The FAA’s updated Advisory Circular AC 120-61B provides information to help air carriers augment–but not alter or amend–existing programs to inform crew members about radiation exposure. The AC explains the differences between the natural sources of radiation in the atmosphere as well as the average annual exposure a human experiences from those sources.
Progression in the development of both aircraft and their systems have made it so that in many cases pilots manage the systems more than they handle the airplane. However, old-fashioned piloting skills remain as essential as ever since such systems can be affected by interference from outside sources such as the sun–a vulnerability that might rear its head quite soon.
While the term space weather may at first invoke visions of Capt. Kirk and his starship Enterprise encountering ion storms, it is in reality something which affects radio communications, satellite transmissions and signals intelligence. And because HF radio is particularly susceptible, it often forces airlines and any other aircraft operating on polar routes to switch to different tracks, and sometimes make unscheduled fuel stops.