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Plan your route to AirVenture with AOPA’s new weather tool Plan your route to AirVenture with AOPA’s new weather tool

AOPA Flight Planner releases beta Weather Along Route tool

At a time when many pilots are meticulously planning their flights to EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and checking the weather for the best travel windows, AOPA has released a beta Weather Along Route feature on the AOPA Flight Planner.
AOPA Flight Planner adds Weather Along Route tool.

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.”

At a glance, pilots can see color-coded icons at reporting stations along their route that indicate whether the weather will be VFR (green), marginal VFR (blue), IFR (red), or low IFR (magenta) at the time they will be crossing the station based on terminal aerodrome forecasts (TAFs). The station crossing time is automatically calculated based on the departure time, the aircraft’s performance values stored in the Flight Planner, and the forecast winds aloft at the altitude selected. (The times depicted are all based on the local time zone of the computer or device being used and do not change along the route as time zones are crossed.) Pilots can use sliders to adjust the width of the weather corridor along their route as well as their departure time. When moving the departure time slider, pilots can watch the icons change instantly based on the updated crossing times and forecasts. Seeing how the weather will change along the route based on moving up or delaying the departure time will help pilots make more informed decisions.

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.”

Alyssa J. Miller

Alyssa J. Miller

AOPA Director of eMedia and Online Managing Editor
AOPA Director of eMedia and Online Managing Editor Alyssa J. Miller has worked at AOPA since 2004 and is an active flight instructor.
Topics: Gear, EAA AirVenture

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