Fall is almost here, which means daylight ends earlier, and flying time becomes limited! This gives me the time I need to continue developing features for the site. If you may have noticed, there are now a new menu item up top – Wind.
If you take a look at the URL for the new wind app, you will see it is – https://wind.ppgzone.com. This makes it super easy to remember, and you can access it easily on memory alone! The data source comes from NOAA’s RAP model. This model is used by a few other popular wind sites, and if you compare results they will be identical.
When you first load the page, you will have defaulted to my local airport here in Joplin, Missouri. You can easily click the Map Marker icon to utilize your browser’s coordinates or enter a location in the search box. The search box is hooked into google locations, to make it quick and easy to identify your approximate location and address.
Once you have selected a location, it will take several seconds for the application to go fetch the data. Among this data is 18 hours of balloon sounding data, including one hour previous, the current hour, and 16 future hours. You will also notice the application attempts to display an address based on the supplied coordinates of your location. Again, this is useful to provide to other pilots if you need a quick address to relay.
You will also notice there is a METAR scrolling on the top. This displays the METAR from the closest airport. These readings are usually up-to-date to the latest hour. There are timestamps included to help you make the most of the data.
As you start to browse the data, you will see there are 18 columns of wind data. This includes the previous hour, the current hour, and 16 hours of future forecasts. Let’s take two of these columns and break it down.
In this specific scenario, I pulled the times for 5 and 6pm this evening. If we look, we have no CIN or CAPE. Which means clear weather and no chance of storms. These values do change, and you can hover your mouse over them to get more information on exactly what they mean.
Below the Time, CIN, and Cape, we have – “Altitude“, “Temp“, “Direction“, and “Speed“. All these values relate to the wind forecasts for this evening. If we take a look at the first column, “Altitude” – you will notice off the bat I have it set to AGL. You can change these settings in the “settings” menu in the upper right hand corner. We’ll get more into that later.
The second column, is displaying the temperature at those specific altitudes. For anything below freezing, you will notice the temps turn blue. Make sure to wear warm clothes!
The third column, is displaying the wind direction and there is an arrow to indicate which direction the wind is currently blowing. This makes it super quick and easy to tell if the wind is going to be changing direction in the up coming hours.
And the last column is the wind speed! Right away, you notice there is lots of orange and red! I currently have it set to display orange for anything above 15MPH, and red for anything above 35mph. You really should not be flying if its orange, or red, unless you’re Kyle’O.
Settings! If you look in the upper right-hand corner of the page, you will see a menu icon.
The settings are pretty simple, and self-explanatory. By default, they are all set to the left-hand values – MSL, Fahrenheit, and MPH. The first setting will switch all values between, Median Sea Level and Above Ground Level. The temp and wind speed settings are for our metric brothers up north in Canada!
And that’s all there is to it!