Quantcast Maximum Cloud Tops - P-3040128

 

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CHAPTER FOUR
METEOROLOGY FLIGHT PLANNING
Block 18: Minimum Ceiling
Information regarding the minimum ceiling can be derived quickly from the pictorial
presentation of the Weather Depiction Chart. Additionally, the Area Forecasts (FA) and any
AIRMET Sierras (WA) will also indicate conditions of IFR.
Block 19: Maximum Cloud Tops
The cloud tops indicated in Block 19 are given for clouds located around the aircraft's flight
level. For observed data, maximum tops can be determined from the Radar Summary Chart.
Pilot Reports are also a good source, when they are available. Forecasters may refer to satellite
imagery to determine which observed clouds would be moving into the flight area, thus
providing a forecast of tops. The Area Forecasts (FA) may also be used to provide forecast
information.
Block 20: Freezing Level
To determine the minimum freezing level en route, there are a number of products available to
meteorologists and aircrew. These include observed data from Winds-Aloft Prognostic Charts,
and RADAT information from METARs, plus forecast data from AIRMETs Zulu (WA), Winds-
Aloft Forecasts (FD), and Low Level Significant Weather Prognostic Charts. Recall that the
AIRMET Zulu will always include freezing level information, even when icing is not forecast.
Notice that Blocks 18 through 24 will include a location as part of the information presented in
each box, and that these locations are not required to coincide with each other, to give forecasters
maximum flexibility in describing the weather. For example, while the flight is planned for
NQA to TIK, the minimum ceiling will be found between LIT and TIK, while the maximum
cloud tops should be experienced throughout the route, and the freezing level of 10,500' MSL
extends beyond the route of flight, from Tennessee to Oklahoma.
Block 21: Thunderstorms
Thunderstorms will be one of the patterns most obvious when building an overview of the
weather. Of course, the Radar Summary Chart, as well as national NEXRAD composites and
satellite imagery, give a pictorial view of observed thunderstorm activity. Other sources, such as
the Surface Prognostic Chart, Low Level Significant Weather Prognostic Chart, WW, MWA, and
WST also provide thunderstorm information. A look at any one or more of these can give an
instant indication when thunderstorms are present along the route of flight. Determining the
extent of their severity and coverage, however, will likely be best described during the weather
brief.
Block 21 provides means for communicating all pertinent facets of thunderstorm activity, starting
with any thunderstorm warnings applicable to the route of flight (in addition to Block 11 in Part
I, which is for warnings applicable to the local airfield). Any warnings listed here should also
4-8 FLIGHT WEATHER BRIEFING FORM, DD FORM 175-1


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