Mechanics of Frontal Systems
The purpose of this chapter is to introduce the student to various frontal systems, including their
formation, flight conditions, and associated weather patterns, since most of the active weather is
concentrated along fronts. The goal of this chapter is to present a broad description of each of
the frontal types, along with the general flight conditions associated with each. With this
knowledge, an aviator will carry on a conversation about flight conditions with the meteorologist
during the weather brief, as opposed to having a one-way conversation. Because only the flight
crew understands the details and ramifications of the mission, it would be impossible to expect a
meteorologist to foresee all the possibilities and to brief the weather accordingly.
LESSON TOPIC LEARNING OBJECTIVES
Terminal Objective: Partially supported by this lesson topic:
Upon completion of this unit of instruction, student aviators and flight officers will
demonstrate knowledge of meteorological theory enabling them to make intelligent decisions
when confronted with various weather phenomena and hazards.
Enabling Objectives: Completely supported by this lesson topic:
Define the terms air mass and front.
2.30 Describe the air mass classification system, including moisture content, temperature, and
source region with respect to latitudes.
Describe the relationship between air mass temperature and stability.
Describe the structure of a front.
Describe the discontinuities used to locate and classify fronts.
Describe the factors that influence frontal weather.
Describe the conditions associated with a cold front.
Describe the characteristics of a squall line.
Describe the conditions associated with a warm front.
Describe the conditions associated with a stationary front.
Mechanics of Frontal Systems 3-1