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   dangerous weather and approach my airport from the south. As you can see, a lot can happen in 15 to 20 minutes, and the real-time nature of your on-board radar is vital to making tactical navigation decisions when the weather is changing around you.
Why Don’t We Use Our Radars?
So if NEXRAD is delayed, and radar is truly real-time, why don’t more pilots use their radar? Maybe because NEXRAD is easy to read and our radar systems are simply mysterious to us. The manual for your radar reads like college physics and geometry textbooks, and you get all kinds of different results as you turn the different dials.
Why so many controls: STBY, BRG, TILT, GAIN, GND, Stabilizer, Vertical Profile, and others? It seems like an engineering degree is required to use these things!
A lot of papers and instructional manuals have been written on how to “operate” radar systems, but not enough information is available on how to “use” the radar. It is easy to turn on NEXRAD and watch the screen fill up with safe greens, cautious yellows, and dangerous reds and purples.
The primary reason that NEXRAD is so easy to read, even if it is dangerously delayed, is that the images
are created using a ground-based radar network.
The NEXRAD Doppler radar beams are sent from the ground up into the sky, so there is no chance for confusing “ground returns” to show up in the final images. Your on-board radar system, however, generally must deal with ground returns because, most of the time, at least part of
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