Journal of Aviation/Aerospace Education & Research






Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Key words

General Aviation Pilots, Weather, Taxonomy, Weather Education and Training, Weather Phenomena, Weather Hazards, Weather Hazard Products, Weather Hazard Product Sources, Weather Technology In the Cockpit


As General Aviation (GA) safety continues to remain a focus of the aviation community, GA pilot weather education and training continues to be an active area of interest within the research community. This study introduces a taxonomy for organizing GA pilot weather education and training materials that was originally conceived as part of the FAA’s Weather Technology In the Cockpit research program. The taxonomy is built upon three main knowledge categories, or tiers:1) Weather Phenomena (which includes hazards); 2) Weather Hazard Products; and 3) Weather Hazard Product Sources and their Application. The concept behind the categorization is to link knowledge of basic meteorological concepts/theory, hazards, and hazard products to the application of that knowledge to make correct aeronautical decisions about the weather in all phases of flight, including planning. The application tier of the taxonomy is particularly important in today’s operating environment, where many commercial weather products and hand-portable applications are available to the GA community. These products and applications are not intended to teach pilots about weather; it is assumed that the pilot has an adequate weather background and understands the uses and limitations of these products. Our research and that of others on GA pilot education and training suggests that this may not be the case, thus the need for a methodology that “connects the dots” from theory to application.

The “version 1.0” of the taxonomy contains these three tiers with two to three subcategories contained within each. Each subcategory itself can contain a number of individual topic areas. The taxonomy was developed by a subject matter expert team consisting of two aviation meteorologists, a certificated flight instructor with a meteorological background (who recently completed a Ph.D. in Aviation), a human factors psychologist, and two human factors doctoral students. The taxonomy’s potential applications in the education and training environment are also presented.

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