- Marve Ellis
No – your Flight Attendant has not gone to another dimension or life or where ever you believe good flight attendants go at the end of their lives. Our beloved FA (which somehow stands for area forecast) will soon be (mostly) just a fond memory. Soon you'll be telling the newest group of pilots how you used to walk into the Flight Service Station and tell them you want to fly to Galveston. The briefer goes over to the teletype machine and after only a few hundred commands and keystrokes the machine comes to life and spits out the following area forecast:
SERN TXBKN-OVC010-020 LYRD FL250. VIS 3-5SM NMRS -SHRA/BR. SCT -TSRAPOSS SEV. FL450. OTLK...IFR CIG SHRA TSRA
Somehow, that just doesn't seem as ominous as the screenshot from the new GFA Graphical Forecast for Aviation (that's right, they even got the acronym in the right order this time).
Currently, the FAs for the continental US will be ending towards the end of October. They will remain for Alaska and the Caribbean for a while. The GFA that replaces them provides a lot more information that may be customized and tailored to your needs. You can choose the information that you want overlaid on a map and can even select the handy scrubber to look at information for different times.
Check out the new GFA. It is the tool you will need to use to determine if filing an alternate is required when your destination airport does not have a TAF. A tutorial for use of the GFA is available on the Aviation Weather Center web site.