Get the latest news on coronavirus impacts on general aviation, including what AOPA is doing to protect GA, event cancellations, advice for pilots to protect themselves, and more. Read More
Already a member? Please login below for an enhanced experience. Not a member? Join today
Menu

Weather Wise: Air Masses and Fronts

Lift the curtain on air masses, fronts, regional weather, and high- and low-pressure systems to come to the right decision about flying in weather.

Get Started

Create Free Account

Already have an account? Log In here

Rules to Live ByRules to Live By

Safety SPOTLIGHT: Air Masses and Fronts

Severe thunderstorms build up over the Kansas plains.

Keep These Points in Mind:

  • An air mass is a body of air with similar temperature and moisture characteristics throughout.
  • A front is the boundary between two different air masses.
  • High pressure systems tend to produce hazy conditions and few or no storms.
  • Low pressure systems tend to produce stormy weather.
  • The weather that occurs at the front is dependent on the temperature, moisture, and stability in the area.
  • Temperature and pressure differences can be significant on either side of a front.
  • Hazardous weather associated with fronts can include thunderstorms, icing, low ceilings/visibilities, and wind/turbulence.
  • Forecasts are educated guesses, not guarantees.
  • Compare the forecast to actual conditions and pay attention to trends.
  • ATC, flight service, and onboard datalink technology are excellent in-flight weather resources to help assess if and how conditions are changing. Use them strategically, not tactically.

SiriusXM Aviation

SiriusXM’s satellite-delivered weather is always available inflight with no altitude limitations or line-of-sight restrictions. Its coast-to-coast, high-resolution radar and weather features update faster than ADS-B making it the best choice for VFR pilots. To receive a two month trial of SiriusXM Aviation Weather and Entertainment or learn more about other SiriusXM offers, please go to aopa.org/siriusxm.