The following weather services and pre-flight planning information are available to pilots:
- Mean sea level analysis and prognosis charts
- Upper level analysis and prognosis charts;
- Satellite imagery;
- Grid point winds and temperatures;
- Route sector winds and temperatures;
- Significant weather charts;
- Domestic TAF, domestic ARFOR; Area QNH;
- International TAF bulletins;
- Selected route forecasts for high density routes;
- SIGMET, AIRMET and volcanic ash advisories
Ref: AIP GEN 3.5
Sources of Weather Information
Weather and pre-flight planning operational information can be obtained from the following sources. They should be used in the order of preference as shown.
- NAIPS via direct dial pilot access service telephone 019 8304 767 (requires software downloadable from the airservices website) or via the internet www.airservices.com / Pilot Centre / Pilot Briefing;
- AVFAX (1800 805 150) a self help system delivering MET and NOTAM information via fax to a nominated number;
- DECTALK (1800 805 150) a self help system that delivers MET information by a computer generated voice;
- Briefing Officer (1800 805 150) and wait for an operator;
- Flightwatch on the area flightwatch frequency;
- BoM Website (www.bom.gov.au) use the username: bomw0007 and password: aviation to access the registered user services area.
Aerodrome weather may also be obtained at some locations via an Aerodrome Weather Information Service (AWIS) or Weather and Terminal Information Reciter (WATIR) services. Where these services are available they are noted in ERSA FAC in the ‘Meteorological Information Provided’ section of the aerodrome listing and a complete listing is provided at ERSA MET.
Limited elaborative briefings are available from Bureau of Meteorology Offices. The telephone numbers for these services are listed in AIP GEN 3.5.
Area Forecasts and TAFs
Given a flight area you can determine the ARFOR area by referring to the Planning Chart Australia (PCA). If you are unsure of how to use the PCA refer to the section on interpreting charts.
The availability of TAF for aerodromes near the flight area can be found by consulting ERSA.If you are unsure about how to find the availability of TAF information in ERSA please refer to the section on extracting information from ERSA.
Air Traffic Services
The frequencies to be used for contacting ATS or making broadcasts when operating outside of controlled airspace can be found on VTC and ERC-L and in the ‘ATS Communications Facilities’ section of the aerodrome listing in ERSA FAC.
As a pilot you are oblidged to keep your aircraft outside of controlled airspace unless you have been issued with an airways clearance. Controlled airspace may exist above or beside your planned flight path so it is important that you establish what the vertical and lateral positions of controlled airspace in the vicinity of your planned flight during the flight planning stage.
Details of controlled airspace can be found on VTC and ERC-L.
You should also be aware that AIP ENR 1.1-19.12 requires that you apply appropriate navigation tolerances when operating in the proximity of controlled airspace or restricted areas. The rule was written with heavier than air aircraft in mind but the tolerances that should be applied are:
- 0 – 2,000 AGL +/- 1NM;
- 2,001 – 5,000 AGL +/- 2NM; and
- 5,001 – 10,000 AGL +/- 4NM.
CTAF exist within 10NM of specified aerodromes. Some CTAF, those nominated as CTAF(R) have a requirement that VHF radio be carried and used during flight. You should be aware of the existance of and requirements of CTAF along your flight path.
The Reg 259 / 260 Permit para 5(c) requires that a minimum overflight of 1500 feet above obstacles whilst within 3NM of a government or licenced aerodrome.
Pilots of VFR flights nominating a SARTIME to ATS, and those intending to operate in controlled airspace are required to submit flight details to ATS.
The preferred methods (in order of preference) of submitting details are:
- via pilot access to NAIPS;
- in writing;
- by telephone;
- by radio to ATS.
The full requirements for flight notification can be found in AIP ENR1-10 Section 2.
Technical data content credited to Mr Steve Griffin