I'm not sure if anyone really checks out much weather before they fly, but I do. I was a weather guy in the Marine Corps and briefed plenty of pilots before they flew, none of them just go out and fly blind. It's relatively simple to go online and find surface winds, but finding winds aloft can be difficult if you don't know what you are looking for. Considering that everyone in this forum is from a different part of the world, the links that I am putting below won't work for everyone, but you should be able to look up the same info for where you live. Skew-T data- the data collected from the launch of a weather balloon. It gives temp and dew-point and what you care about, winds aloft. The wind barbs on the right of the skew-t give you the wind speed and direction in knots. http://weather.unisys.com/upper_air/skew/ Meteogram- It is a model that uses current observations, climatology, and computer algorithms to forecast everything for a few days accurately. It's what most meteorologist reference when they write a forecast. It also provides wind speed at the surface and aloft. http://wxmaps.org/pix/meteograms_gfs.html The last one only works for the US, but it is a great site to get the weather and wind info for where you are flying. It's College of Dupage's Weather section. On the site you click on weather analysis tools and you can get a ton of weather stuff, from hi-res sat, to winds speeds, skew-t's, and a lot more. It may take some time playing around with but you can get a ton of info. http://weather.cod.edu/index.php I'm sure that plenty of people just go out and fly without looking at anything, but I hope this info helps someone.