News tip Flight simulator: deciphering a METAR weather report
METAR is a weather observation report commonly used in aviation. Its emitting source is an airfield. This international code is intended to facilitate and simplify the reading of meteorological information. Basic data are common to all countries, but some sections of the code are subject to local variations. In Microsoft Flight Simulator, you find that the METARs are used to get complete information about the weather in a few terms.
You can get this information through various tools. Initially on the Internet through a variety of websites; we offer you This page as an example. ATIS can also provide the METAR of the field (every hour around 30 minutes for a METAR). In Microsoft Flight Simulator you can connect from the radio menu. Please note that the ATIS provides different information than the METAR, e.g. B. a NOTAM (information about a closed runway, etc.). You can view our full ATIS help by clicking here.
First, let’s distinguish METAR and TAF, although they are often linked:
METAR : Aerodrome weather observation report: This is the current weather recorded by the weather station of the relevant aerodrome.
TAF : Aerodrome weather forecast report: This is the forecast from the weather station of the relevant aerodrome. There are two types of TAFs: “short” TAFs, which are valid until 9am, and “long” TAFs, which are valid from 24 to 30 hours.
As explained above, METARs are connected to their own transmitting station, in this case an airfield. It is therefore logical that the message begins with the name of the airport concerned in the form of an ICAO code consisting of 4 letters. The ICAO code consists of 4 letters with which the site can be identified. Example: For Orly Airport, the METAR begins with “LFPO”.
Right after the field code, We will find the date and time the message was produced (In Zulu time, ie World Time GMT / UTC. For us in France we only need to remove 1 hour in winter and 2 hours in summer. Here is the form of this information: 161830Z. 16 means METAR day and 1830… 6.30pm Zulu.
In a great many cases, you will see later the term AUTOThis means that the message was created automatically and autonomously by the weather station and not by a human presence. Be careful, this sometimes leads to certain parameters that are slightly skewed in reality. Indeed, if there is a very small disruptive mass of air around the station and there is a storm with blue skies throughout the region, the news can sometimes contain some surprises.
Then comes this type of information: 14015KT. These are the windsexpressed in knots. We translate it in this example by a wind of 140 ° for an average force of 15 knots over 10 minutes. Sometimes you can find additional information, e.g. For example, if there are gusts of wind (more than 10 knots than the average wind), you will see: GXXKT, “G” means “gusts” and “XX” the value of the bursts. The wind can sometimes come from an imprecise source
Regarding the knowledge of the runway operating through the METAR, it should be noted that this information is usually indicated by the presence of the human in the control tower.
If the airport is in the auto info, it is up to you to determine. An airplane always takes off and lands against the wind. And remember, the wind shown in METAR indicates where it’s coming from. Example: If the metar reads: Wind 27014G25KT and you are on the Périgueux field with runways 29 and 11, which one do you take?
Reply : Runway 29 (270 ° for 14 knots of force) with gusts of up to 25 knots.
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By Cthulhus, iGamesNews administrator