Every student training for their private pilot license will have to complete a cross-country flight. As part of planning that flight, you’ll need to learn how to obtain a weather briefing.
How to Obtain a Weather Briefing
The two main ways to obtain weather briefings is to call a flight service station and take notes on an oral briefing, or connect online to find weather briefing sites like, the Aviation Weather Center and 1800WXbrief.
Types of Weather Briefings
There are three types of weather briefings you can request: A Standard, Outlook or Abbreviated Briefing.
A standard briefing is requested for flights that are due to depart within six hours, and requires the following information:
- Type of flight (VFR or IFR).
- Aircraft identification.
- Aircraft type
- Cruising true airspeed.
- Departure airport.
- Proposed departure time.
- Proposed cruising altitude.
- Route of flight.
- Estimated time en route.
- Fuel on board
- Alternate airport.
An Outlook briefing is requested if your proposed departure time is six hours or more in the future.
And an abbreviated briefing is requested to update an earlier briefing.
Each of these briefings will give you current weather information for airports along your route, forecasts and winds aloft.
What is No-Go Weather
No-go weather is when weather conditions are too bad to fly. What constitutes as no-go weather can be determined by your local flight environment and skill level, but here are some general no-go weather conditions:
- Visibility less than 3 miles
- Ceilings below 1000 feet
- Crosswinds over 20 knots
- Severe turbulence
Weather is a big factor in having a safe and successful flight, so make sure you take the time to get accurate weather briefings before each flight.
Whether you're just learning how to become a pilot or your gearing up for a career in aviation knowing how to obtain a weather briefing is an essential skill every pilot should master.