The NTSB recently issued a safety alert to pilots warning them to actively maintain awareness of severe weather along their entire route of flight. NTSB officials say they have identified several accidents in which in-flight encounters with severe weather were the cause — or contributed to — accidents. All the accidents involved aircraft operating under instrument flight rules (IFR) and in contact with air traffic controllers. Investigations revealed that pilots were either not advised about areas of severe weather or were given incomplete information. The primary job of ATC is to keep IFR aircraft separated, NTSB officials note. When their workload permits, controllers also are required to provide additional services such as weather advisories, and, upon pilot request, suggested headings to avoid radar-displayed precipitation.
The safety alert provides information that every pilot should know when operating in the air traffic system and near severe weather, NTSB officials add.