The number of pilots using aviation apps for getting preflight weather information continues to rise while calls to Flight Service specialists decrease, according to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s (AOPA) 2021 Weather Survey. The organization also found that less than one-third of survey respondents reported familiarity with FAA Advisory Circular 91-92 (PDF), which discusses the “development and implementation of preflight self-briefings.” In addition, the FAA’s weather camera program saw heavy use among respondents from Alaska where the program launched. AOPA further noted that the number of unsolicited PIREPs filed has remained flat in spite of efforts to increase filing.
“Survey results over the past few years show a change in how pilots gather weather information prior to flight,” AOPA said in its survey report (PDF). “Use of aviation apps continues to increase, allowing more pilots to conduct self-briefings. While usage of Flight Service specialists is down for this service, their role as an information source that can respond to questions remains important to pilots.”
AOPA has conducted the Weather Survey, which is designed to study how pilots access weather information, annually for the last five years. The 2021 survey received responses from 2,409 pilots from the continental U.S., 148 from Alaska and 7 from Hawaii. Fifty-three percent of respondents were private pilots, 54 percent were instrument current and 67 percent flew single-engine piston, fixed-gear aircraft.