Preflight Briefing

Leidos Preflight Briefing


Obtaining A Preflight Briefing:

  • Flight Service is one of the primary sources for obtaining preflight briefings and to file flight plans by phone or the Internet
  • Flight Service Specialists are qualified and certificated as Pilot Weather Briefers by the FAA
  • They are not authorized to make original forecasts but are authorized to translate and interpret available forecasts and reports directly into terms describing the weather conditions, which you can expect along your flight route and at your destination
  • Prior to every flight, pilots should gather all information vital to the nature of the flight. Pilots can receive a regulatory compliant briefing without contacting Flight Service. Pilots are encouraged to use automated resources and review AC 91-92, Pilot's Guide to a Preflight Briefing, for more information. Pilots who prefer to contact Flight Service are encouraged to conduct a self-brief prior to calling. Conducting a self-brief before contacting Flight Service provides familiarity of meteorological and aeronautical conditions applicable to the route of flight and promotes a better understanding of weather information

Standard Briefing:

  • Pilots should request a Standard Briefing any time you are planning a flight and you have not received a previous briefing or have not received preliminary information through online resources
  • International data may be inaccurate or incomplete
  • If you are planning a flight outside of U.S. controlled airspace, the briefer will advise you to check data as soon as practical after entering foreign airspace, unless you advise that you have the international cautionary advisory
  • The briefer will automatically provide the following information in the sequence listed, when applicable
  • Adverse Conditions:

    • Significant meteorological and aeronautical information that might influence the pilot to alter or cancel the proposed flight
      • Example: hazardous weather conditions, airport closures, air traffic delays, etc.
    • Pilots should be especially alert for current or forecast weather that could reduce flight minimums below Visual Flight Rules (VFR) or Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) conditions
    • Pilots should also be alert for any reported or forecast icing if the aircraft is not certified for operating in icing conditions
    • Flying into areas of icing or weather below minimums could have disastrous results
  • Synopsis:

    • A brief statement describing the type, location, and movement of weather systems and/or air masses that might affect the proposed flight
      • These first three elements of a briefing may be combined in any order when the briefer believes it will help to describe conditions more clearly
  • Current Conditions:

    • Reported weather conditions applicable to the flight are summarized from all available sources; e.g., METARs/ SPECIs, PIREPs, RAREPs
    • This element will be omitted if the proposed time of departure is beyond two-hours, unless the pilot specifically requests the information
  • En-Route Forecast:

    • Forecast en-route conditions for the proposed route are summarized in logical order; i.e., departure/climb-out, en-route, and descent (Heights are Mean Sea Level [MSL]), unless the contractions Above Ground Level, "AGL," or Ceiling, "CIG," indicate that heights are above ground)
  • Destination Forecast:

    • The destination forecast for the planned estimated time of arrival (ETA)
    • Any significant changes within one-hour before and after the planned arrival are included
  • Winds Aloft:

    • Forecast winds aloft will be provided using degrees of the compass
    • The briefer will interpolate wind directions and speeds between levels and stations as necessary to provide expected conditions at planned altitudes (heights are in MSL)
    • Temperature information will be provided on request
  • Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs):

    • Available NOTAM (D) information pertinent to the proposed flight, including special use airspace (SUA) NOTAMs for restricted areas, aerial refueling, and night vision goggles (NVG)
    • Prohibited Areas P-40, P-49, P-56, and the special flight rules area (SFRA) for Washington, DC
    • FSS briefers do not provide FDC NOTAM information for special instrument approach procedures unless specifically asked
      • Pilots authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to use special instrument approach procedures must specifically request FDC NOTAM information for these procedures
      • NOTAM information may be combined with current conditions when the briefer believes it is logical to do so
      • Airway NOTAMs, procedural NOTAMs, and NOTAMs general in nature and not tied to a specific airport/facility (for example, flight advisories and restrictions, open duration special security instructions, and special flight rules areas) are briefed solely by pilot request. For complete flight information, pilots must review the Domestic Notices, and International Notices in the External Links section of the Federal NOTAM System (FNS) NOTAM Search System and the Chart Supplement U.S. In addition to obtaining a briefing
        • For complete flight information, pilots must review the printed NOTAMs in the Notices to Airmen Publication and the Chart Supplement U.S. in addition to obtaining a briefing
  • Air Traffic Control Delays:

  • Other Information Available:

    • Pilots may obtain the following from flight service station briefers upon request:
      • Information on Special Use Airspace (SUA) and SUA-related airspace, except those listed in paragraph 7-1-5b8
        • SUA and related airspace include the following types of airspace: alert area, military operations area (MOA), warning area, and air traffic control assigned airspace (ATCAA)
        • Military Training Routes (MTR) data includes the following types of airspace: IFR training routes (IR), VFR training routes (VR)
        • Pilots are encouraged to request updated information from ATC facilities while in flight
      • A review of airway NOTAMs, procedural NOTAMs, and NOTAMs that are general in nature and not tied to a specific airport/facility (for example, flight advisories and restrictions, open duration special security instructions, and special flight rules areas), Domestic Notices and International Notices. Domestic Notices and International Notices are found in the External Links section of the Federal NOTAM System (FNS) NOTAM Search System
      • Approximate density altitude data
      • Information regarding such items as air traffic services and rules, customs/immigration procedures, Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) rules, search and rescue, etc.
      • Global Positioning System (GPS) Receiver Autonomous Integrity Monitoring (RAIM) availability for one-hour before to one-hour after ETA or a time specified by the pilot
      • Other assistance as required

Abbreviated Briefing:

  • Request an Abbreviated Briefing when you need information to supplement mass disseminated data, update a previous briefing, or when you need only one or two specific items
  • Provide the briefer with appropriate background information, the time you received the previous information, and/or the specific items needed
  • You should indicate the information source already received so that the briefer can limit the briefing to the information that you have not received and/or appreciable changes in meteorological/aeronautical conditions since your previous briefing
  • To the extent possible, the briefer will provide the information in the sequence shown for a Standard Briefing
  • If you request only one or two specific items, the briefer will advise you if adverse conditions are present or forecast (Adverse conditions contain both meteorological and/or aeronautical information)
  • Details on these conditions will be provided at your request
  • International data may be inaccurate or incomplete
  • If you are planning a flight outside of U.S. controlled airspace, the briefer will advise you to check data as soon as practical after entering foreign airspace, unless you advise that you have the international cautionary advisory

Outlook Briefing:

  • You should request an Outlook Briefing whenever your proposed time of departure is six or more hours from the time of the briefing
  • The briefer will provide available forecast data applicable to the proposed flight
  • This type of briefing is provided for planning purposes only
  • You should obtain a Standard or Abbreviated Briefing before departure to obtain such items as adverse conditions, current conditions, updated forecasts, winds aloft, and NOTAMs, etc.

Inflight Briefing:

  • Pilots are encouraged to conduct a self-briefing using online resources or obtain your preflight briefing by telephone or in person (Alaska only) before departure. In those cases where you need to obtain a preflight briefing or an update to a previous briefing by radio, you should contact the nearest FSS to obtain this information. After communications have been established, advise the specialist of the type briefing you require and provide appropriate background information. You will be provided information as specified in the above paragraphs, depending on the type of briefing requested. En Route advisories tailored to the phase of flight that begins after climb-out and ends with descent to land are provided upon pilot request. Besides Flight Service, there are other resources available to the pilot in flight, including:
    • Automated Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast:

      • Free traffic, weather, and flight information are available on Automated Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast, or ADS-B, In receivers that can receive data over 978 MHz (UAT) broadcasts. These services are available across the nation to aircraft owners who equip with ADS-B In, with further advances coming from airborne and runway traffic awareness. Even search-and-rescue operations benefit from accurate ADS-B tracking
    • Flight Information Service-Broadcast:

      • Flight Information Service-Broadcast, or FIS-B, is a free service; but is only available to aircraft that can receive data over 978 MHz (UAT). FIS-B automatically transmits a wide range of weather products with national and regional focus to all equipped aircraft. Having current weather and aeronautical information in the cockpit helps pilots plan more safe and efficient flight paths, as well as make strategic decisions during flight to avoid potentially hazardous weather
    • Pilots are encouraged to provide a continuous exchange of information on weather, winds, turbulence, flight visibility, icing, etc., between pilots and inflight specialists. Pilots should report good weather as well as bad, and confirm expected conditions as well as unexpected. Remember that weather conditions can change rapidly and that a "go or no go" decision, as mentioned in AIM paragraph 7-1-4b2, should be assessed at all phases of flight

Self Briefing:

  • Pilots may opt to conduct a self briefing in accordance with AC 91-92

Preflight Briefing Knowledge Quiz:


  • Available aviation weather reports, forecasts, and aviation weather charts display at each AFSS/FSS
    • Pilots should feel free to use these self briefing displays where available or to ask for a briefing or assistance from the specialist on duty
  • Following any briefing, feel free to ask for any information that you or the briefer may have missed or are not understood
    • This way, the briefer can present the information in a logical sequence and lessens the chance of overlooking important items
  • When filing a flight plan only, you will be asked if you require the latest information on adverse conditions pertinent to the route of flight
  • If, for whatever reason your flight is delayed more than two hours after your last briefing, it is recommended you receive an abbreviated brief to check for anything not proceeding as forecast
  • For more information, a paper copy of Aviation Weather Services: FAA Advisory Circular 00-45H, Change 1&2 (FAA Handbooks series) [Amazon] is available for purchase
  • The FAA publistes a course for conducting preflight self-briefings for IFR pilots
  • Additional resources, which do not meet the requirements for a preflight weather brief, such as NOAA's Standard Briefing, are available
  • While checking your local weather channel may provide some insight into your flight, it is not tailored for aviators, and therefore is not a qualifying resource for flight planning without proper review of AVIATION reports and forecasts
  • Consider cross-checking weather reports against weather cameras provided by NOAA or the FAA's weather camera program
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