Weather-Related Decision Making for General Aviation Pilots

Weather-related decision-making remains a significant factor in general aviation fatal accidents. One explanation for poor aeronautical decision making (ADM) with respect to weather is that pilots either misinterpret, fail to perceive, or fail to integrate information associated with deteriorating weather conditions. In addition to recognizing deteriorating weather conditions, pilots must also make an effective and timely decision to divert from their planned route of flight. This is often a difficult decision for a variety of reasons, including lack of planning for such a diversion, lack of knowledge of alternatives, and psychological factors that tend to encourage the pilot to press on, even in the face of obviously adverse conditions.

In response to these problems, the Federal Aviation Administration sponsored a number of research programs at The Ohio State University and elsewhere aimed at a better understanding of the reasons for accidents among general aviation pilots and the development of interventions to reduce those accidents. The present program was one of the products of those research and development efforts.

Training Objectives -- At the end of this program, you should be able to:

    • recognize deteriorating weather conditions by observing changes among several key indicators
    • determine when a diversion is prudent
    • select a safe and effective diversion airport

Organization of training program

    • This program consists of an Introduction that covers weather-related indicators, planning for diversions, and one practice flight.
    • Additional practice flights are available, and can be downloaded as desired.
    • The Introduction and the flights are all PowerPoint presentations.
    • You MUST complete the Introduction and
      Flight 1before trying the other flights.


    • This program and the associated flights are copyrighted as derivatives of the original, public domain version created under contract to the FAA.
    • Permission is granted to reproduce and distribute this program and the associated flights in the interests of improving flight safety, provided that the source ( is noted, and that the copyright notices contained on each page are not removed.

Further information

    • For a study that has shown the effectiveness of this program, see: M. Wiggins and D, O’Hare (2003). Weatherwise: Evaluation of a cue-based training approach for the recognition of deteriorating weather conditions during flight. Human Factors, Volume 45, Pages 337–-345.



Introduction and Flight 1 - Gallia to Bridgewater

Flight 2 - Alliance to Yankton

Flight 3 - Lemmon to Aberdeen

Flight 4 - Brookings to Redmond

Flight 5 - Bethel to McGrath


If you do not have a copy of Microsoft PowerPoint, then you can download a PowerPoint Viewer that will allow you to view the program.