On Final: Thanks, Al Gore – Aviation Internet Weather

On Final: Thanks, Al Gore – Aviation Internet Weather

I read somewhere that Al Gore invented the Internet. And I believe just about everything I read. So, we have him to thank for most of all the cool aviation internet weather gadgets and apps that have come along in the past decade or so. I thought about Al as I drove to KADS (Addison) for an early morning mid-February flight to KHDC (Hammond, LA) and back. Thanks to Al’s Internet, I was able to get loads of great info on the massive cold front that had passed through Dallas four hours before my 0600 wake up. And, whereas years ago all we had for a weather briefing was a phone conversation with an overworked Flight Service person, this morning I had reams of info to print from my desktop, compliments of
fltplan.com. The KADS weather didn’t look so great:
34016G30 1SM OVC 006 M01/M03.
As I pulled up to the hangar, I wanted to know the very latest local weather, so I called the ATIS recording on my blue-tooth cell phone from my car and got an even better picture. The front was moving southeast towards my destination. So, out popped my trusty iPad, with a wireless Internet connection, of course, and I could look at the forecast tops, possible SIGMETS, PIREPS, and icing forecast.
I was loving Al even more.
I had everything I needed, except the actual cloud tops. No one had ventured out yet to report. Perhaps the weather service could launch several hundred drones that would measure the tops and report back, using some new app.
Bad idea. Never mind.
We departed with all the anti-icing gear activated and climbed through light icing, clearing the mass of cold clouds at FL280 on the way to FL350, with a 75 knot tailwind. En route, I had a double dose of NEXRAD goodies and all sorts of current weather from my Garmin GTN 725 and my Collins IFIS system.
Isn’t technology great? I don’t know how we survived without knowing this stuff before Al. As we landed in Hammond, I knew I would have to go right back into the murk and shoot an approach at home, so I called the ATIS for KADS from my phone once again, as the engines wound down, to get the latest picture:
33022G28 13SM OVC012 M01/M02.
Taxiing from the FBO to the active, I had a huge picture of the airport diagram with my little moving magenta airplane right on the MFD, perhaps the best invention since sliced bread. Back home through the same weather, this time with a 110-knot headwind. I could check the METARS at a multitude of locations through the Garmin display, see exactly where the liquid precip changed to ice, and pick up a PIREP of moderate icing from a regional jet departing KDAL (Dallas Love). On the descent, virtually all of the traffic on this murky winter day was visible on several displays. Today, technology made for a much easier flight and significantly less stress. And I got home just in time to answer the doorbell.
It was a drone delivering my pizza.
Fly safe.

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