New Zealand Pilot License/Meteorology/Private

The Atmosphere edit

State the composition of the atmosphere

Describe the presence and importance of the following in the atmosphere:

  • carbon dioxide
  • ozone
  • water vapour

Explain how temperature influences the ability of air to hold water vapour

Define tropopause

State how density of air affects the height of the tropopause in high, middle and low latitudes

Define pressure

Describe what is meant by:

  • cold advection
  • warm advection lapse rate


  • isobar
  • wind velocity
  • anticyclone ("high")
  • depression ("low")
  • ridge of high pressure
  • trough of low pressure
  • ccl
  • pressure gradient

Explain the relatonship between pressure gradient, isobars and wind velocity (airflow around pressure systems)

State the concept of convergence and divergence and describe how the associated subsidence or ascent of air influences the type of weather commonly associates with pressure systems

State the unit of pressure commonly used in meteorology

List the assumed conditions on which the International Standard Atmosphere (ISA) is based

Explain how a deviation from ISA calues influences performance of aircraft and their engines


  • QNH
  • QNE
  • altitude
  • heaight
  • pressure altitude

Explain why an altimeter requires a subscale adjustment

Explain the importance of correct subscale setting

Temperature and Heat Exchange Processes edit

Explain what is meant by solar radiation

Describe the elements that influence or reject the amount of incoming solar radiation

Explain what is meant by terrestrial radiation

Descibe the elements that influence or restrict the escape of terrestrial radiation

Explain the effect of solar and terrestrial radiation on the air temperature (in the atmosphere)

Describe the:

  • conduction process
  • convection process

Define albedo

Describe the dirunal variation of surface air temperature and explain the effects of different types of surface on the variation

Atmospheric Moisture edit


  • condensation
  • evaporation
  • deposition
  • sublimation
  • melting
  • freezing
  • latent heat

Explain the function of condensation nuclei during condensation

State the effect of the following on the rate of evaporation:

  • air temperature
  • moisture content of air
  • atmospheric pressure
  • the wind

Describe the processes that produce changes of state of moisture and explain how latent heat is involved in each

Explain what is meant by relative humidity

Explain the effects of changes in temperature and moisture content of air on relative humidity

Explain what is meant by dew point

Explain how the effect of moisture content of air opn the value of the dew point

Explain how density of moist air affects aircraft and engine performance

Explain how temperature, relative humidity and dew point values can be used to indicate differences in wter content of air

The Wind edit

State the direction in which the following to forces act:

  • pressure gradient
  • coriolis force

State the effect of wind speed on the strangth of the coriolis force

Explain how the inter-relation between pressure gradient and coriolis force determine the circulation around pressure systems

Explain what is meant by the "friction layer", and describe the elements that influence the density of the layer

Explain how the friction layer affects the surface wind velocity


  • veering of the wind; and
  • backing of the wind

Describe the diurnal variation of the surface wind:

  • over land and
  • over sea

State the changes in wind velocity when climbing out of, or descending into, the friction layer

State the function of the rotating cup anemometer

Describe how an approximate wind velocity can be determined from a 25-knot windsock when at an angle of 30 degrees, 45 degrees, 75 degrees and 90 degrees from the vertical

Describe how an approximate wind direction can be determined from:

  • ripples on the water; and
  • windlanes on water

State Buys Ballot's Law

Explain how applying Buys Ballot's Law can:

  • determine the location of high and low pressure areas; and
  • establish possible errors in altimeter reading

Define wind shear

Describe the effects of vertical and horizontal wind shear on aircraft operations

[link title[link title[link title]]]==Stability of Air==

Explain what is meant by:

  • stable air
  • unstable air
  • neutrally stable air

State the two ractors that determine the stability of air

Describe what is meant by "environment lapse rate" (ELR)

Explain the adiabatic process

Draw graphs of steep and shallow environment lapse rates including inversions and isothermal layers

State the dry adiabatic lapse rate (DALR)

Explain how the relationshi[ between the ELR and DALR can be used to determine the stability or instability of unsaturated air

State the saturated adiabatic lapse rate (SALR)

Explain how the relationship between the ELR and SALR can be used to determine the stability or instability of saturated air

Explain the factors involved in thermal rising of air

Describe how different dew point values determine the cloud base of convective cloud, given a constant moisture content

Describe the types of cloud that could be expected in:

  • stable saturated air
  • unstable saturated air

Describe weather conditions and degrees of visibility in:

  • stable air and
  • unstable air

Local Winds edit

Describe the sea breeze process, including typical:

  • timing of the occurance
  • average strength of the sea breeze
  • horizontal and vertical limits
  • associated cloud development
  • associated turbulence

Describe the land breeze process, and state:

  • typical timing of the occurance
  • average speed of the wind
  • most likely season for the occurance

Describe the katabatic and anabatic wind processes, and state the:

  • typical timing of each offurance
  • average strength of the winds
  • effect of moist vally air on cloud / fog formation
  • effect of gravity on katabatic winds; and
  • effect of aiabatic cooling and warming

Define, and differentiate between, gusts and squalls

Describe the fohn wind process

Given environment temperatures, dew points and mountain heights, determine the:

  • cloud base on the windward side
  • cloud base on the lee side
  • temperature at stated datum's on the lee side

Describe the flight conditions associated with fohn wind conditions

Describe the mountain mountain wave (standing, or lee wave) process

Explain the wind and weather conditions, and associated main dangers to aircraft operations, in mountain wave conditions

Describe the rotor streaming process and explain the associated dangers to aircraft operations

Explain the dangers involved in attempting to out climb a slope in light aircraft, and describe the alternatives and remedies available under the circumstances

Inversions edit


  • inversion; and
  • isothermal layer

Explain the effect of inversions on:

  • the formation and development of cloud
  • visibility
  • turbulence
  • the relative humidity and dew point
  • the increased risk of carburettor icing
  • the presence of wind shear

Describe the flight conditions in the presence of inversions

Explain the factors involved in a:

  • radiation inversion
  • turbulence inversion
  • subsidence inversion; and
  • frontal inversion

Cloud edit

Describe the basic cloud formation process

State the most common method through which:

  • cloud is formed; and
  • air is cooled to produce cloud

Explain what is meant by "buoyancy" of air

Differentiate between cloud drops and rain / shower drops

State the approximate altitude limits (in NZ latitudes) of:

  • high cloud
  • middle cloud; and
  • low cloud

Describe the following types of cloud and include a description of likely icing, turbulence and precipitation:

  • cirrostratus
  • cirrocumulus
  • cirrus
  • altostratus
  • altocumulus
  • stratus
  • cumulus
  • cumulonimbus / towering cumulus
  • nimbostratus

Describe the terms used for the reporting of cloud

Describe the following methods whereby air is lifted, and include the effect of stability / instability on the type of cloud:

  • orographic lifting
  • mechanical lifting
  • convective lifting
  • slow widespread ascent
  • frontal lifting

Explain the processes that contribute to cloud dispersal

Precipitation edit


  • precipitation
  • virga (aka virgo)

Explain how drops can grow through:

  • the presence of ice crystals
  • coalescence

Describe the following types of precipitation:

  • rain
  • drizzle
  • snow
  • sleet
  • hail

Describe the following characters of precipitation:

  • continuous
  • intermittent
  • showers

Visibility edit

Define (meteorological) visibility

Explain what is meant by transparency of air

Explain the effect of illumination on visibility distance

Differentiate between visibility distance and visibility range

Describe the effects of the following on visibility distance:

  • precipitation
  • fog or mist
  • have
  • smoke
  • sea spray

Explain the factors involved in slant range

Fog edit

Define fog

Describe the principals of formation, required meteorological conditions, factors affecting extent of, and dispersal of:

  • radiation fog
  • advection fog
  • valley fog
  • sea fog
  • steaming fog
  • frontal fog

Describe the operational problems associated with fog

Fronts and Depressions edit

Describe the polar front theory

Define airmass

List the airmass catagories

Defne the source region and state of typical global areas where source regions are found

Describe what is meant by:

  • cold advection
  • warm advection

Explain the typical weather conditions in New Zealand when affected by cold and warm advection

Describe how divergence aloft affects the atmospheric pressure near sea level

Describe how the characteristics of the:

  • polar depression
  • warm sector depression
  • orographic depression
  • thermal (heat type) depression

Draw the symbols, and colour codes, used to describe the following fronts on weather charys:

  • cold front
  • warm front
  • occluded front
  • stationary front

Draw a cross-section of the typical cold front influding cloud, temperature and freezing level changes, precipitation, and typical widgh

State the events before, at, and after, an idealised cold front in terms of:

  • pressure
  • temperature
  • wind velocity
  • cloud
  • precipitation
  • visibility

Draw a cross section of the typical warm front including cloud, temperature and freezing level changes, precipitation and typical width.

State the events before, at, and after, an idealised warm front in terms of:

  • pressure
  • temperature
  • wind velocity
  • cloud
  • precipitation
  • visibility

Draw a cross section of the following occlusions and explain how each type develops:

  • a cold occlusion
  • a warm occlusion

Describe the potential dangers to FVR flight through fronts

Sescribe the techniques, and precautions that can be taken to reduce or eliminate the dangers of VFR flight through fronts.

Thunderstorms edit

Explain the conditions to be met for the development of thunderstorms

Describe the three stages of thunderstorm development

Explain the development, and describe the characteristics of:

  • orographic thunderstorms
  • heat type thunderstorms
  • frontal thunderstorms

Describe the haxards associated with thunderstorms and explain why light aircraft should avoid them

Explain the orogin and development of tornadoes and state the main hazards

Icing edit

Explain what is meant by supercooled water, and describe the influence of latent heat on the formation of ice.

Explain the process of freezing and melting.

With regard to airframe icing, explain the processes involved in the formation of:

(a) clear ice;

(b) rime ice;

(c) hoar frost;

(d) freezing rain.

State the types of cloud, and cloud drop size, that are conducive to the formation of each type of ice listed in

State the altitudes relative to the freezing level where rime ice or clear ice can be expected in cloud.

Give examples of conditions that could cause:

(a) freezing rain.

(b) hoar frost

State the hazards for light aircraft from:

(a) snow;

(b) sleet;

(c) hail.

Explain the influence of the following on the rate of ice accretion:

(a) water content of cloud;

(b) aircraft characteristics, components and airspeed.

State the dangers of icing to aircraft in flight and on the ground.

Explain the methods that can be used to minimise or eliminate the dangers of aircraft icing.

Explain the factors involved in carburettor icing.

State the maximum temperature range in which carburettor ice can form.

Explain how the accretion rate of carburettor ice is governed by:

(a) moisture content of air; and

(b) throttle setting.

Explain the conditions that can cause carburettor icing while on the ground.

Describe the methods commonly available in light aircraft to combat carburettor icing.

Explain the dangers and possible remedies for icing of engine and pitot system intakes.

Turbulence edit

Describe the cause(s), factors involved, dangers, and techniques commonly used to avoid or minimise:

(a) thermal (convective) turbulence;

(b) mechanical turbulence - small scale and large scale;

(c) wind shear turbulence;

(d) wake turbulence.

New Zealand Climatology edit

Describe how the following items govern the NZ climate:

(a) latitude;

(b) oceanic surroundings;

(c) topography.

In general terms, describe cloudiness, gustiness, visibility and turbulence at various locations within New Zealand during typical:

(a) northwest wind regimes;

(b) northeast wind regimes;

(c) southwest wind regimes;

(d) southeast wind regimes.

With regard to VFR flight in light aircraft over the Southern Alps, describe:

(a) the need for through flight planning;

(b) in-flight considerations;

(c) adverse winds;

(d) favourable winds;

(e) selection of tracks.

Meteorological Services for Aviation edit

With respect to NZ Domestic VFR operations, interpret, understand and assess information of all descriptions contained in:

(a) area forecast (ARFOR);

(b) meteorological reports (METAR/SPECI);

(c) trend forecasts (TTL);

(d) aerodrome forecasts (TAF);


(f) special aerodrome reports (SPAR);

(g) automatic terminal information service (ATIS);

(h) aerodrome and weather information broadcasts (AWIB);

(i) basic weather reports (BWR);

(j) pilot reports.

Interpret, understand and assess weather information made available by television, Internet, newspapers and radio.

See also edit