Weather Risk Management

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Meteorology for Air Safety Investigations 


It’s a fact! Weather has a significant impact on safety, air traffic management (ATM), fuel burn, and on-time performance. Weather was a contributing factor in 46% of fatal accidents between 2014 and 2018 – 33% all accidents. In the US, about 75% of delays are weather-related; costing billions of dollars per year. Besides delays, NASA’s Aviation Safety program estimates the cost to the airlines from encounters with turbulence runs more than $100 million USD per year, with one airline estimating that each encounter of severe turbulence costs an average of $750,000 USD. In addition to the direct costs, an encounter with adverse weather may result in turbulence-related injuries, flight diversions, increased fuel burn, and passenger inconvenience.

To allow for lessons learned, air safety events must be comprehensively investigated to determine how weather was a contributing causal factor. Investigations must include gathering and interpreting atmospheric data to establish the state of the atmosphere at the time of the occurrence, during the flight, as well as pre-flight. Detailed analysis of atmosphere data will enable investigators to identify if, and what, meteorological factors played a role in event causation (e.g., low-level wind shear, icing, strong crosswinds, turbulence encounter, and rapidly deteriorating visibility).

Though it is important to understand what meteorological conditions and phenomena influenced the aircraft, it is also important to understand controller, pilot and dispatcher decisions in relation to weather. By having a detailed understanding of the meteorological conditions present at the time of the occurrence, in-flight, and pre-flight, investigators will be better able to understand situations encountered by the controllers, pilots and dispatchers, as well as the operational decisions that came out of them. This analysis may highlight issues with controller, pilot or dispatcher incorrect and/or incomplete knowledge due to training deficiencies, and/or poor dissemination of weather data, or incomplete weather data due to reporting limitations. By combining forensic meteorology and Human Factors, investigators will not only be able to identify unsafe preconditions and individual failures, but organisational and regulatory failures (e.g., inadequate weather SOPs; inadequate MET training requirements) that may have played a role in the occurrence.

To facilitate a comprehensive understanding of how weather played a role in occurrence causation, a systematic approach to weather investigations is examined during this course. This course will examine guidance outlined in ICAO Doc. 9756 - Manual of Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation - Part III to ensure investigators look at weather-rated mishaps from, obviously, a meteorological perspective identifying the weather conditions and phenomena that may have played a contributing role in the mishap, but also from a technical and Human Factors and organisational perspective. Understanding the context in which humans err is fundamental to understanding the unsafe conditions that may have affected their behaviour and decision-making. These unsafe conditions may be indicative of systemic risks posing significant accident potential. Air safety investigators will then be able to prepare recommendations to reduce future recurrence. Those working within an airline or air traffic control, results will inform corrective and preventive actions within your Safety Management System.

Course Objectives

This three day (3 day) workshop is designed to provide delegates with the necessary knowledge of how meteorological hazards and weather risk management deficiencies contribute to decision errors and weather-related accidents. 

You will leave this fast-paced training course with weather visualisation skills to appreciate the three dimensional nature of the atmosphere as well as the types of data (including numerical models) used to analyse the 3D aspects of weather producing phenomena involved in occurrences. You will also review weather related investigations guidance outlined in ICAO Doc. 9756 - Manual of Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation - Part III as well as actual accident reports from around the world. 

*Note: John Dutcher wrote the section on weather investigation in ICAO Doc. 9756 - Part III.

Course Outline

The course will include such topics as:

  • Managing the Impact of Weather on Safety
          - Role of weather in aircraft accidents and incidents
          - Some recent events, trends, and stats
          - How weather investigation supports safety improvement
          - Where does weather fit into Safety Management Systems?

  • “Weather System” – International Air Navigation Standards (e.g. ICAO Annex 3, Doc 8896, Doc 9377)

  • Review of Aviation Weather Hazards

          - The atmosphere (structure, effect of temperature on aircraft performance, tropopause)
              - Upper Level Winds, Jet streams and Clear Air Turbulence
                - Mid-latitude weather systems (e.g., cold fronts, warm fronts, troughs, blizzards)
                  - Tropical weather (e.g., tropical waves, troughs, Tropical Cyclones/Typhoons)
                    - Thunderstorms (including Mesoscale Convective Systems, and Supercells)
                      - Icing
                        - Low Level Turbulence, Wake Turbulence and Mountain Wave Turbulence
                          - Low Level Wind Shear, Crosswinds and Strong Winds
                            - Low Visibility (Fog, Sandstorms, Whiteouts, Duststorms)

                  • The investigation process per ICAO Doc. 9756 - Part III.

                           - Preparation and preliminary actions
                           - Initial actions
                           - Collection of data (i.e., Observations, Radar, Satellite, Upper Air, etc.)
                           - Admin considerations: Standard Operating Procedures – MET Data Capture following Event

                  • Analysis of MET data (Ref: per ICAO Doc. 9756 - Part III)

                           - Data plotting
                             - Examination of weather data in relation to weather causal factors
                               - Interpretation of results

                      • Investigation of Human Factors in relation to Meteorological Events

                               - Analysis of Individual, Team, Supervisory, Organisational, and Regulatory Factors 
                               - Understanding Weather-related Decision Making

                      Who should attend?

                      This course is for individuals who may become involved in future aircraft incident/accident investigations; including airline air safety investigators, pilot union representatives, government investigators and investigators for air traffic services, military and aviation insurance agencies.

                      - Aircraft Accident Investigators
                      - Safety Managers
                      - Safety Officers

                      - Nominated Personnel (i.e., Postholders)

                      - Civil Aviation Authority Inspectors


                      Participants must have a firm meteorology knowledge level equivalent to that of an Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL) or Flight Dispatch Licence or their Military equivalent.  

                      Workshop Duration, Location and Tuition

                               – In-house available

                      Next: 19 - 21 Aug 2019 - Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 

                      Next:  06 - 08 Nov 2019 - Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 

                      Next: 28 - 30 Nov 2019 - Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam  

                      Workshop Duration: 3 days (0900h to 1700h each day).

                      Location: Various locations – In-house available.

                      Fee: $1250.00 USD


                      10% Discount when 6 or more participants from the same company (on the same invoice) are registered.

                       5% Discount when 3 - 5 participants from the same company (on the same invoice) are registered.


                      Instructors include:

                      All courses taught in English language.

                      Customised in-house training also available.

                      Our courses can be delivered to your offices and tailored to your organisation's needs. If you have a group of 5 or more individuals for this course, please contact us and we will provide you with information about bringing this course to your offices at a time convenient for you and your staff.

                      Training or Consulting Request?

                      Thank you for contacting us. We will get back to you as soon as possible.

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