Weather at home and abroad

  • Published
  • By Capt. Jennifer Gerhardt
  • 188th Wing

Most of us look out the window every morning before work to see what the weather is like.  On casual observation, we decide if we need a winter coat or sunscreen.  However, for the military flying community, knowing weather condition is critical to operational success.

The term “weather” describes the day-to-day state of the atmosphere at a certain place and time.  Weather constantly flows and changes throughout the day, and it has six main components: temperature, atmospheric pressure, wind, humidity, precipitation, and cloudiness.  

For pilots, weather is the first stage of mission planning.  

“Knowing what the weather is doing and how it will affect the aircraft, route of flight, destination, etcetera, are crucial elements of information to our aircrews,” said Maj. Andrew Jerry, the 184th ATKS Safety. “We are fortunate we have the 188th Weather Flight working the mission with us to provide real-time updates. Our weather professionals are outstanding at what they do, and at times have been the difference between being able to stay on target to complete the mission successfully and having to leave the area due to degrading weather conditions.”

The Weather Flight helps aircrews by studying weather components and briefing them before every single flight.  

“Elements that affect aircraft are upper air wind turbulence, clouds, icing, lightening and precipitation,” said MSgt. Morgana Schluterman, a meteorological technician with 188th Weather Flight. “For example, a lightning strike could short out all of the electronic instruments on an aircraft causing it to crash. Our job is to make sure the aircraft is in a safe place in the sky, to maximize its mission effectiveness, and minimize damage or loss of aircraft.”

In other words, weather forecasting is critical to the flying mission because it can cost lives.  

“With a fighter, forecasting the winds or thunderstorms incorrectly can cause the jet to crash,” agreed SSgt. Colter Neeley, a 188th Wing meterological technician who has supported multiple aircraft like the MQ-1, F-15, F-16, CH-47, the UH-60 aircraft, as well as Air Force One.  “With the MQ-9, it can cause the aircraft to fail and can prevent pilots and sensor operators from putting munitions where they need to go, risking mission accomplishment and the safety of friendlies on the ground.” 

To forecast at home and abroad, the 188th Weather Flight uses satellite systems and model information through Weatherview.  There are also seven Operation Weather Squadron pages broken into regions across the globe.  These pages provide satellite, radar, model data, and observations or forecasts for every air force base. 

“Climatology is an excellent source of information that is provided to us by the 14th Weather Squadron,” said Schluterman.  “Climatology is a historical record of all observations and is used to provide general guidance for weather in specific regions, so it may be forecast in the case of limited data (such as there is no computers available, or the websites are all down).”  

The 188th Weather Flight works with other bases as well.   If the 188th needs to gather space weather information, they can reach out to the 557th Weather Wing, based out of Offutt AFB.  The Navy can provide model data available to the wing, and the general public, through the website known as FNMOC.  The Wing can also use the Mark IVB which is a satellite product available to the public, as well as Gibson Ridge Versions 2 and 3 are Radar products. 

“The NOAA and National Weather Service products are available to the public for stateside, Hawaii and Alaska,” said Schluterman. “They can provide satellite, radar, model data, and observations for every airfield in these areas.” 

To enlist in the Air Force as a weather forecaster, you just need to get a high score on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test.  Neeley recommends being mechanically savvy as well, due to the nature of forecasting and the equipment used will operate during training.

“The hardest thing about weather is learning how to forecast,” said Neeley, who said weather school is about nine months long. “The Air Force provides you with everything you need to create a successful forecast. As a weather forecaster, you can forecast at home or anywhere in the world.”  

 

 

Weather at home and abroad

  • Published
  • By Capt. Jennifer Gerhardt
  • 188th Wing

Most of us look out the window every morning before work to see what the weather is like.  On casual observation, we decide if we need a winter coat or sunscreen.  However, for the military flying community, knowing weather condition is critical to operational success.

The term “weather” describes the day-to-day state of the atmosphere at a certain place and time.  Weather constantly flows and changes throughout the day, and it has six main components: temperature, atmospheric pressure, wind, humidity, precipitation, and cloudiness.  

For pilots, weather is the first stage of mission planning.  

“Knowing what the weather is doing and how it will affect the aircraft, route of flight, destination, etcetera, are crucial elements of information to our aircrews,” said Maj. Andrew Jerry, the 184th ATKS Safety. “We are fortunate we have the 188th Weather Flight working the mission with us to provide real-time updates. Our weather professionals are outstanding at what they do, and at times have been the difference between being able to stay on target to complete the mission successfully and having to leave the area due to degrading weather conditions.”

The Weather Flight helps aircrews by studying weather components and briefing them before every single flight.  

“Elements that affect aircraft are upper air wind turbulence, clouds, icing, lightening and precipitation,” said MSgt. Morgana Schluterman, a meteorological technician with 188th Weather Flight. “For example, a lightning strike could short out all of the electronic instruments on an aircraft causing it to crash. Our job is to make sure the aircraft is in a safe place in the sky, to maximize its mission effectiveness, and minimize damage or loss of aircraft.”

In other words, weather forecasting is critical to the flying mission because it can cost lives.  

“With a fighter, forecasting the winds or thunderstorms incorrectly can cause the jet to crash,” agreed SSgt. Colter Neeley, a 188th Wing meterological technician who has supported multiple aircraft like the MQ-1, F-15, F-16, CH-47, the UH-60 aircraft, as well as Air Force One.  “With the MQ-9, it can cause the aircraft to fail and can prevent pilots and sensor operators from putting munitions where they need to go, risking mission accomplishment and the safety of friendlies on the ground.” 

To forecast at home and abroad, the 188th Weather Flight uses satellite systems and model information through Weatherview.  There are also seven Operation Weather Squadron pages broken into regions across the globe.  These pages provide satellite, radar, model data, and observations or forecasts for every air force base. 

“Climatology is an excellent source of information that is provided to us by the 14th Weather Squadron,” said Schluterman.  “Climatology is a historical record of all observations and is used to provide general guidance for weather in specific regions, so it may be forecast in the case of limited data (such as there is no computers available, or the websites are all down).”  

The 188th Weather Flight works with other bases as well.   If the 188th needs to gather space weather information, they can reach out to the 557th Weather Wing, based out of Offutt AFB.  The Navy can provide model data available to the wing, and the general public, through the website known as FNMOC.  The Wing can also use the Mark IVB which is a satellite product available to the public, as well as Gibson Ridge Versions 2 and 3 are Radar products. 

“The NOAA and National Weather Service products are available to the public for stateside, Hawaii and Alaska,” said Schluterman. “They can provide satellite, radar, model data, and observations for every airfield in these areas.” 

To enlist in the Air Force as a weather forecaster, you just need to get a high score on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test.  Neeley recommends being mechanically savvy as well, due to the nature of forecasting and the equipment used will operate during training.

“The hardest thing about weather is learning how to forecast,” said Neeley, who said weather school is about nine months long. “The Air Force provides you with everything you need to create a successful forecast. As a weather forecaster, you can forecast at home or anywhere in the world.”