Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Do you use weatherturndown.com?

I came across a thread on Lyn Burks' forum at JustHelicopters.com. The question posed was, do we use the information on the site weatherturndown.com

I confess that I don't use it. Maybe I should. What I try to do is figure out why another pilot has refused a flight for weather, understanding that sometimes weather is not the issue...

I don't know for sure, but I suspect that the reasons some flights get turned down for weather are perhaps...

No pilot.

No crew.

It's near the end of my 12 hour shift and I don't want to stay late...

I just heard about a flight getting refused for thunderstorms in the forecast. The flight was a short one, perhaps 20 minutes, the current skies were clear, and the request came in just prior to shift change... A revenue chance was tossed aside. In the summer, thunderstorms are almost always a possibility.

If we use weather as an excuse when weather is not a problem, we will teach management to distrust us, and all weather refusals will be suspect. This will result in pressure to fly and will end up getting someone hurt.

Here is what one poster wrote:

I understand, to a point, why some folks may have thought a website like this is necessary. People were trying to decrease the accident rate within our industry. Unfortunately, only training and good decision making will reverse that trend.
I personally do do not use this site. I prefer to evaluate the weather Based on my 20 plus years of local and professional knoledge. 
The shopping has not stopped. My own company has a Comm a Center that shops. The "weather turndowns" are not always based on weather  Some folks just don't want to fly and will look for any excuse not to. Some folks find it is a non-paying patient and just use the weather as an excuse.  Yes, pretty bad, but it happens.  I don't want to wade through that crap during my assessment. 
I have many more important things to do before a flight or during my assessment to take a flight than to sign on to a website to see what folks in my region are doing.  My comm center will pass along known turndowns anyway which I take with a grain of salt due to above mentioned reasons. 

And here are the thoughts of a pilot I think highly of, having never met him(her?) in person... Captain Easy wrote:

I don't use that site. Why would I? If I want to know if someone else has turned a flight down, dispatch will usually tell me. If not, I will ask them. If they don't know, it still doesn't matter that much. Here are a couple of tips:
1. Learn to make your own weather decisions. If you can't do that, find another line of work. What if YOU are the first aircraft called?
2. Learn that weather decisions are not "one and done". Weather is something you should be evaluating throughout the flight. Learn how to make weather decisions in flight, if necessary, and have a plan in case you need to deviate, get an IFR clearance, turn around, or land.
"Copter shopping" - I never worry about being the second, third, or tenth person called. Why? Because I can make my own weather decisions. I might be able to take a flight that someone else turned down "for weather". It might surprise some people, but not all weather turn downs are actually "for weather". There are VFR only programs out there who have higher weather mins, and for whom IFR is out of the question. There are people (and sometimes entire programs) out there that are IFR INO (IFR In Name Only). What is actually plain vanilla IFR is still very intimidating to some.
Just my 2 cents.  

What are your thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. I have to say Dan, I thought Cpt Easy's comments were spot on. Different programs have different equipment and capabilities.There are just too many variables to blindly turn down flights due to some one else deciding to. Will it spur me to do a double check if I know it's already been turned down? Sure, of course. But if ive done my due diligence, I have no issues accepting once I've determined it's safe to do so.


Tell us what you think. If you are involved in helicopter emergency medical services / air ambulances, this is your community. Please refrain from posting profanity, or comments that might be considered libelous or slanderous.