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Sunny with a chance of Air Power

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Rhonda Smith
  • 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Weather remains a critical role in the daily operations and success of the 48th Fighter Wing’s ability to provide worldwide responsive combat airpower and support.

The 48th Operations Support Squadron weather flight provides timely and accurate weather predictions enhancing the base air capabilities and overall mission.

A weather flight forecaster’s daily operations varies depending on which section they are assigned to: the Air Field Support Function (ASF) or Mission Integration Function (MIF).

The ASF forecasters focus on weather data and predictions for RAF Lakenheath to determine takeoff and landing locations through charts, graphs and satellite imagery.

“The ASF makes observations and creates the Terminal Aerodrome Forecast for the next 30 hours and ensures the weather is within certain flying criteria,” said Senior Airman Michael Scanlan, 48th OSS ASF forecaster. “The supervisor of flying can then determine if the pilots need an alternate location of flying.”

MIF forecaster responsibilities are to analyze and predict weather of surrounding areas of the base so that pilots can have timely and accurate weather data.

The MIF forecasters create a comprehensive weather chart, which is used to brief Liberty Wing aircrews before departure. The chart shows different air locations in the U.K. that includes lunar and solar conditions, freezing levels and wave heights along with a weather watch, warning or advisory.

“We reference analysis of different levels throughout the atmosphere to give us an idea of what kind of weather to expect here on station as well as the areas that the 494th, 492nd and 493rd [Fighter Squadrons] are expecting to fly”, said Airman 1st Class Diego Canales, 48th OSS MIF forecaster.

The MIF relies on constant Terminal Aerodrome Forecast updates from the ASF to ensure that they give accurate briefs to aircrews. The decision to cancel flights or delay them hinges on precise Terminal Aerodrome Forecast information.

The 48th OSS weather flight completes their mission through teamwork, professionalism and excellence, and their ability to provide critical weather information make the team an integral part of the Liberty Wing’s air capabilities and superiority.