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Why do we still accept abbreviations in weather / notams etc ?

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Why do we still accept abbreviations in weather / notams etc ?

Old 14th Jun 2019, 01:21
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Why do we still accept abbreviations in weather / notams etc ?

Why in this day and age do we tolerate the dissemination of this vital
information in the same ridiculous manner that we’ve 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 there’s an app that can ‘translate’ these into plain English so why not present TAF’s, Metars, Notams etc in that manner ?

Pet peeve
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Old 14th Jun 2019, 02:30
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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.
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Old 14th Jun 2019, 02:41
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Agree 100%. eWAS Jepp FD and AreroWether present weater decoded and even colour coded so much easer to understand the ‘big picture’ of weather. We need to move on from antiquated telex type abbreviations. Also for NOTAMS too.
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Old 14th Jun 2019, 03:08
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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.
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Old 14th Jun 2019, 03:09
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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!

Last edited by Atlas Shrugged; 14th Jun 2019 at 03:45.
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Old 14th Jun 2019, 03:38
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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 ⛈️⛈️⛈️
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Old 14th Jun 2019, 04:03
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Regular text abbreviations are fine, it’s the numeric groups you see in the US which are a PITA...
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Old 14th Jun 2019, 04:27
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged View Post
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?
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Old 14th Jun 2019, 05:10
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No. .
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Old 14th Jun 2019, 05:42
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Originally Posted by FlightDetent View Post
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 it’s 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!).

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Old 14th Jun 2019, 08:58
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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.

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Old 14th Jun 2019, 13:16
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The ForeFlight iPad and iPhone App, which is very popular in the U.S., presents both the coded and decoded METARs.
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Old 14th Jun 2019, 13:34
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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...
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Old 14th Jun 2019, 14:54
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Originally Posted by Uplinker View Post
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.

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
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Old 14th Jun 2019, 16:24
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged View Post
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.
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Old 14th Jun 2019, 16:49
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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.
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Old 14th Jun 2019, 18:47
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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?!
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Old 15th Jun 2019, 01:53
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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.
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Old 15th Jun 2019, 09:11
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For those interested in future developments, read up on AIXM and WXXM
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.
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Old 15th Jun 2019, 11:57
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Originally Posted by double_barrel View Post
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 !
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