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Aviation Learning Center Document Thunderstorm Avoidance Tips
Author: Christine Soucy Date: July 2006
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ATC's first duty priority is to separate aircraft and issue safety alerts. ATC will provide additional services to the extent possible, contingent only upon higher priority duties and other factors that include limitations of radar, and workload associated with volume of traffic and frequency congestion.

Generally, when weather disrupts the flow of air traffic, greater separation demands are placed on the controllers. Try not to wait until the very last moment before asking for deviations from course, or for assistance to get around or away from areas of severe weather. When severe weather is in the area, controllers will be very busy and may not be able to respond to your requests promptly. When encountering weather conditions that threaten the safety of the aircraft and its occupants, the pilot may exercise emergency authority as stated in 14 CFR 91.3 should an immediate deviation from the assigned clearance be necessary, and time does not permit approval by ATC. It is better to think ahead and be prepared so that you do not have to resort to emergency action.

About the Author

Christine Soucy is with FAA's Office of Accident Investigation, Accident Coordination Branch.

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