter the weather condition color coding. For example, the hazards bar might include orange or red line segments based on the severity of conditions such as rain or thunderstorms in the vicinity. If hazards exist at the time of your expected crossing, the color-coded icons will display a hazard badge.
“We are excited to offer this new feature to help with the weather-planning and decision-making process,” Rush said. “Explore the beta product and please send us information about your experience through the Feedback form in the Flight Planner.”