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Airmet Zulu

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Weather

As we know, an Airmet Zulu will be issued for moderate icing.  After further research, I have found this to be particular confusing.  Say an Airmet Zulu is issued for the surface-10,000'msl.  The OVC base is at say 5,000'msl and the surface temperature is 60 degrees farenheit with light rain showers in the area. Now, where are we going to find the icing? In ANY visible moisture(clouds/rain)? ABOVE the freezing level? If we are flying below the freezing level but still in visible moisture(clouds/rain) could we still pick up icing? Do supercooled water droplets or freezing rain get mentioned in the specific airmet?

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1 Answers



  1. Mark Kolber on Jan 07, 2016

    I think you are over-complicating it and perhaps looking for a degree of specificity that is not there.

    The Airmet speaks in general terms. It is a forecast of weather conditions over a large area, maybe several states. In the case of Zulu, it is a forecast that conditions in the area are generally conducive to moderate icing. It is not a prediction that any specific location will have ice.

    A hint of this comes from the freezing level forecast, which is usually stated in terms like “FRZLVL….RANGING FROM SFC-105 ACRS AREA” or “MULT FRZLVL BLW …” It doesn’t tell you that you will or won’t encounter ice, or for that matter, clouds, at any specific location any more than the weatherman saying there is a 70% chance of rain in your city means your house will get wet.

    It’s a warning. An advisory. What it tells me as in instrument pilot is, if I am planning a flight in that area I will need to dig a bit deeper as part of my preflight planning and decision-making.

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