ACs are concerned mostly with weather conditions in the immediate vicinity and within
50 miles of the airport. Use weather observations and forecasts regularly for planning
purposes. You should be most concerned with present weather conditions and those
weather conditions expected within the hour.
In this section, we will discuss the weather support products and code forms that you
will most frequently encounter and need to interpret.
Aviation weather support is provided to each naval air station by the Naval Meteorology
and Oceanography Command.
Aviation Weather Support
Most naval air stations are supported by meteorological detachments or facilities staffed
with forecasters and observers trained to provide accurate observations of the current
weather. These facilities also provide Terminal Area Forecasts (TAF), tailored computer
flight plans, general weather forecasts, and Flight Weather Briefings, DD Form 175-1.
You will find it necessary to interpret weather observation codes and the TAFs. These
code formats are used to report current and forecast conditions at your airfield and
surrounding airfields and are also used to report expected conditions recorded on the
DD Form 175-1.
Aboard ship, the CVNs, LHAs, and LHDs all have a complement of Aerographer s Mate
(AG) assigned to provide similar services. The AGs are available to discuss the weather
and any question you may have about the observation or forecast codes.
Aviation Routine Weather Reports
The two major types of weather observations used in the United States are aviation
routine weather reports (METAR) and aviation selected special weather reports
(SPECI). To perform effectively as an AC, you must be familiar with weather
observation terminology and codes. Pilots rely heavily on weather information in all
phases of their flights, and you, as a controller, are responsible for relaying this
METAR and SPECI Observations
Table 1-15 shows an example of a typical METAR or SPECI observation and describes
each separate section of the observation. METARs are issued for each station in the
U.S. at least once each hour when the airfield is open. Therefore, these observations
are sometimes called hourly observations. SPECIs are issued whenever significant
changes occur to specific weather elements between observation periods.