The meteorologist has provided a forecast for those who want to watch the departures on Sunday,
GERMAN as of 5th September 2019
ENGLISH 6th September 2019
Federal Armed Forces meteorologists assess the weather situation at a large and small scale and determine the forecast. They are particularly in demand at major events such as Airpower. Valerie Kumer and Harald Maurer, together with many others, assess the situation at the air show above Aichfeld, Upper Styria. It starts with a morning briefing for all pilots. This briefing is updated every half hour.
The two meteorologists are civil servants at the Langenlebarn air base in Lower Austria and are part of a team of about ten. Five work in the control tower; four are deployed on weather patrols “Today the clouds are at about 5,000 feet, 1,524 meters, above the ground. If they were to drop below 4,000 feet above the runway, it would be problematic,” said Kumer and Maurer in the APA interview. The weather conditions can vary over short distances, “For example, above the airfield it could be sunny while in a nearby valley it is foggy,” said Maurer.
Relevant weather information is provided to the pilots in a briefing for all participants at 08:00, in English. After that, updates are issued every half hour, plus specials for visibility or wind speeds.
Who decides how and when to fly? “We describe the weather, the pilot decides”, said Kumer. Kumer is currently doing a doctorate in meteorology, having completed the Federal Armed Forces meteorological course, and, like Maurer, is also constantly continuing her international training. “However, when certain criteria are fulfilled, such as if there is heavy icing, it is no longer the pilot who decides whether to fly, but us,” said Maurer. The weather patrol, together with their consultants, is also responsible for helicopters at demanding events such as the internationally acclaimed high mountain landing course, or for off-field landings in the Aigen im Ennstal area, Saalfelden, Hochfilzen, or Vomp.
A further area of responsibility is meteorological consultancy for the Daedalus air traffic control operation, where the flight meteorologists sit on the task force. Sometimes they even take a seat in a military aircraft and fly with them. “We then learn what the pilots need, how things present themselves in flight. We benefit from the pilot’s expertise and vice versa,” said Maurer.
However, the wet weather does have a small advantage – in fast aircraft the vortices, such as at the wingtips, cause a long spray mist which tracks the movements of the aircraft beautifully and clearly on the cloudy sky.
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