WeatherXplore GFA Tool

The GFA Tool

The Graphical Forecasts for Aviation tool has replaced the old textual area forecasts most of us used to know and only some of us loved.

This new tool is similar to what you might find on an Ipad app to better depict the weather on an overlayed map to help you visualize exactly what you will encounter along your route of flight.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • Displays are updated continuously and can be viewed in the past or into the future
  • The weather displayed is updated as it comes from that weather product, not “constantly refreshed”
  • The tool covers the surface to FL420
  • Wind, icing, and turbulence forecasts are available in 3,000′ increments from the surface to FL180 and 6,000′ increments to FL420
  • Refer to AC 00-45H or click the button on the bottom right of the tool for a legend of symbols
  • Remember you can turn off a layer on the GFA tool, don’t think just because you do not see something that it is not there!
  • You can always call a weather briefer (and should) to further explain the weather you are seeing depicted on the GFA tool
  • Refer to AC 00-45H chg. 1 (5-61)_or click the button on the bottom right of the tool for a legend of symbols

The Scenario

You would like to go on a 100nm cross country flight to another airport.  There is an airport along the route with a TAF, but no other good forecasts along the route (remember a TAF is only a forecast for a 5nm radius around the airport it is for).  You can use the GFA tool to help build a picture of the weather you are likely to encounter at your cruising altitude during the time of your flight.  You use the GFA tool and find a few symbols along your route that you are not sure what they mean.  You call 1-800-WX-BRIEF and talk with a briefer to clarify the symbols and confirm the weather you are seeing along the route.  This is a happy scenario, one that ends well as you use all the tools available at your disposal to paint a good image in your mind of the weather prior to takeoff.  Just remember to not miss something because you turned off a layer on the GFA tool!