Page 246
Previous/Next Page
Federation and MeteorologyBureau of Meteorology
Table of Contents

RAAF Meteorological Service



Chapter 1: The Weather Factor in Warfare

Chapter 2: Establishing and Developing the RAAF Directorate of Met. Services (D.Met.S)

Chapter 3: Recruiting and Training of Personnel

Chapter 4: Meteorology in Aviation
The RAAF Meteorological Flight
Hazards Galore

Chapter 5: The Met. Retreating

Chapter 6: The Met. Advancing

Chapter 7: The Met With the Army and the Navy

Chapter 8: Divisional Offices of the Bureau of Meteorology During the War

Chapter 9: Research and Instrumental Development

Chapter 10: The End, Aftermath, and Beyond

Appendix 1

Appendix 2

Appendix 3

Appendix 4



Contact us
Chapter 4: Meteorology in Aviation (continued)

The increasing demand for aviation meteorological services eventually led to the reorganisation of the Melbourne Bureau in 1937 and 1938. An expanded training program for aviation purposes also assisted the Bureau's preparedness for the subsequent war effort.

Weather has remained an important factor in the planning and execution of air operations. Weather reports along an air route are almost as important as rail tracks are to a train. A USAAF colonel once said to me, 'We must have the dope on the weather even before the ammunition'. Air support for an operation can be rendered impossible by unfavourable weather. Aircraft may be lost or badly damaged through adverse conditions; yet as has been pointed out, the same weather can be employed as a valuable tactical weapon. Visibility, important in bombing and reconnaissance operations can be so reduced by heavy rain, cloud or fog that aircraft have to return to base without sighting the target; violent winds can blow an aircraft off its course or reduce its speed so that its fuel is exhausted before it can reach its objective; conflicting updraughts and downdraughts in the atmosphere can produce turbulence which tosses the aircraft about, and which may cause serious damage. I can recall a pilot of a Vought Sikorsky floatplane at Rathmines, NSW, telling me how he was 'shaken like a dice in a giant hand' in a cumulonimbus cloud, and hurled out of it upside down.

A typical instance was related by Flight-Lieutenant Reg Shinkfield when he was forecasting at Parafield (SA):

When night-flying began there we had problems especially from fog in winter and spring. On one occasion, I issued a forecast for night flying and the formation of fog was not considered likely. This was before I left duty and went home to Salisbury. However, during the early evening a moderate shower occurred, and thinking about the possibility of fog forming with the added moisture, I rang the meteorological office to warn of the possibility. The weather officer on duty rang Mallala but the aircraft had taken off and fog formed. Apparently this happened rather quickly. The result was a tragedy as the aircraft was lost in the fog and crashed, killing one of the crew. An enquiry followed but no blame was attached to me as I had apparently done all I could.'[27]

Previous Page Bureau of Meteorology Next Page

Joyce, J. 1993 'The Story of the RAAF Meteorological Service', Metarch Papers, No. 5 October 1993, Bureau of Meteorology

© Online Edition Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre and Bureau of Meteorology 2001
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher