Air Force Weather (AFW)
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Lt Col Ron Dunic AF/XOWR 25 Jul 00 - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Air Force Weather (AFW) Education and Training. Lt Col Ron Dunic AF/XOWR 25 Jul 00. Overview. Background Weather Officer Training Enlisted Training Weather Training for Aircrews and Customers. Background.

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Air Force Weather (AFW)

Education and Training

Lt Col Ron Dunic


25 Jul 00


  • Background

  • Weather Officer Training

  • Enlisted Training

  • Weather Training for Aircrews and Customers


  • AFW relies heavily on enlisted personnel, guided by weather officers, to provide operational support

  • Prior to reengineering, AFW qualification and upgrade training conducted at local unit level

    • Units typically consisted of approximately 20 personnel

    • Young airmen trained first as observers then returned to forecaster school at approximately the 4-year point

    • New weather officers trained on the forecast counter before serving as Wing Weather Officers, etc.

    • Downsizing, the divestiture of Air Weather Service, and manning shortages in the 1990’s impacted training


  • AFW developed a reengineering plan to better provide timely, accurate, and relevant Weather support

    • Regionally-focused hubs responsible for analysis and forecasting; also serve as training ground for apprentices

      • Brings together a “critical mass” of experienced forecasters

      • Training done by experienced forecasters in a team environment

      • Apprentices have time to learn the art of forecasting

    • Revised enlisted career track, improved training key to plan

      • Airmen learn forecasting skills first

      • 1st assignment is to a hub as a forecaster apprentice

      • Return to an advanced school before assignment to a flight/det

    • Experienced personnel assigned to local flights/dets

      • Focus is on weather’s impact to the mission and supporting the decision making process

Weather officer training
Weather Officer Training

  • New weather officers enter AFW after earning met degree or completing the Basic Met Program

  • Attend an Officer Initial Skills Course (ISC) at Keesler AFB before their first assignment

    • Provide practical skills and knowledge to complement his/her academic work in weather concepts and theory

  • 61% of weather officers hold an Advanced Academic Degree (AAD) in weather or science;

    • Selected officers earn an AAD at civilian universities/colleges

    • Work to exploit new technology/techniques in production units

    • Integrate space weather analysis and forecasting into operations

    • Serve as Staff Mets supporting the acquisition process

    • Provide technical oversight and assistance to field units

Average pin-on time


Air & Space Basic Crs

Ops Met

Instr Met

Command Meteorologist

Init Skills Crs


Terrestrial/Space WX

Wx Flt






OPS Wx SQ, Strat Ctr, Staff Met, or Wx Flt/CC

Staff Off

Wx Flt, AFIT, Staff Met, Strat Ctr


Entry Rqmt of B.S. in Met

Enlisted training overall approach initial skills
Enlisted TrainingOverall Approach/Initial Skills

  • AFW trains using an integrated building block approach of schoolhouse, formal OJT, and correspondence courses

  • Airmen entering AFW attend a 19-week ISC at Keesler AFB

  • ISC teaches most topics to the “principles” level for subject knowledge, “partially proficient” level for task knowledge; topics include:

    • Observing fundamentals to decode and use observations

    • Interpretation of climatological aids

    • Structure and property of the atmosphere

    • Analysis and prognosis skills

    • Forecasting and meteorological watch

    • Basic oceanography

    • Space environment

Enlisted training upgrade and qualification in hubs
Enlisted TrainingUpgrade and Qualification in Hubs

  • Forecaster apprentices receive 2-3 years of intensive supervised qualification and upgrade training in a hub

  • Training done by a mix of AFW NCOs and contractors

  • Apprentices train on core tasks (e.g., forecasting cloud height) using Qualification Training Packages (QTPs)

    • Each QTP contains a trainee workbook, trainer’s guide, and evaluation package

    • QTPs provide standardized training across the hubs

  • Airmen must complete 15-volume Career Development Course (CDC) prior to upgrade to journeyman

    • Correspondence course administered by Air University

    • Expands knowledge taught in Apprentice Course and through OJT

Enlisted training
Enlisted Training

  • After upgrade to Weather Journeyman, airmen will attend the advanced Weather Flight Operations Course

    • Course scheduled to begin Oct 01

    • Concentrates on the application of weather in the decision making process and its impact to specific missions

    • Teaches practical observing skills and combat field skills

  • After graduation, airmen assigned to field level units at Air Force Bases and Army Posts providing direct support to the warfighter






Jrnymn UGT OJT / CDC

7-level Training / Space Wx

CDC / Resident Crs (2 wks)



Wx Flt









Wx Flt / Det

Hub, Flt / Det, Strat Center

Weather training for aircrews and customers
Weather Training for Aircrews and Customers

  • Pilots receive instruction in weather during Undergraduate Pilot Training

    • Mostly computer-based training with some lecture

    • AFW officer subject matter experts assist in development of curriculum

  • Reengineering integrates forecasters directly into the flight planning process; two-way education between aviators and weather forecasters

  • Local weather units involved in the Instrument Refresher Course Program; brief seasonal weather phenomena, local effects, new capabilities (e.g., NEXRAD), etc.

  • AF/XOW teaches AFW capabilities at Air University’s Operations Group Commanders Course


  • AFW is reengineering to better support operations and train personnel

  • Officers are degreed meteorologists trained to provide military weather support; most hold AADs and work to exploit and insert new technologies and techniques

  • Revamped enlisted career track and training allows airmen to mature into highly capable forecasters

  • AFW actively involved in educating aviators and the operational community on weather and its impacts