Short Course in Applied Meteorology for Regional Operators


Challenges of "Weather Decision Making" in Regional Flight Operations

Regional operations (i.e., MEDEVAC, air carrier, charter, freight and cargo services) frequently require flying into small, remote aerodromes and sites; often operating irregularly and on demand.  These aerodromes and routes are often characterised by little support and limited available data (e.g., PIREPs/AIREPs, METARs, TAFs, TTFs).  Compounding the problem, are the often vague forecast products; typically generalised over a large forecast area.  Given the limited support and data, as well as other factors, it could be argued that flight planning and decision making in regional operations is, in some respects, more challenging than in other operations. 


Weather (i.e., thunderstorms, freezing rain), low ceilings and reduced visibilities impact all phases of flight as well as pilot decision making, safety, fuel costs, and profits.  Regardless if it is a “good weather day,” weather is a central consideration in flight planning and pilot decision making.  Thus, a sound understanding of weather (particularly a practical and applied understanding) is essential. 


Course Objectives


This course is conducted in a workshop fashion and, unlike many others, is not strictly based around theory with the hope that pilots will be able to translate the disconnected theory into operational terms.  The workshop is aimed at encouraging participants to develop a systematic method for assessing weather trends and forecasting; a method that has a scientific basis but one which can also be applied to real-time situations where there are heavy workloads and severe time constraints.


This workshop does not strictly look at meteorology.  Given the workshop is aimed at enhancing and supporting decisions related to weather, it is also important to look at the decision and trouble shooting (error recovery) processes themselves.  Unlike most decision making courses, which often only look at classical decision making theories (e.g., the DECIDE model), this workshop will look at how pilots really make decisions.  In addition to analytical decision making, and from a weather perspective, the workshop will also examine decision making in stressful, high-risk situations, which are often characterised by time constraints, and limited and conflicting information.   

Who should attend?

Pilots and dispatchers, supervisors, and training personnel of regional airlines, air charter, freight and cargo services, and corporate, government, MEDEVAC, SAR, and law enforcement flight operations.

Participant Prerequisites

It is assumed that all participants, at a minimum, have a satisfactory knowledge of material set out in their country’s CPL meteorology syllabus (i.e., FAA, Transport Canada, JAA, Australian CASA, South African CAA).


Course Outline


This course can be tailored to the customer’s area of operation (i.e., Canada, US, Australia, South Africa, Europe, Southeast Asia).


This is an operational course and will embed interpretation of satellite, ground radar, analysis charts (i.e., surface, 500 hPa), METARs, TAFs, TTFs, Numerical Weather Prediction models, and Aerological diagrams (i.e., Skew-T) for greater understanding and application in flight operations.


Day 1:



Weather Hazards


“Code Grey” Proactive Forecasting Programme


Operational Decision Making, and Error Recovery (Weather Focus)


Weather Analysis and Self-briefing procedure and checklist


Conducting Weather Briefings


Introduction to Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models


Day 2:



Non-convective winds


Upper Level Winds and Temperatures


Low-level Wind Shear


Turbulence (Low and Upper Level)


Day 3:



Low Ceilings and Obstructions to Visibility


Precipitation (including freezing precip. - depending on customer’s operating environment)




Day 4:


  Thunderstorm Refresher


Severe thunderstorms (including Case Studies)


Air mass Thunderstorms


Multicell Thunderstorms


Supercell Thunderstorms


Gust Fronts, Microbursts and Marcobursts


Lightning and Hail


Convective Winds


Day 5:



Group Weather Flight Planning Exercise (including giving a weather briefing)


Analysis of a significant weather event or accident


Take Home



Comprehensive course notebook


Operational examples and solutions


Certificate of completion


Course Duration, Location and Tuition

Course Duration: 5 days

Fee: $2100.00 USD

Location: Various locations – In-house available

All Dutcher SMS 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. For courses delivered in the United Kingdom, all prices are in UK Pounds (GBP).  For courses delivered in all other European countries, all prices are in Euros. For delivery in other countries, please contact us.


Regular Facilitators: John Dutcher and Martin Babakhan


For More Information

Download Course Brochure:

"Short Course in Applied Meteorology for Regional Operators" (125 kb)

Related Courses:

Short Course in Applied International Aviation Meteorology

Weather Risk Management



© Dutcher Safety & Meteorology Services (2003-2008)
Last Updated: 10 Apr 0