Richard Collins has written a great article for Air Facts Journal listing his top 10 weather rules for flying which were the following:
- Distrust any weather forecast calling for an improvement at a location covered in fog because you don’t want to be stuck in the air above a foggy airport without enough fuel. Moreover and if its overcast ABOVE the fog, you are going to run into even more problems.
- When the wind aloft forecast is substantially wrong, don’t trust any other forecast.
- Scattered clouds can end up causing the same effect as overcast approaches in IMC. Moreover, they could form into broken clouds or cause overcast conditions.
- Turbulence can tell you plenty about what is going on in the clouds – which can either be wind shear turbulence that can make flying a chore or convective turbulence that make it difficult to maintain altitude and air speed.
- There is no such thing as getting trapped by the weather as there are always signs that a system or something is forming.
- Cloud tops are always 1,000 feet greater than the ceiling for the aircraft you are flying in according to former Senator (and General) Barry Goldwater who was also a pilot – a point worth remembering.
- A windsock is the most reliable indicator of a gusty crosswind during a takeoff or landing.
- Early birds be warned: Substantial weather changes can happen shortly after sunrise – including the appearance of fog or frost on the aircraft.
- The onset of rain while flying VFR is bad news as it will cut visibility and lower clouds will tend to form after the rain starts. Rain can also make visibility from the aircraft much worst than the visibility being reported on the ground.
- If the wind shifts from northwest to north to northeast after the passage of a cold front, it means the front has stalled and has turned into a stationary front – meaning VFR flying may be off the table for awhile.
Richard went into considerable detail about each of these rules and he concluded by saying that a VFR pilot has the easiest time figuring out weather conditions as its always in plain view outside the windshield.
However, are there any weather rules for flying that Richard may have left out – especially any specific rules specific to UK or European weather conditions?