Do you need a legal WX briefing to fly?

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Lspilot82
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Do you need a legal WX briefing to fly?

Postby Lspilot82 » Sat Jan 28, 2012 10:38 am

A buddy and I are having a disagreement about weather or not when flying 10 miles out of the vicinity of your airport, do you need to call a WX briefing center give them your tail number and get a briefing before flight. I said no, you can use other means to gauge the weather, ATIS, T.V., internet...etc. He says you have to call and get a legal briefing..I.E. Standard. Whats the rules on this?
Brian Newman

Jim Stewart
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Postby Jim Stewart » Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:22 pm

FAR Sec. 91.103

Preflight action.

Each pilot in command shall, before beginning a flight, become familiar with all available information concerning that flight. This information must include--
(a) For a flight under IFR or a flight not in the vicinity of an airport, weather reports and forecasts, fuel requirements, alternatives available if the planned flight cannot be completed, and any known traffic delays of which the pilot in command has been advised by ATC;
(b) For any flight, runway lengths at airports of intended use, and the following takeoff and landing distance information:
(1) For civil aircraft for which an approved Airplane or Rotorcraft Flight Manual containing takeoff and landing distance data is required, the takeoff and landing distance data contained therein; and
(2) For civil aircraft other than those specified in paragraph (b)(1) of this section, other reliable information appropriate to the aircraft, relating to aircraft performance under expected values of airport elevation and runway slope, aircraft gross weight, and wind and temperature.

###

I'd call your flight "in the vicinity of an airport". I'd also point out the usual FAR weaselwording. This lists the stuff you "must" do. You are still bound to get "all available" information. I think the bottom line is that if the weather is stable, there's a nice spread between dewpoint and temp, and visibility is good, you're good to go for a local flight just using AWOS/ATIS. OTOH, if any of those things I listed are sketchy, get a briefing.

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Postby 3Dreaming » Sat Jan 28, 2012 1:15 pm

I heard this question ask on a sport pilot checkride I was able to sit in on. According to the DPE looking at the weather on TV was OK for making a flight, but you would need to FSS to get any TFR's that might affect you.

artp
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Postby artp » Sat Jan 28, 2012 1:27 pm

3Dreaming wrote:I heard this question ask on a sport pilot checkride I was able to sit in on. According to the DPE looking at the weather on TV was OK for making a flight, but you would need to FSS to get any TFR's that might affect you.


Not to mention that you can't prove you watched television but a briefing from FAA (FSS, duats, and some 3rd party flight planners ie AOPA) are documentated.

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drseti
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Postby drseti » Sat Jan 28, 2012 3:19 pm

FAR Sec. 91.103
Each pilot in command shall, before beginning a flight, become familiar with all available information concerning that flight.
(emphasis added)


This is one of those famous traps in the FARs. It is of course impossible to have all available information. Normally, that doesn't matter. But, in the event of an accident or incident, the FAA can violate anyone on FAR 91.103. Clearly, if the pilot had all the available information, the accident or incident wouldn't have happened!
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
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Jack Tyler
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Postby Jack Tyler » Sun Jan 29, 2012 8:30 am

No, a weather briefing is not required. Whether it is prudent or serves as potential 'insurance' is another matter, but it doesn't sound like that was the point on which your friend was basing his opinion.

We dealt with this in last month's "Flying with the Pro's" article in our EAA Chapter 193 newsletter, written by a CFII with ATP rating who runs two aviation schools, both here in Jax and also out in Colorado Springs. Here's the relevant portion of Bills' article:

"Determining the weather for a local flight in the landing pattern is as easy as looking out the window. Why is this legal? The FAA specifies when a weather briefing is required. Looking at 14CFR 91.103(a) preflight actions, a pilot must “for a flight under IFR or a flight not in the vicinity of an airport” receive “weather reports and forecasts”.

There is no definition of “a flight not in the vicinity of an airport” but the general consensus is this is 25 sm from the airport. This is derived from 2 sources in 14CFR:
61.93 (a) (1) a student pilot must meet the requirements of this section before— (i) Conducting a solo cross-country flight, or any flight greater than 25 nautical miles from the airport from where the flight originated
119.1 (e) (2) non-stop air tours conducted ...within 25 sm of that airport (6) nonstop flights conducted within a 25 sm radius of the airport of takeoff... for the purpose of conducting intentional parachute operations

BTW the article is very thorough and nicely illustrates that amazing number of sources for wx info and how to put them to use effectively. You can find it at http://www.193.eaachapter.org/ by downloading the January newsletter (link in left pane of home page).
Jack
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FastEddieB
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Postby FastEddieB » Sun Jan 29, 2012 6:42 pm

I would recommend a call to Flight Service before any flight.

If I've checked weather online and it seems benign, I'll usually forego a weather briefing.

But I'll still call for even a trip around the pattern.

Why? How do I know the president or vice president didn't decide at the last minute to visit the area? Or that maybe 15 minutes ago a 9/11 scale event occurred and the entire national airspace system has been shut down?

Just takes a minute or two, and could save a lot of aggravation down the road.
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CBKERR
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Postby CBKERR » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:40 pm

FastEddieB wrote:I would recommend a call to Flight Service

Why? How do I know the president or vice president didn't decide at the last minute to visit the area?



I would have to agree. I just finished up my dual and solo cross country. The day after my solo XC a TFR popped up for a presidential visit. Less then 24 hours after I landed. The president did in the marine one helo.


Ps. Checkride right around the corner, weather permitting

Brian

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RyanShort1
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Postby RyanShort1 » Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:32 am

Jack Tyler wrote:"Determining the weather for a local flight in the landing pattern is as easy as looking out the window. Why is this legal? The FAA specifies when a weather briefing is required. Looking at 14CFR 91.103(a) preflight actions, a pilot must “for a flight under IFR or a flight not in the vicinity of an airport” receive “weather reports and forecasts”.

There is no definition of “a flight not in the vicinity of an airport” but the general consensus is this is 25 sm from the airport. This is derived from 2 sources in 14CFR:
61.93 (a) (1) a student pilot must meet the requirements of this section before— (i) Conducting a solo cross-country flight, or any flight greater than 25 nautical miles from the airport from where the flight originated
119.1 (e) (2) non-stop air tours conducted ...within 25 sm of that airport (6) nonstop flights conducted within a 25 sm radius of the airport of takeoff... for the purpose of conducting intentional parachute operations.

Personally, I disagree with this. The TAF is a specific weather forecast for the "vicinity" of most major airports - and is valid only for the area 5 SM around the airport. I tell my students that essentially if they are leaving the traffic pattern, they are no longer in the vicinity and should check the area forecast, or better yet, call and get the briefing.
The 25NM radius thing is about cross-country flying that does not count for flight training purposes, but that's not the "vicinity" of the airport.

Ryan
Independent Flight Instructor at http://www.TexasTailwheel.com. Come fly tailwheel LSA's.

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Postby cogito » Tue Jan 31, 2012 11:48 am

The last few times I’ve called for a briefing they’ve seemed to have less information than I about conditions along my route. Of course I look at foreflight satellite, radar, TAFs/Metars, Airmets/Sigmets, winds, ceiling, and sky coverage along the route. TFRs active and pending also show up on foreflight while planning and are updated enroute on the garmin with XM weather. I also find it easier to visualize the TFRs on the chart than when the briefer gives me distances from a vor radial, etc.

I’m usually on radar flight following, I’m hoping SoCal wouldn’t steer me into a TFR just for fun.

What’s the best way to, “become familiar with all available information concerning that flight?”

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FastEddieB
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Postby FastEddieB » Tue Jan 31, 2012 12:46 pm

One other little "gotcha" about TFR's that almost got me.

A firefighting TFR popped up on my 496 on a VFR flight in my Sky Arrow.

I pointed to it and it said something like "Surface to 5,000'". I began a climb to 5,500 to top it, but then just decided to circumnavigate it.

Good thing I did, because when I got home I checked it and it was from the surface to 5,000' AGL! That seems silly, because its hard to determine the exact surface elevation at any point here in the mountains. Where the fire was was probably between 2,000' and 3,000' elevation. So, to safely top it I would have had to climb to 8,000' or so.

Just a head's up for what could be a gotcha if you weren't on your toes!
Fast Eddie B.
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designrs
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Postby designrs » Sat Feb 04, 2012 7:29 pm

+1 again for ForeFlght.
For all practical purposes everything relevant is presented well visually.
It shows you where the TFR's are on the map...
current TRF's are red, future TFR's are yellow.

When you file a flight plan in ForeFlight it sends you a confirmation email... AND a second email containing a very looooooooooon flight briefing showing you "all available information"... locally... and for the whole country.
- Richard

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drseti
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moving thread

Postby drseti » Thu Aug 30, 2012 4:24 pm

Moving this thread to the FARs forum.
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
Prof H Paul Shuch
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ussyorktown
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Postby ussyorktown » Fri Aug 31, 2012 1:26 pm

The last few times I’ve called for a briefing they’ve seemed to have less information than I about conditions along my route. Of course I look at foreflight satellite, radar, TAFs/Metars, Airmets/Sigmets, winds, ceiling, and sky coverage along the route. TFRs active and pending also show up on foreflight while planning and are updated enroute on the garmin with XM weather. I also find it easier to visualize the TFRs on the chart than when the briefer gives me distances from a vor radial, etc.

I’m usually on radar flight following, I’m hoping SoCal wouldn’t steer me into a TFR just for fun.


Right on! and Amen.

JimNtexas
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Postby JimNtexas » Fri Aug 31, 2012 3:06 pm

I usually get a DUATS briefing for even local flights. I like to be on the record, even when it's a Sunday morning 'clear and million' set of touch and gos.

I also will always file a NASA report if I suspect I screwed up in any way that ATC or other authority figure might have noticed, no matter how minor. It's free, and you can do it on line these days.


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