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Budget cuts to National Weather Service may impact aviation

February 28, 2011, 08:02 pm

Legislation under consideration in the House of Representatives may cut funding for the National Weather Service by 30 percent if passed. One of the not-so-obvious implications of this budget cut is that the NWS provides weather forecasting for aviation, which is essential to flight safety, according to General Aviation News.

The cuts would reduce funding for upper-air and surface-weather observations, as well as delay the replacement of satellites and hinder NWS's ability to predict storms.

Many weather centers across the country would be closed, too, including the Aviation Weather Center, which plays an important role in flight planning for pilots.

"Decreased accuracy of forecasts is going to devastate every aspect of our daily lives. There will be a large scale economic impact on aviation. ... Most importantly, Congress is going set back our ability to save lives by decades," said Dan Sovien, president of the NWS Employees Organization.

With less resources for weather prediction, there is the chance a pilot may have a higher risk of getting caught off-guard in an unsuspected storm. The risk of an accident increases during meteorological conditions that are not conducive to flight. Life insurance for pilots can help their families feel taken care of in case they are ever involved in a fatal accident as a result of hazardous weather.  

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