We've previously discussed the multitude of weather briefing information that is currently available in our How Can You Find Cloud Tops Without PIREPs? and How Can I Get Free Aviation Weather Now that DUATS is Gone? blogs. There is more and better information available than ever but it can take a lot of time to really get the big picture.
As pilots, we need to know what the weather is doing before we take off and once we're in the air. There are copious free weather sources while you're on the ground, but unless you have your own flight dispatch department supporting you from the ground there are really only two options once you're airborne.
By now you're probably aware that SiriusXM is a satellite based system that brings a lot of capabilities to the cockpit but for a price. The alternative is the ADS-B Flight Information System, which has some limitations but that is rapidly catching up in terms of capabilities.
Our comparison chart gives you an up-to-date comparison of the features and limitations of each solution since there have been a number of recent changes.
There are more options than ever before when it comes to EFBs (Electronic Flight Bags). Some only work on certain hardware platforms. Some include advanced features such as synthetic vision and in-flight weather.
Want to compare the options without having to sift through long descriptions?
The field is IFR or MVFR and you're headed on a cross country. If you fly in remote areas, like us Vermonters, you'll notice a lack of pilot reports, particularly if you're launching early in the morning. So, how do you check for cloud tops?
The FAA discontinued the Direct User Access Terminal Service (DUATS) Program on May 16th, 2018 but there are more ways for pilots to get aviation weather than ever before.