Alaska pilots requested to file more reports

    Alaskan pilots are being encouraged to fill out a national survey aimed at collecting information about Pilot Reporting, the system used to relay observations about weather and factors that may help other pilots.

    Posted Monday, May 23rd, 2016 1:06pm by Lori James

    Alaskan pilots are being encouraged to fill out a national survey aimed at collecting information about Pilot Reporting, the system used to relay observations about weather and factors that may help other pilots.

    Alaska Representative for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Tom George, says the PIREP national survey was spurred by the lack of reports being filed:

    "Two years ago at the Valdez Fly-In when the weather was kind of questionable, we noted that there weren't any pilot reports being filed and the kind of weather you'd really like to have a pilot to report to know whether you could get through paths or not. This kind of prompted some discussion in the community with the FAA and different aviation groups."

    Since then, a working group has begun looking at pilot reports across the board, encouraging pilots to file more, and delving into the system to see what kind of improvements can be made.

    Compared to the rest of the United States, Alaska has six times as many pilots per capita and 16 times as many aircraft per capita.

    George says the Association wants to let pilots know, it's not just bad weather that pilots should report on. With far fewer weather observation stations than the continental U.S., forecasters are interested in as many reports as possible:

    "The weather forecast is very clear that there is interest in pilot reports that confirm that there's not any turbulence, conditions that might have been forecast, or not as forecast as much as looking just for adverse conditions. It's not a matter of just file a pilot report when you run into bad weather, as they would like to get pilot reports that confirm good weather or weather as forecast as well."

    Typically pilots use a their aircraft radio to communicate their pilot reports with air traffic controllers or flight service stations, but George says there are more apps being developed to make it easier.

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