NTSB Publishes User Guide to Stimulate Better Pireps

Safety alert offers practical tips to overcome hurdles to creating pilot reports.

The NTSB published a three-page safety alert reminding aviators of the identified weaknesses in the current Pirep system.NTSB

Closely following the National Transportation Safety Board’s March release of an investigative report into deficiencies in the pilot weather reporting system, the Board yesterday published a three-page safety alert – SA 064 – designed to remind aviators of the identified weaknesses in the current Pirep system while encouraging them to help create better reports because of the inherent safety benefits.

The Board believes “complete, accurate, and timely weather information is essential to support flight safety for all aircraft operations — large and small — in the NAS; it is vital for use in avoiding inadvertent encounters with hazardous weather and preventing weather-related accidents.”

The NTSB's 68-page March report uncovered handling problems in the gathering and dissemination of weather information during a number of accident and incident investigations, all of which came to light during the NTSB's Pirep forum in June 2016.

The safety alert offers common-sense solutions to Pirep deficiencies that continue the educational effort the Board began a few months ago, explaining the wide variety of weather conditions that could qualify as potential reports, something the Board believes many pilots don’t understand. Many pilots also believe their weather analysis skills are lacking, making their Pireps less valuable and hence halting them from even participating in the Pirep system.

The Board also identified a lack of pilot understanding of the methodology for reporting aviation weather while airborne. The alert highlighted a critical issue in Pirep generation, the importance of accuracy in reporting the location and time of the significant weather phenomenon. All of these deficiencies could well be avoided if pilots sat down with a CFI or weather specialist to discuss how to improve the person’s Pirep identification and reporting skills.

Supporting the education effort, the alert is chock full of resources designed to assist a CFI or interested pilots in improving their Pirep identification and reporting.