Kandahar air wing meteorologist's first aircrew weather briefing

  • Published
  • By Capt. Robert Leese
  • 438th Air Expeditionary Wing
The weather briefing is an important part of mission planning because it informs the crews of hazardous conditions along their route and at the projected destinations and helps them determine the performance capability of their aircraft.

Weather information is crucial to deciding the route and altitudes the crews can fly. The Mi-17 is a very capable helicopter but meteorological conditions, such as the temperature, impact the normal and emergency engine performance.

In turn, Afghan Air Force Maj. Hameedullah's briefing is required by aircrews to determine the amount of passengers and cargo they can safely carry. Because of the day's cold temperatures, each Mi-17 crew determined they could safely carry 23 passengers or nearly 5,000 pounds of cargo.

Major Hameedullah's briefing included important information such as winds, clouds, visibilities, and temperatures at Kandahar, and at their mission destinations. He also warned the crews of any atmospheric hazards they may encounter along the intended route.

Kandahar is infamous for its dust - which can quickly obscure visibilities and make safe landings and flight impossible. KAW's professional meteorologist reduces that risk to the flight ops.

Major Hameedullah recently rejoined the Afghan Air Force. Twenty years ago he attended the Kabul University to learn meteorology, but years of conflict and taking care of his family forced him to seek alternative employment. Major Hameedullah appreciates the improvements in security and the growth of the Afghan Air Force which have allowed him to again serve Afghanistan.

For the last 18 months, Kandahar Air Wing crews relied on information provided by their NATO Air Advisors. Developing an Afghan Air Force capability to provide International Civil Aviation Organization standard weather briefing culminates nearly six months of training and development for the Kandahar Air Wing.

It is just one of the many steps the Afghan Air Force is taking to develop an independent, operationally capable force able to defend Afghanistan.