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View Full Version : Why do we still accept abbreviations in weather / notams etc ?


stilton
14th Jun 2019, 02:21
Why in this day and age do we tolerate the dissemination of this vital
information in the same ridiculous manner that weíve done for decades?


Abbreviations, codes etc are all potentially
unclear and / or confusing


And whats the point ? In the old days shortening the message was essential to save space, now thereís an app that can Ďtranslateí these into plain English so why not present TAFís, Metars, Notams etc in that manner ?

Pet peeve

Denti
14th Jun 2019, 03:30
I do use aeroweather, as do many others, but usually i keep it in the not-translated setting, simply because i can read that abbreviated report faster than the non-abbreviated one. Same for scanning the weather of around 30 airports during briefing in the morning, much faster in the METAR format than in long text. NOTAMS is a bit of a mixed bag. Some NOTAMS actually do come in non-abbreviated form, and they usually contain a lot of text, but not all that much in information. But some of the NOTAM abbreviations are rather creative and not easily decoded, but most of the stuff is easy enough to read. And again, scanning the informations of all destinations, departures, enroute airports of four sectors in at most 5 minutes of flight preparation time in the alloted check in time is usually faster in abbreviated form.

victorpapa
14th Jun 2019, 03:41
Agree 100%. eWAS Jepp FD and AreroWether present weater decoded and even colour coded so much easer to understand the Ďbig pictureí of weather. We need to move on from antiquated telex type abbreviations. Also for NOTAMS too.

punkalouver
14th Jun 2019, 04:08
Because lots of weather info in long form is a huge amount of paper/electronic pages. So learn the short form.

I find it difficult to read the long form actually.

Atlas Shrugged
14th Jun 2019, 04:09
Tolerate????

If someone can hold Flight Crew License and can fly an aircraft, they should be able to decode TAFs, METARS and read a NOTAM. If they cant, then they have no place in a cockpit.

It's really not that hard and it's taught ab-initio!

FlightDetent
14th Jun 2019, 04:38
I am a fan of the abbreviated versions too. But a long shot into the future, will there be emojis in the METAR version y2050? +TSRA ⛈️⛈️⛈️

ScepticalOptomist
14th Jun 2019, 05:03
Regular text abbreviations are fine, itís the numeric groups you see in the US which are a PITA...

InSoMnIaC
14th Jun 2019, 05:27
Tolerate????

If someone can hold Flight Crew License and can fly an aircraft, they should be able to decode TAFs, METARS and read a NOTAM. If they cant, then they have no place in a cockpit.

It's really not that hard and it's taught ab-initio!


Are you suggesting that just because someone is a holder of an FCL and is able to decode the mess that is MET/NOTAMs, they should not try to improve things?

Atlas Shrugged
14th Jun 2019, 06:10
No. .

Global Aviator
14th Jun 2019, 06:42
I am a fan of the abbreviated versions too. But a long shot into the future, will there be emojis in the METAR version y2050? +TSRA ⛈️⛈️⛈️

You have nailed it! Why wait till 2020...

This is the millennial era!

You should develop that app quick smart!!!!!!

(But seriously itís worked as it has so why change, admittedly once in a blue moon I do get a code that I have to look up, not often!).

:)

Uplinker
14th Jun 2019, 09:58
Good question, stilton.

Basic weather in abbreviated form is fine - e.g, - 34005KT 300V010 4000 RA SCT004 BKN011 09/09 Q1012 - is easy to scan and “see” the unabbreviated version, and it is reasonably concise.

However, remarks, turbulence reports and possibly Snowtams are not so easy to assimilate, and, (for me), require digging out decode sheets.

Some years’ ago there was a similar discussion on Pprune and the phrase “ JETOK” was proposed for a collection of certain parameters which would not be a problem for the average medium to large passenger jet.

Where I now work, the software picks out any potential problems in the NOTAMS, by highlighting all words such as “closed”, “U/S”, “unavailable”, etc in red, which helps a lot.

aterpster
14th Jun 2019, 14:16
The ForeFlight iPad and iPhone App, which is very popular in the U.S., presents both the coded and decoded METARs.

FlyingStone
14th Jun 2019, 14:34
I'd rather ask myself why do we still accept this diplomatic keyboard wars in NOTAMs that result in pages and pages and pages of utter s*** that we have to read through everyday. And then god forbid you missed something important in those 50 pages...

golfbananajam
14th Jun 2019, 15:54
Good question, stilton.

Basic weather in abbreviated form is fine - e.g, - 34005KT 300V010 4000 RA SCT004 BKN011 09/09 Q1012 - is easy to scan and ďseeĒ the unabbreviated version, and it is reasonably concise.

However, remarks, turbulence reports and possibly Snowtams are not so easy to assimilate, and, (for me), require digging out decode sheets.

Some yearsí ago there was a similar discussion on Pprune and the phrase ď JETOKĒ was proposed for a collection of certain parameters which would not be a problem for the average medium to large passenger jet.

Where I now work, the software picks out any potential problems in the NOTAMS, by highlighting all words such as ďclosedĒ, ďU/SĒ, ďunavailableĒ, etc in red, which helps a lot.



The danger here is that an abbreviation the developer didn't think about or know about is missed and because you've become accustomed to looking for the red highlight then you miss it too

just my two-penneth

KayPam
14th Jun 2019, 17:24
Tolerate????

If someone can hold Flight Crew License and can fly an aircraft, they should be able to decode TAFs, METARS and read a NOTAM. If they cant, then they have no place in a cockpit.

It's really not that hard and it's taught ab-initio!
With that reasoning we would still hand fly from NDB to NDB.

pineteam
14th Jun 2019, 17:49
METAR/TAF format does not bother me too much. But the NOTAMS I must agree it’s rubbish. Too many useless and WTF information that Most of us don’t even understand. I only check Briefly the one applicable to my destination and alternate. Don’t care about military activities or closed taxiways or met balloons or cranes with height and coordinates. Seriously what the hell. xD

Even the NTSB itself says Notams are garbage.
https://youtu.be/LWLPDOXF7e4

double_barrel
14th Jun 2019, 19:47
Working on this stuff for impending exams, I can't help wondering why it has to be so obscure. Presumably it was developed to save bandwidth on slow teletype links. But now it rather feels like an initiation ritual

I get that if you are scanning METARs and TAFs everyday, they becomes second nature, but what about radar reports, winds aloft and PIREPS? How often do you guys scan those? As a beginner, I can't help wondering why there is no consistency in abbreviations - timestamps can be as date-time groups or hours or hours and mins depending on context. Why do FD (or is that FB) reports save one lousy digit by encoding wind speeds >99Kn by adding 50 to the bearing ! and another by dropping the minus on temps above 24,000' ? How come UA means a routine PIREP but UUA means urgent?!

+TSRA
15th Jun 2019, 02:53
I am a fan of the abbreviated versions too. But a long shot into the future, will there be emojis in the METAR version y2050? +TSRA ⛈️⛈️⛈️

I should hope I never find my handle an emoji in my career. I believe that will be the day I retire.

I get that if you are scanning METARs and TAFs everyday, they becomes second nature, but what about radar reports, winds aloft and PIREPS? How often do you guys scan those?

Every day.

NOTAMS are crap and need an overhaul pronto. I swear to god if I have to search through 20 crane NOTAMS to find the one important one about revised ILS or LPV minima, I'll go ballistic. This was the case in Calgary for the last couple of years. Beyond a joke it was.

However, leave the METAR's and TAF's alone. Sure, update the codes so we're all using the same coding principles, but it is FAR quicker to read through the last four hours worth of METARS for ten airports in code than it ever will be written in plain language.

Skyjob
15th Jun 2019, 10:11
For those interested in future developments, read up on AIXM (http://aixm.aero/page/digital-notam) and WXXM (http://wxxm.aero)
Both of these projects should eliminate the concerns raised so far in the discussion.

PS: As for the operator highlighting keywords in their app to view NOTAM information, I hope their software will get soon improved to not occasionally miss out some of them as they are in incorrect typeset for them to be recognised...

The current Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) is a text message, which includes some structured 'NOTAM qualifier' fields. NOTAM are distributed through basic teletype networks such as the Aeronautical Fixed Telecommunication Network (AFTN). The NOTAM content is intended to be read by pilots, controllers and other operational personnel involved in flight operations. There are increasing complaints about the usability of the NOTAM system due to aspects such as:

NOTAM proliferation - the number of international NOTAM messages has tripled in the last 10 years, approaching 1 million per year;
use of only upper case (an AFTN character set limitation) - which makes the NOTAM difficult to read, especially when compiled in long pre-flight information bulletins;
the free text nature of the NOTAM, which makes any parsing and automatic processing unreliable or even impossible.

Therefore, a Digital NOTAM concept has been proposed, by which the NOTAM information will be provided as fully structured data set through digital data services.

AIXM version 5.1 and further versions support the provision of Digital NOTAM. These can be used, for example, in order to present an updated airport diagram to the pilot or to the air traffic controller, containing graphical depictions of the work in progress areas, closed taxiways or runways, temporary obstacles, etc. Digital NOTAM enable the provision of pre-flight pilot briefings in normal sentence case, which should significantly improve their readability and the visual comfort for the user. The processing of a Digital NOTAM might also trigger automated actions, such as determine procedures impacted by the unavailability of a navaid.

The Weather Information Exchange Models and Schema (WXCM-WXXM-WXXS) are designed to enable a platform independent, harmonized and interoperable meteorological information exchange covering all the needs of the air transport industry.

The Weather Information Exchange Model specifications support the data-centric environment. It supports MET information collection, dissemination and transformation throughout the data chain.

Uplinker
15th Jun 2019, 12:57
Working on this stuff for impending exams, I can't help wondering why it has to be so obscure. Presumably it was developed to save bandwidth on slow teletype links. But now it rather feels like an initiation ritual

I get that if you are scanning METARs and TAFs everyday, they becomes second nature..............!

You are required to achieve a certain depth and breadth of knowledge in the ATPLs which you just have to learn, but I feel your pain !! Some of the more obscure parts of the ATPL seemed similar to my History lessons at school. Why do I need to know what date Henry the xx died? How will that help me live my life - unless I want to be a history teacher !!

Spot on about the limited bandwidth originally requiring coded messages, but as you say, when you have to add some number to indicate a parallel runway or whatever, it gets silly - especially in 2019 now that larger data rates are generally available.

NOTAMS certainly need an overhaul. Some sort of priority ordering system is badly needed. Primary NOTAMS, for closed runways, airspace or no fuel; Secondary NOTAMS, for items that will not directly affect a commercial, planned flight.

As it is now: after pages and pages and pages of NOTAMS, it is easy to miss the fact that French airspace will be closed after 0100z owing to a strike !

back to Boeing
15th Jun 2019, 14:14
METARís and TAFís Iíd be happy to leave as is because Iím used to them.

NOTAMís on the other hand!!!! My latest bugbear is JFK 13L/31R. PAPIís us g/p u/s loc u/s centreline lighting U/s and on and on. Finally on the next page on its own hidden away. Runway closed. If the runway is closed and dug up, I honestly couldnít care less about the other page worth of verbiage.

AerocatS2A
15th Jun 2019, 21:38
I’m fine with weather as well. Jepp FD has a weather decode but I much prefer to read the coded version. NOTAMs are in desperate need of an overhaul though.

Check Airman
16th Jun 2019, 01:15
Once you learn to read metars and tafs, it's much easier to scan. The decoded one takes a lot of time to decipher.

Agree that the NOTAM format needs to be changed though.

Smythe
16th Jun 2019, 16:05
nailed it!

https://cimg9.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/960x720/oum1jcx_f77faa70b5c4890bde6ddd5f0eb808325be7de51.jpg

compressor stall
17th Jun 2019, 00:09
Itís much easier and faster to scan in the METAR TAF shorthand. Iíve never used the decode on AeroWeather, always the standard format.
Also when youíre copying down a new ATIS or METAR, youíve got a snowballís chance in hell of keeping up writing it down longhand.

And 100% agree the biggest safety issue is the 50odd pages of NOTAMs you have to wade through, of irrelevant and future dated stuff.
Itís probably fine for those with airline departments that filter them out in a nice briefing package, but for those of us doing international ops and acquiring them all ourselves itís a bloody nightmare and a safety hazard.

Loose rivets
17th Jun 2019, 00:56
You are required to achieve a certain depth and breadth of knowledge in the ATPLs which you just have to learn,

When ATPLs were ALTPs and invigilators wore tweed jackets with patches on the elbows, we had to decode a symbolic weather report and plot the system on a square meter of paper. I agonised over mine, rubbed the low out and moved it a couple of inches right and up a bit. The invigilator picked mine up and said quietly, 'some times the first ideas are the best.' I scraped through.

I found the met much easier to read in the 60s'. It just seemed natural, but as it changed it either became more obscure, or my brain had already started to fade. It just didn't leap off the page anymore. OKTA is such a nice word.

During the 60s they posted a bazzillion letters to my old home, some of the contents were pink, usually telling me to keep my carb heat to hot despite the loss of power. When I moved in 1970, nothing I could do would make them readdress these gems.

Smythe
17th Jun 2019, 01:01
And 100% agree the biggest safety issue is the 50odd pages of NOTAMs you have to wade through, of irrelevant and future dated stuff.
It’s probably fine for those with airline departments that filter them out in a nice briefing package, but for those of us doing international ops and acquiring them all ourselves it’s a bloody nightmare and a safety hazard.

Completely concur. Once one is used to the abbreviations (except for the real bizarre ones they throw in now and then that even the decoder disco's on)
The NOTAM's kill me. Verbose, dated, (begin/end dates, if any) and sometimes reference from the ARP rather than a rwy end....

double_barrel
17th Jun 2019, 15:56
METARís and TAFís Iíd be happy to leave as is because Iím used to them.

NOTAMís on the other hand!!!! My latest bugbear is JFK 13L/31R. PAPIís us g/p u/s loc u/s centreline lighting U/s and on and on. Finally on the next page on its own hidden away. Runway closed. If the runway is closed and dug up, I honestly couldnít care less about the other page worth of verbiage.


Ha! That is exactly what used to happen with notices to mariners - the sailors equivalent of NOTAMS. A lowly junior officer was given the task of wading through piles of N2Ms, painstakingly drawing corrections onto a paper chart with his magenta pen, and then after 20 have been added, the 21st says stick the attached chartlet over the top of the lot! It's a tough sailor who doesn't cry at that point!

Gauges and Dials
18th Jun 2019, 15:38
Complex technology ecosystems, in which there are many producers and consumers of data, tend to be very resistant to change. The producers of the data need to keep producing it in the "old" format as long as there are still consumers that need it; there is reduced pressure to innovate at the consumer end because the producers are still producing the old format data.

Until very recently, the major stock exchanges in the US were still maintaining, in parallel with the more modern stuff, the electromechanical systems that transmitted stock quotes in a format readable by the iconic ticker tape printer. The printers themselves were long ago junked or sold as antiques, but there were other systems around that still read the data in that format.

https://cimg8.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/568x707/universalstocktickerbig_761e252f94c9229826513ebf99927bab0c6a 23f7.jpg

Skyjob
18th Jun 2019, 22:12
Once the XML standard is set and agreed upon, AIXM and WXXM (etc) will enable applications to read and interpret the information making redundant the random short codes used in especially NOTAMs.
This essentially means that your chart application can create a line through a closed part of taxiway or strike through minima to approaches withdrawn by NOTAM, to name a few.
The future is in the hands of IT professionals, but they need data tat supports their cause, readable by machines, this format definition is the key. Unfortunately like many projects created and run at this level of authority, they take too long to come to fruit, meaning introductions into service is again delayed.

Alpine Flyer
24th Jun 2019, 18:45
I find the code quite more readable than longhand except for numeric groups like runway condition reports.
Our new planning software inserts line breaks for every new time group like "BCMG" or "FM" which makes for easier reading plus it shows these periods on a bar with the planned flight time superimposed, making it very easy to check whether a line is actually relevant for the flight. There's also some color coding with some conditions triggering amber and red conditions, but these often err on the cautious side when putting an airport in red because of morning fog that will be long gone until we arrive or just start the next morning (with long TAF).

NOTAM definitely need an overhaul and we should probably quit defaulting to the lowest common denominator because some country somewhere still uses an Edison-made telegraph or at least paper punch rolls to disperse NOTAM. The time is more than ripe for a NOTAM System that includes machine-readable coordinates / altitudes / times which can be shown on a map without a junior sailor dispatcher having to plot it. (Our system can plot but you have to enter/copy the data manually which makes it rather useless.). I had hoped for some action after the NTSB bashed the NOTAM system after the near miss (in ORD?)...

woodja51
25th Jun 2019, 10:42
I think without exception the NOTAMís have been identified as cumbersome and in fact are now a hazard / flight safety risk themselves. Overhaul required. Met codes can be faster in most cases ( except Snowtam / runway reports which are still a dogs breakfast.). In some airports they use a simple code system to advise of the weather etc. I like that. A bit like the ďJet ok ď someone mentioned. I donít care about wind unless itís tail , donít care about x wind unless itís significant and RCR affected. I count the lines on a TAF etc and when they get to 5 I start looking for more alternates. Less than 2 lines - really who cares. Yes , I know this is simplifying it /stereotyping but as George Clooney said ď- itís faster ď like the lines at security - never line up behind old folks, kids or pax from certain parts of the world( thatís a fact not anything more controversial ) .. And any Notam with a ď V ď FIR ( on it , well I simply throw them in the bin. Some are several years old !!

Superpilot
25th Jun 2019, 15:24
And as if by magic.... Literally just got this through into my Inbox:

Death to Notams - a meet-up to discuss, and solve the problem

https://i.ibb.co/v40QCWc/1.png (https://ibb.co/ch4CK9y)
https://i.ibb.co/6XF8tv8/2.jpg (https://ibb.co/z6ZF28F)

LookingForAJob
25th Jun 2019, 19:27
Some of the current initiatives will, hopefully, make appropriate and relevant briefing information more accessible and usable - provided that the people defining the future methods are suitably qualified in both aviation and information management matters. However, one of the main reasons that codes remain the most sensible way of disseminating such information for the time being is that it can be read by people without concern about the extent of their language skills in whatever tongue one might choose to use for explicit reports.

There appears to be an implicit assumption in this thread that plain language reports will be in English. It seems easy to forget, or to criticise those whose first language is not English, that working in English is not easy for many people, especially when not using standard phraseology or other standard terms. Remember also that even for native English speakers, plain language English is ripe for misinterpretation. Use of codes can overcome many of the problems that differing languages creates.

We anglophones should consider ourselves very lucky that aviation was established in an era and environment in which English was the naturally obvious language to be used. Aviation is now a truly global industry - consider for a moment if the language to be used for communication was to be based on the numbers of people speaking each language. A quick Google (so absolute accuracy not guaranteed) suggests that the number of native English speakers is dwarfed by both Chinese/Mandarin and Spanish speakers (and by some sources Hindi also comes above English) - to put it into context, one source indicates that a little under 5% of the world population speaks English while Chinese/Mandarin and Spanish are each spoken by a greater proportion of the population and together represent around 20% of the world population. Maybe we could imagine for a moment how we would feel if Chinese were selected for plain language communication in the industry - using codes might suddenly become far more appealing.

With luck, in the future we will all benefit from the pervasiveness of modern IT systems which will enable us to access information in a form or language that suits each of us. Until then, codes work.