How Often do You Referance Other Sources to Decode METAR's

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by AKBill, Dec 31, 2017.

  1. AKBill

    AKBill Pattern Altitude

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    METAR PAJN 311653Z 00000KT 10SM FEW250 M17/M18 A3041
    RMK AO2 SLP297 I1000 T11671178=

    How often do you reference other material to decode METAR's? I don't often need to reference other sources to decode a METAR but did today. Checking METAR for Juneau this morning I did not recognize I1000 or T11671178.

    I1000
    is trace amount of ice in 0.01 inches for the last hour.
    T11671178 is temperature and dew point in C to the nearest 10th of a degree. 1 after the T is minus 0c and 0 after the T is above 0c. Temperature is -16.7C and dew point is -17.8C
     
  2. Bill Watson

    Bill Watson Pattern Altitude

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    Not often but would have had to research most of the remarks.

    I now realize that while I feel that I’m quite comfortable with reading coded ‘sequence reports’, what I’m actually comfortable with is reading the main report but not the remarks section.

    I normally use ForeFlight for METARS and I often read their plain language translation (mainly for local time). It seems they only translate the main report and not the remarks.

    The question I now have is, “what is the criteria for something appearing in ‘remarks’.


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  3. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

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    Depends on the remark. Some of the stuff in the remarks is useless to me so I don’t really bother looking it up such as your second example.
     
  4. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Which begs the endless question, why don't we switch to a plain language translation, which pilots have wanted for ages.
     
  5. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Line Up and Wait

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    Because the coded formats are much easier to read once you know the codes.
     
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  6. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

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    :popcorn:
     
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  7. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Dafuq?

    Codes may be just as quick when you are fluent in the codes, but hardly ‘easier’ than plain language that requires no mental translation.

    Codes had their place in ancient technology. No operational necessity now other than ‘that’s how we’ve always done it, why change’
     
  8. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I can decode them, but I'd guess most GA can't, or have difficulty. Pilots have been wanting a change as long as I've been flying.
     
  9. SkyHog

    SkyHog Touchdown! Greaser!

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    On what planet is BR ever easier to read than “mist?”

    The abbreviations served their purpose long ago. There is no reason for abbreviated METARS, TAFs, or anything else in 2018.
     
  10. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Line Up and Wait

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    The codes are much easier to read because you don't have to read the whole thing to find what you're looking for.

    If you don't like the codes, click the "Decoded" checkbox. It's been available for years.
     
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  11. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Planet France.

    Most of them Meteorological abbreviations come from the French words for given phenomena.


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  12. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Not really. You skim for what you are looking for. You can do the same thing with plain language words.



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  13. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Line Up and Wait

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    Each of my flight releases is already several dozen pages long. The METARs and TAFs, in raw format, stretch to two or three pages on some flights. I don't need that to turn into 15 to 20 pages of decoded text and neither do any of the other professional pilots and dispatchers who make up the vast majority of the people who are reading these reports.

    If you prefer the decoded format then click the button and get the decoded format.
     
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  14. Zeldman

    Zeldman Final Approach

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    I just wish they would come up with something different than FU....
     
  15. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Ah, so the truth is it’s less paper, not necessarily ‘easier’.

    I don’t use paper. Whether I scroll through coded metars or plain language doesn’t matter a whole lot. A finger or mouse swipe is a swipe.


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  16. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Why, that one everyone knows!
     
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  17. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It's Baby Rain, duh! ;)
     
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  18. Busflyer

    Busflyer Pre-takeoff checklist

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    It’s British Rain.
     
  19. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    British rain would be a clear day, since most things in England don't work lol
     
  20. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Line Up and Wait

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    No, we don't use paper unless the flight includes Class II navigation and, even then, it's only the operational flight plan that has to be printed, not the weather.

    If you want it decoded, download it decoded. I don't understand why the existence of the raw METAR, which you never actually have to see if you don't want to, is such a problem for you.
     
  21. redhandle

    redhandle Filing Flight Plan

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    I get not understanding I1000 since it's not commonly issued, but T11671178 ?

    Is it the leading 1's?

    Although, you're AK - seems like a 0 in there would be more unfamiliar.
     
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  22. AKBill

    AKBill Pattern Altitude

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    Criteria for remarks is a good question. I can't answer that one off the top of my head. Maybe one of the controllers can answer..
    :thumbsup:

    Yes and No. Don't want to comment on that one right now. I must say the internet has probably reduced the number of calls to Flight Service thus reducing their work load. 20 years ago I would call a Flight Service station before every flight, now I check out the weather or any information I need on-line.

    You have a poor view of GA flyers in their quest to be a good, proficient pilot. Just the way I took your post...:rolleyes: Tunefully I do look at Sig WX Charts, Sfc Chart's, TAF and all the other information before a flight. If I don't understand something I look it up.. I don't tie up FFS if I don't have to...:)

    :thumbsup:


     
  23. bobmrg

    bobmrg En-Route

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    If you use the Graphical Forecast for Aviation (on the aviationweather.gov page), select the METARS tab and check the plain language option.

    Bob
     
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  24. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Now offering reverse discounts.
    Is that the rain with the bad dental plan and funny walk?
     
  25. BrianNC

    BrianNC Pattern Altitude

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    Code is easier to read than your native language. Got it. :thumbsup:
     
  26. AKBill

    AKBill Pattern Altitude

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    Bob, I use the NOAA "Alaska Aviation Weather Unit" and other sites. Have never seen them decode the RMK's section. If they do so that's great, I'll stop researching the RMK's part of the METAR....:) I'll check it out. Thanks..
     
  27. jimhorner

    jimhorner Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Thought this would be a good place to point out the following.

    http://www.ofcm.gov/publications/fmh/FMH1/FMH1_2017.pdf

    This publication is NOAA’s “Surface Weather Observations and Reports publication”, and it is the ultimate reference for (non-military) METARs in the US. Chapter 12 contains the gory details of the METAR coding ncluding all of the remarks stuff. The DPE for my instrument and comercial checkrides is well known for giving really esoteric METARs to the candidate during the oral portions of the checkride, but I was well prepared after studying a previous version of this reference.

    I do agree that, if one knows the codes, it’s easier, at least for me, to scan a bunch of METARs for a given station or for a set of stations along my planned route to determine the trends and to get an overall picture of the weather. I never look at the plain language METAR decodes, and most of the decoders do a poor job of decoding the remarks anyway.


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  28. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Line Up and Wait

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    Of course it is, for the same reason that doing math using numerals is easier than doing it with the numbers spelled out.
     
  29. AKBill

    AKBill Pattern Altitude

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    Thanks for the link, I think I have the previous version.
     
  30. azure

    azure Final Approach

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    Beat me to it, word for word... :D
     
  31. Direct C51

    Direct C51 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I feel this illustrates exactly how I feel about coded METARs. When checking weather for an EMS fight I can scan through a dozen coded METARs / TAFs in 30 seconds or so. What slows me down is Zulu time. All of my EMS flights are in the same time zone, so having all times in local would cut my weather check time. Obviously I understand why they are in Zulu however.
     
  32. azure

    azure Final Approach

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    Zulu time is one of those things you just get used to mentally translating until it is second nature. Personally, where I work now (military college), I have more trouble making sure i *don't* do it when working with ordinary local time in 24-hour format. If an event is scheduled for 1500, I have to stop and think whether that is really in the morning, or afternoon,
     
  33. Sundancer

    Sundancer Pattern Altitude

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    After 40+ years, I know most of the common codes, and no longer care, really. Archaic now, and "once you know them" means once you've spent a lot of time gacking about with them, hours you won't ever get back. I used to hit AWC, and just click on the "decode" checkbox, before ForeFlight and the other tools that are around now.

    If I was flying daily, for pay or otherwise, I imagine it would be quicker to decode in your head, when seeing them every day, or even several times a day. So, not advocating getting rid of 'em, just not gonna "study up" on them anymore. I might shove a magic decoder ring in my bag (cheat sheet) in the unlikely event all I can get is a coded METAR. But not worth the brain cells to retain any but the most common codes now.
     
  34. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach

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    I only look them up when I don't recognize them on the quick read.

    Weather here in Texas is usually described as "Hot. And getting Hotter"

    Of course I'm writing this on January 1st where we actually have freezing temperatures that will last (nominally) until early February.

    So, ya, we see some stuff in those METARs that we haven't thought about since a written exam.
     
  35. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Sunday, we get to wear short sleeves again.... And you know somewhere before end of the month, we gonna get a heat wave into the 70's. Then another arctic blast and we once again forget how to drive in winter weather.

    upload_2018-1-1_17-47-21.png
     
  36. Rory

    Rory Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Your second example is really common in the New York area. As you say, it gives more precise temperature and dew point information. For me, the question is whether, how and to whom (I’m assuming airliners) the more precise data is useful.

    The mystery for me is the point of SLP, included in the US and Canada as a matter of course, but apparently not elsewhere.

    On your larger question, ForeFlight (which I use) plainly does not translate all the METAR/TAF codes, and also plainly misses important weather information. Which for me means that relying on ForeFlight “translations” is a bad idea.

    I agree with those who suggest that given the current state of technology codes are just in the way. I also think that there’s a need to report PIREPS in something approximating plain language.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
  37. Gucci Pilot

    Gucci Pilot Pattern Altitude

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    Every once in awhile I have to google a METAR code. I don't usually think much of it. Don't mind it because I learn something new.
     
  38. sferguson524

    sferguson524 Pattern Altitude

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    That one sticks with me, because an instructor told me it was baby rain.
     
  39. SoCal RV Flyer

    SoCal RV Flyer Pattern Altitude

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    For our Spanish-speaking POA'ers, fumar means "to smoke" so FU is easy to remember.

    (Or maybe you just hate smoke so much, you let the F-bomb fly.)
     
  40. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Line Up and Wait

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    That's the memory aid that the King's used in their METAR/TAF video that they put out back in ~1996 when the US adopted the international standards.