There are two ways to learn aviation weather.
You could read airman certification standards-recommended source material; watch your favorite TV meteorologist daily, flying or not; practice working with aviation weather products; and get full briefings before you fly. Note weather you encounter, constantly evaluating your forecast’s accuracy. Share your observations by filing pilot reports.
A 362-hour VFR pilot who only had the three hours of simulated instrument training required for private pilot eligibility checked weather on his cellphone, but didn’t get a briefing.
Departing for a scenic flight/cross-country across several New England states with a passenger aboard, the pilot took off from a small Maine field into good visibility beneath an overcast. Winds were out of the southeast—that is, off the ocean—often a cautionary clue in those parts.
About an hour and a half into the flight, near Laconia, New Hampshire, the single-engine aircraft “descended to 2500 MSL to continue sightseeing” around the mountains.
Excuse the FAA-report shorthand, but from here the story mostly tells itself.
“The cloud cover/ovcst was concealing some of the peaks by then but valley visibility was still good. A little further south, near Concord, some of the valleys began to show signs of mist/fog and the ceiling was getting lower.”
The pilot descended to about 1,300 feet msl. South of Concord, “with light rain/mist on the windscreen and deteriorating vis,” the pilot began a 180-degree turn to head for Concord’s airport.
“Upon completing the turn, he lost visual reference with the ground. At this point he added power and initiated a climb to approx. 2200’. Things get fuzzy from there but it appears that while trying to level the wings and continue the climb he actually tightened the turn resulting in a steep descending spiral. Shortly after that the aircraft entered the trees.”
Both occupants survived with injuries.
Asked for recommendations, the pilot offered this solution: “better weather understanding and management.”