Handheld Weather Stations

Joined
Feb 13, 2017
Messages
83
Reaction score
26
Location
Various
Does anyone use a hand held anemometer/weather station to assess (ground) wind speeds, temperatures, barometric pressure & conditions before launching? If so, what do you use or recommend and why do you like it?

I'm currently looking at an Ambient WM-5 vs a Kestrel 5500, leaning towards the Kestrel but open to suggestions.

Thanks,

Jeff
 

alokbhargava

Premium Pilot
Joined
Sep 28, 2015
Messages
6,943
Reaction score
2,322
Location
San Francisco, CA
Look at the weather conditions on your phone and have a feel at the site. thats good enough.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DocDiggler
Joined
Jan 27, 2016
Messages
2,409
Reaction score
892
Location
Ohio
I use an app called Avia Weather. I can download Metar reports from local airports. Of special value, as a Part 107 pilot, those reports also give me ceiling and visibility values.
 
Joined
Dec 9, 2015
Messages
116
Reaction score
25
Location
UK
Not worth the money imho..

You're measuring wind speed on the ground when you will be 100-400ft in the sky where wind conditions are completely different..

Like others said stick to websites, apps etc..

Favourite of mine is UAVforecast (web + app) you can adjust the altitude you want a wind check for be it ground level or 400ft..
 
Joined
Feb 13, 2017
Messages
83
Reaction score
26
Location
Various
Thanks for the replies and suggestions!

The problem with iDevice apps is they rely solely on data from stations whose readings are often irrelevant to actual location. The only onboard sensors on my 6S+ applicable to weather is a barometer (which without writing code I cannot calibrate). Otherwise, all weather data is pulled from local weather stations.

The weather station nearest my current location is at an airport, 10 miles away, at 682 ft. I'm currently located in a ravine on a ridge at 1853 ft with ~300ft of elevated ridge line behind me and ~50ft of elevation in front of me. It's a semi forested area with 70ft to 90ft tall trees. Operation above tree line is easy if the wind blows from the back side of the ridge. It's something else when coming off the front. At 400 ft its going to be what it's going to be, and probably turbulent at that.

If this were strictly a hobby, I could probably live with iDevice weather & nav apps. Realistically each site I visit will have its own unique flight characteristics and requirements. So I'm always on the lookout for tools that will ensure reasonably safe and dependable flights. Consequently, it can't possibly hurt to use an onsite instrument to pull site specific ground information before launching. Thus the reason for my inquiry.

As for iDevice apps, Avia is an android app not available for iOS (which is my currently preferred platform). I looked at UAVforecast before, and it merits a closer look. I'd prefer a bearing rather than an arrow and am not sure whether the 7 day 'forecast' justifies a $24 "hobby" subscription (only $2 per month) unless it brings something else more immediately useful to the table.

As an aside, I currently run several "weather apps" on my iPhone for general weather conditions including RadarScope Pro (which provides METAR), MyRadar Pro (with AIRMET overlay and wind vectors), Weather Underground, Storm, Dark Skies, and several others. Some of these apps pull data from NOAA and/or Alison House. At the risk of being redundant all these apps provide information based on local, regional, and national NWS data unless the apps specifically link in NWS Cooperative Observer stations.

I also have pilot nav apps with aviation weather (e.g. ForeFlight, etc.). But if I have to go that route I might as well be filing flight plans with local air traffic control (which is outside the topic of this discussion).

Soooo, coming full circle, would still like to know if anyone carries uses any handheld instruments in their kits as part of their preflight or site use?

Cheers!
 
Joined
Oct 12, 2014
Messages
5,155
Reaction score
574
Location
Commerce Twp,MI
Thanks for the replies and suggestions!

The problem with iDevice apps is they rely solely on data from stations whose readings are often irrelevant to actual location. The only onboard sensors on my 6S+ applicable to weather is a barometer (which without writing code I cannot calibrate). Otherwise, all weather data is pulled from local weather stations.

The weather station nearest my current location is at an airport, 10 miles away, at 682 ft. I'm currently located in a ravine on a ridge at 1853 ft with ~300ft of elevated ridge line behind me and ~50ft of elevation in front of me. It's a semi forested area with 70ft to 90ft tall trees. Operation above tree line is easy if the wind blows from the back side of the ridge. It's something else when coming off the front. At 400 ft its going to be what it's going to be, and probably turbulent at that.

If this were strictly a hobby, I could probably live with iDevice weather & nav apps. Realistically each site I visit will have its own unique flight characteristics and requirements. So I'm always on the lookout for tools that will ensure reasonably safe and dependable flights. Consequently, it can't possibly hurt to use an onsite instrument to pull site specific ground information before launching. Thus the reason for my inquiry.

As for iDevice apps, Avia is an android app not available for iOS (which is my currently preferred platform). I looked at UAVforecast before, and it merits a closer look. I'd prefer a bearing rather than an arrow and am not sure whether the 7 day 'forecast' justifies a $24 "hobby" subscription (only $2 per month) unless it brings something else more immediately useful to the table.

As an aside, I currently run several "weather apps" on my iPhone for general weather conditions including RadarScope Pro (which provides METAR), MyRadar Pro (with AIRMET overlay and wind vectors), Weather Underground, Storm, Dark Skies, and several others. Some of these apps pull data from NOAA and/or Alison House. At the risk of being redundant all these apps provide information based on local, regional, and national NWS data unless the apps specifically link in NWS Cooperative Observer stations.

I also have pilot nav apps with aviation weather (e.g. ForeFlight, etc.). But if I have to go that route I might as well be filing flight plans with local air traffic control (which is outside the topic of this discussion).

Soooo, coming full circle, would still like to know if anyone carries uses any handheld instruments in their kits as part of their preflight or site use?

Cheers!
I use a hand held Anemometer wind/temp which relative to ground wind speeds but at altitude the wind speed could be double or even triple. So it's still a catch 22.
 
Joined
Feb 7, 2017
Messages
9
Reaction score
1
Age
67
Location
Quincy, IL & Lake of the Ozarks, MO
I use UAVforecast and find its generally pretty close to the wind report when I check my Healthy Drones log after I fly. I set the altitude in UAV somewhat above what I plan on being my highest altitude. Today I took my Phantom to 300 feet to take some stills. My log showed average was 11.3mph with a maximum gust of 22.6mph. UAV showed the wind speed at 12mph at 400ft.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using PhantomPilots mobile app
 
Joined
Feb 13, 2017
Messages
83
Reaction score
26
Location
Various
I use a hand held Anemometer wind/temp which relative to ground wind speeds but at altitude the wind speed could be double or even triple. So it's still a catch 22.
Nothing is ever easy, is it. Which anemometer do you use?
 
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
646
Reaction score
129
Location
Santa Barbara County, California, USA
I do not use an anemometer. I do use common sense, so when I see trees thrashing in the wind, or when I have to lean into a gust of wind to maintain walking progress, then I don't fly. In addition, because I fly along a beach, the last thing I need to see is a gust of wind take my $1500 investment out over the ocean toward Japan, never to return. Besides Hover, I also use the app Windytv (free!) which displays current wind directions and strengths anywhere over the entire planet. It will display the winds at the surface and at several levels all the way up to 13.5 km AGL (amazing), and it will display the forecasted winds for the next 6 days. As if that isn't enough, it will also display temperature, pressure, cloud cover, rain/snow, and ocean waves.
I did see a pretty cool digital portable anemometer at the recent Chasercon in Denver. It's made by Acu>rite and sells for about $30. It also displays highest/lowest measured wind velocity. I almost bought it, but then decided $30 would by a pretty nice steak dinner, and instead I can continue to use trees, flags, white caps to judge flying conditions rather than some little hand held toy, which I may drop and break or see it run out of batteries just when I may want it.
 
Joined
Oct 12, 2014
Messages
5,155
Reaction score
574
Location
Commerce Twp,MI

New Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
137,805
Messages
1,423,863
Members
100,039
Latest member
Imtheprez