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Msg ID: 2553849 Beyond The HEMS Tool +14/-0     
2/2/2019 1:59:43 AM

I would like to take the time to stress the use of weather sources available to make safe, accurate weather decisions. The HEMS tool is quick and easy, but not as accurate or detailed as the many other weather sources we should be looking at instead. As professional aviators, we should not be ignoring the NWS GFA (Graphical Area Forecast). This replaced the FA (Area Forecast) and since it is relatively new, many pilots don’t use it. The GFA negates the HEMS tool, provides much more info, and best of all, is an approved weather source for weather decisions. 

For those who like being able to take a quick look at the colors to determine VFR, MVFR, or IFR, the GFA has that capability. But don’t just stop there. The GFA shows cloud tops, turbulence, icing, precip, and many other things we should be looking at, especially us SPIFR pilots, as well as hourly forecasts for everything up to 15 hours. It disappoints me when a professional pilot, especially those flying SPIFR, don’t know how to use the GFA. 

Other great tools that we should be familiar with and using include the icing CIP/FIP, Winds/Temps Aloft, RUC Soundings, infrared satellite, and pireps. 

Some things I have seen that are absolutely unacceptable; Looking solely at the HEMS tool to make a decision. Disregarding TAFs and taking a flight because the HEMS tool shows something different. Not looking at METARs, TAFs, and the GFA to get a general picture of the weather. 

We have these great tools available and as professional pilots, we should learn to use them. So go beyond looking for pink and blue, and make weather decisions accurately and safely.

Msg ID: 2553863 Beyond The HEMS Tool +0/-0     
2/2/2019 7:30:54 AM

Reply to: 2553849

if you used the FA before, and it was discontinued and repaced by the GFA, then it would only follow that it is required during flight planning. Especially for SPIFR. Anybody that is ignoarant of that fact is not a professional Pilot. And this thread likely won't change that.

Msg ID: 2553871 uhhhhh well, no +3/-0     
2/2/2019 8:25:59 AM

Reply to: 2553863

but it might help

havent' u heard that's it's better to light one candle, than to curse the darkness?

so lighten up there, torquemada.

Msg ID: 2553880 Beyond The HEMS Tool +0/-0     
Author:Isn't the HEMS Tool official?
2/2/2019 8:59:27 AM

Reply to: 2553863

but not for IFR and only if used with TAFs, METARs, etc.

Msg ID: 2553877 Also, I find the weather discussion page +4/-0     
Author:Useful also
2/2/2019 8:45:33 AM

Reply to: 2553849
The forecasters talk about things they didn't put into the TAFs and such.

Msg ID: 2553892 Beyond The HEMS Tool +14/-0     
Author:30 seconds
2/2/2019 9:42:11 AM

Reply to: 2553849

I guess I fall into the unprofessional, unacceptable category.  Been doing HAA for 24 years.  One thing I've learned through experience is if I take more than a 30 seconds to decide whether or not I should go, then I probably shouldn't.  This is looking soley at a company paid for weather source; not GFA or whatever you referred to, just Metar, TAFs, and radar.  If you can't get an informed decision from those simple sources and have to use so many reports to make up your mind (or convince yourself it will be good), then you probably shouldn't go.  This really isn't rocket science.  Obviously, IFR would necessitate a more indepth review, but VFR?  Not.

Msg ID: 2553896 Beyond The HEMS Tool +0/-0     
Author:One Minute
2/2/2019 9:47:09 AM

Reply to: 2553892

Well, your "No Go" decision beats mine by 30 seconds...just saying.

Msg ID: 2553912 Beyond The HEMS Tool +0/-0     
2/2/2019 11:16:18 AM

Reply to: 2553849

The HEMS tool is experimental and not to be used as a sole source for go decisions. It can only be used for a no go decision if conflicting with other official sources. 

The Aviation discussion is another great tool to use. Thanks for bringing that up. Definitely something you should check periodically to get an overview of the weather. 

It really doesnt take more than 30 seconds - 1min to look at a few of the functions of the GFA to make a VFR decision, especially since you already looked at the discussion, TAFs, and METARs at the beginning of your shift and have a good idea of the weather outlook for your shift. SPIFR takes a little longer and you need to look at a few other things like freezing levels, icing, etc. No one says you have to spend 5 minutes looking at this stuff, but your defensive attitude leads me to believe you don’t understand how to use the other tools available such as the GFA and you are relying on the HEMS tool because it is easy to look at a map with colors. I know for sure there are pilots who base their go decision 100% on the HEMS tool, even in marginal weather. This is foolish and will catch up to you.  We sit around much of the day with nothing to do, spend a little of that time improving yourself as a pilot. 

Msg ID: 2553913 Beyond The HEMS Tool +1/-0     
Author:You have me pegged wrong
2/2/2019 11:47:14 AM

Reply to: 2553912

I don't have a defensive attitude.  Anyone is free to use whatever they want.  I for one don't even use the HEMS Tool.  Yes, you're probably right that some resources can probably be looked at and interpreted quite quickly.  All I'm saying is in my experience, if I have to sit there and look at several charts to determine if I should go, then typically there's something lurking out there that's caught my attention.  It's these items that make me pause and say, "I'm taking too long to convince myself thru these charts to take the flight."  

It won't catch up to me, as you inferred.  That's because it's already caught up with me in the past by taking to long to decide on going (longer than 30 seconds with simple charts) and actually launching...and having to turn around.  There are those times when I find myself beginning to take too long; opening up seldom used progs, putting the comm. center on hold, walking to the window to seperate the shades and peer outside, etc.  This is my personal recipe for taking too much time.  I've been doing this way too many years to know that making a weather decision to launch is much easier and should be instinctive and quick.

Again, no rocket science here.  KISS folks, it's that easy.

Msg ID: 2554131 I have found the hems tool very unreliable +0/-0     
Author:Especially the radar
2/3/2019 11:28:12 AM

Reply to: 2553912
If you catch the tool at certain times, the radar will not even show huge thunderstorm that can be seen on other radars.

Msg ID: 2553933 Beyond The HEMS Tool (NT) +0/-0     
Author:HEMS Tool Has All That...
2/2/2019 1:35:23 PM

Reply to: 2553849

Msg ID: 2554004 Beyond The HEMS Tool +1/-0     
2/2/2019 6:29:03 PM

Reply to: 2553849

tool is advisory only, not to be used to make a go decision.  It can be used only to make a no go decision.  

Msg ID: 2554057 Beyond The HEMS Tool +1/-0     
2/2/2019 9:48:16 PM

Reply to: 2553849

Weatherman I totally agree with you. I was introduced to the RUC soundings (skew-T log-P diagram) during my graduate studies. The diagram takes some time to master but it is well worth it. The AvWxWork shops website covers the chart in depth and teaches how to integrate it’s information with other weather charts. I highly recommend that pilots visit the AvWxworkshop website, it’s the best weather theory education you’ll receive, trust me. I’ve just started to use the GFA area forecast tool and its been fairly accurate. Fly safe everyone.