Knowing what Mother Nature has in store is critical for pilots planning a cross-county flight. Generally, this research starts with the big picture, with specific interest in areas of convective activity such as thunderstorms between Chicago Executive Airport and their destination. The Aviation Weather Center has made this big-picture easier to grasp with its TFM Convective Forecast (TCF).
The forecast is a collaborative effort that creates a high-confidence representation of convective activity for those making traffic flow decisions. But pilots should find looking at it beneficial because they can see how Mother Nature might affect their cross-country flights out of Chicago Exec.
Available for this year’s convective weather season, which runs from March 1 through October, the TCF is the result of the two-year Collaborated Aviation Weather Statement (CAWS) demonstration. (An auto-TCF begins in November 2017 and runs through March 2018.) Succinctly, the TCF is an agreed upon forecast, compiled from a variety of weather sources, for use by all traffic flow managers.
Collaborated between the National Weather Service and industry meteorologists and available online at www.aviationweather.gov/tcf, the TCF is issued every 2 hours, with 4, 6, and 8-hour forecast projections 24/7. All areas depicted on the graphics will be “high confidence,” meaning meteorologists are better than 50 percent sure of it. TCF graphically indicates convective coverage. Tops of the convective activity are given in 5,000-foot increments starting at 25,000 feet and extending above 40,000 for you high flyers.
TCF is the primary convective guidance traffic flow managers use to plan their efforts to safely and efficiently guide rivers of airplanes across the country. If you’re interested in more information about TCF or Traffic Flow Management, visit its online Learning Center.