By PAULA ALLMAN, Strategic Communication Directorate, U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center, Fort Rucker, Ala.February 29, 2012
Before you encounter any of these severe weather phenomena that summer promises, prepare yourself. Brush up on known hazards and how to avoid or minimize the risks.
The weather has no respect for experience or ratings, nor will it manifest sympathy for the inexperienced and unqualified. If you lack training, qualification or adequate preparation, be prepared to pay the high price severe weather will demand. While the weather may have no respect for your abilities, or the lack thereof, you can respect the hazards associated with severe weather conditions and learn to assess and manage risks accordingly. Never accept a weather risk if there is a control option that would lower that risk.
One of the best protections against inadvertently encountering severe weather in flight is being forewarned of its possible existence or development. A thorough and complete preflight weather briefing is critical. Some operational weather squadrons now have an instrument refresher course online so pilots can brush up on seasonal hazards. However, the pilot's responsibility for avoiding severe weather does not end with the preflight briefing. It continues with constant in-flight weather observations and careful attention to radio weather advisories along the route. Stay informed, stay alert. Forewarned, you are less likely to run into trouble.
Learn to respect nature's often unpredictable and awesome power. Don't let weather hazards spoil your warm-weather flying. Mission First, Safety Always!