It’s been a long time since I’ve published any thoughts. I don’t get the sense that they make much difference.
But a week at Oshkosh for Airventure 2016 has thoroughly rejuvenated me as far as getting excited about life. Writing? Maybe not so much. I’ll focus on making money for now. But at the moment, there’s something you should know.
As a pilot, one of the most important things we learn is that the weather matters. This may seem trite, but the fact is that most people, and too many pilots, take weather for granted.
We are content to watch the weather-people tell us what the weather is going to be a few weeks out. Maybe we make some plans based on those predictions, maybe we don’t.
What you may not know is that those predictions come from a whole lot of data that the government collects every day, every minute. Thousands of balloons are sent high up in the air from all around the world, twice a day. Radar stations send out about a dozen separate beams at different angles, about once every second. And every airport, marine port, and many other locations are busy collecting a lot of other weather data continuously.
The government headquarters of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is in charge of digesting all this data and representing it to us, the general public, commercial customers, and pilots, in forms that we can understand. The team that works on weather for pilots, for example, only makes predictions out as far as two days – max.
Here’s the fun detail most people don’t realize. When the weather channel people get the data, they massage it a bit so that it fits their style more comfortably. Same for your local news station or anyone else for that matter. One form of that massaging is that your local radar data doesn’t show you a dozen slices of weather – only one. Another massage is that they stretch out the prediction period from one to two days to almost two weeks!
So if you care about weather, and you want it as pure and clean as organic food, then stop getting it from a processor like your news station. Go to the source. Go to NOAA.
Here’s where you can get the app for pilots (sorry, nothing for apple).