Online Ground School (Private Pilot)

Lesson 13.3: Weather Reports

Weather Reports

     Reference: ACS PA.I.C.K1 & PA.I.C.K2 & PA.I.C.K3-4, PHAK Chapter 13, AC 00-45

Weather reports are designed and updated at different times, to show accurate and up to date current weather conditions.  

  • METAR

  • PIREPs

METAR (Aviation Routine Weather Report)

A METAR is an observation of the current weather at the surface, formatted in an international standard.

METARs are issued at a scheduled time, every 50-55 minutes past the hour.

Example and breakdown:

   

  • KSAN – Is the four-letter ICAO code for the airport. In this case its San Diego International Airport, CA USA.

    • K – is used for the lower 48 states in the U.S. 

    • PA – Is used for Alaska

    • PH – Is for Hawaii

    • Other countries around the world have their own ICAO code.

 

  • 311451Z – Date and Time.  Date 31 – is the day of the month, Time 1451Z is always given in Zulu time (UTC).

 

  • 20009KT – True wind direction and speed.  200 degrees (SSW) at 09 Knots

  • If the wind is variable in direction, it is indicated with ‘VRB’

    • VRB09 – Variable at 09 knots

  • If there a wind gusts it is show with a ‘G’

    • G26KT – Gust 26 knots

 

  • 10SM – visibility is given in statute miles (SM) or in fractions 1/2SM, 3/4SM, etc.

    • P6SM – visibly is greater than six statue miles

 

  • BKN027 – Sky condition. Height of the cloud base is 2,700 feet AGL.

    • BKN – Broken, OVC – Overcast, and VV – vertical visibility  

 

  • 16/09 – Temperature and Dew point are always in Celsius (C).

    • If the temperature is below 0⁰C, then an ‘M’ is used for minus M10 (-10⁰C)

 

  • A2992 – Altimeter (A), 2992 is ALWAYS standard inches of mercury. Standard is NOT always indicated for that current METAR, everyone is a different altimeter such as A2970, A3008, and so on.

 

  • RMK – Remarks, this section may or may not have additional information.

 

Examples of different types of METARS:

    

    

 

Other Weather symbols:

            See Chart

METAR (SPECI) meaning ‘special’ is another type of METAR.  They are issued at any time and updates the current METAR for any unusual rapid change in weather conditions, or other critical information.

KSAN 311451Z 20009KT 10SM BKN027 16/09 A2992 RMK AO2 SLP131 T01560094 53005

KDEN 311645Z 02020G26KT 1SM R35L/5000VP6000FT -SN VV016 M11/M14 A2997 RMK         AO2 PK WND 02026/1645 P0000 T11111139

KSEA 311641Z 00000KT 1/4SM R16L/1000VP6000FT FG VV001 02/01 A3045 RMK AO2         T00170006

PIREP (Pilot Weather Reports)

PIREPs are reports of the actual existing conditions given by pilots in flight.  Pilots can confirm or report actual base and tops of clouds, location of wind shear, turbulence, and icing.

PIREPs are encouraged and can be made directly to FSS in the air or on the ground or ATC.

Example and breakdown:

Basic PIREP:

  • Location – Over CNO (Chino)

  • TM (Time in Zulu) – 1702Z

  • FL (Altitude or Flight Lever (FL)) – FL020 is 2,000 feet

  • TP (Aircraft type) - P28A (Piper Cherokee) 

  • SK (Sky cover) - OVC (overcast) 3,500 feet

  • TB (Turbulence) – NEG (negative)

 

More Complex PIREP:

  • Location – FIM290035 (35 NM out on the 290⁰ radial, FIM (Fillmore) VOR)

  • TM (Time in Zulu) – 1439Z

  • FL (Altitude or Flight Lever (FL)) – FL370 is 37,000 feet

  • TP (Aircraft type) – B737 (Boeing 737)

  • TB (Turbulence) – CONS LGT OCNL MOD CHOP (continues light with occasional moderate chop)

  • RM (Remarks)

CNO UA /OV CNO/TM 1702/FL020/TP P28A/SK OVC035/TB NEG

SBA UA /OV FIM290035/TM 1439/FL370/TP B737/TB CONS LGT OCNL MOD CHOP/RM COR SA-ID AND TURB. ZLA CWSU

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