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Are pilots legally required to obtain a weather briefing prior to some or all flights?

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    $\begingroup$ Which jurisdiction? $\endgroup$ – a CVn Feb 27 '18 at 8:53
  • $\begingroup$ Jurisdiction does not matter. It would be interesting to know if any jurisdiction has addressed this issue in any way. $\endgroup$ – jwzumwalt Feb 27 '18 at 19:46
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    $\begingroup$ Actually, you are asking about legality, so jurisdiction does matter. We can not possibly answer for every country in the world, and we require each question to be able to be answered with one answer. Please do specify the jurisdiction so that your question does not get closed as "too broad". For more info, see How to Ask. $\endgroup$ – Lnafziger Feb 28 '18 at 4:59
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No weather briefing is required.

According to the NTSB, the simple answer is NO (you aren't legally required to call the FSS). The NTSB states... Part 91 regulations do not specifically require the use of any particular sources of weather information for GA pilots, but do require that all pilots familiarize themselves with weather and weather forecast information before beginning a flight. Source.

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  • $\begingroup$ "The NTSB states [...] Part 91 regulations [...] do require that all pilots familiarize themselves with weather and weather forecast information before beginning a flight." Doesn't this suggest that some form of weather briefing is required (at least in the US)? $\endgroup$ – a CVn Feb 28 '18 at 7:06
  • $\begingroup$ It depends on the definition of "briefing", which is still largely interpreted to mean communication with another human being. Therefore, looking at TV, Internet forecasts or news papers is not considered a "briefing" but is considered "familiarization". This is the vernacular meaning as used by the NTSB. $\endgroup$ – Barnstormer Feb 28 '18 at 13:18
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Yes, at least for flights that are not in the "vicinity" of the airport.

FAA CFR 91.103

Each pilot in command shall, before beginning a flight, become familiar with all available information concerning that flight. This information must include--

(a) For a flight under IFR or a flight not in the vicinity of an airport, weather reports and forecasts, fuel requirements, alternatives available if the planned flight cannot be completed, and any known traffic delays of which the pilot in command has been advised by ATC;

You are not required to call Flight Services for a weather brief, but you are required to get the weather reports (which can be called a personal brief). If you do all flight services and happen to have an accident, then your accident will contain the details about your call.

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  • $\begingroup$ As I understand its wording, this answer does not appear to be correct. While §91.103 does require the pilot to "become familiar with", this does not translate to a requirement for a weather briefing. The pilot may become familiar with the pertinent information through means such as looking directly at weather reports. A weather briefing is a human or machine prepared gathering of information specific to a flight or location. $\endgroup$ – J Walters Feb 27 '18 at 12:40
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    $\begingroup$ @JWalters You can self-brief. A weather "briefing", to me, just means looking at prepared weather data, be it a METAR or TAF. I'm not sure how it would not fall under "human or machine prepared" and "information specific to a flight", you wouldn't look at LAX weather if you were flying in ATL... $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Feb 27 '18 at 13:03
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Most airlines nowadays only have briefings at their base/hubs. On the line stations they would probably get handed a 'briefing package' consisting of an Operational flight plan, Weather, Notams (and company notams), charts (pressure and volcanic ash etc), this would be printed out by the station staff or handling agent. The station staff will add more info like the special load notification, Dangerous goods notification. In some cases like for short hops the station may print out the actual weather (METAR) at the destination and alternates.

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