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METEOROLOGY FLIGHT PLANNING
CHAPTER ONE
Group 2: Station Identifier
The METAR code format uses a 4-letter ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization)
identifier. In the continental U. S., all 3-letter identifiers are prefixed with a "K," e.g., KLAX for
Los Angeles, and KBOS for Boston (Figure 1-4). Elsewhere, the first two letters of the ICAO
identifier indicate what region of the world (e.g. K=USA, C=Canada, P=Pacific, E=Europe) and
country the station is located. For example, PAFA is Fairbanks, Alaska, PHNA is Barber's
Point, Hawaii, and CYUL is Montreal, Canada. Also, EG indicates a station in England, and LI
indicates a station in Italy. U.S. locations identifiers are included in Appendix C. For a complete
worldwide listing of all the identifiers, one must refer to the ICAO Document 7910 Location
Identifiers.
METAR KNPA 082255Z 27004KT 7/8SM R04/4500FT DZ FG SCT000 BKN011 OVC380
19/18 A2997 RMK VIS1/2V1 CIG009V013 FG SCT000 BKN TOPS 027 SLP149
Figure 1-4 Station Identifier in METAR
Group 3: Date Time Group and Report Modifier
The time of observation will be included in all reports, using the standard date time group (DTG)
format. Times are always given in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC) and therefore will end in
"Z," indicating Zulu, or UTC, time. The first two numbers are the date, and the second four are
the time of the report (Figure 1-5).
METAR KNPA 082255Z 27004KT 7/8SM R04/4500FT DZ FG SCT000 BKN011 OVC380
19/18 A2997 RMK VIS1/2V1 CIG009V013 FG SCT000 BKN TOPS 027 SLP149
Figure 1-5 DTG in METAR
Manual METAR observations are required to be started no earlier than 15 minutes prior to the
reporting time, which is a window between 55 and 59 minutes past the hour. Additionally,
elements having the greatest rate of change are evaluated last. At automated stations, evaluations
are based on sensor data taken within 10 minutes of the report time (although sky cover data is
gathered over the preceding 30 minutes). Therefore, as an aviator, you can be assured you have
the most up-to-date information available, assuming you are checking the weather at the top of
the hour.
Of course, report times given for SPECI observations are the time at which the event requiring
the SPECI report occurred.
Reports may also contain one of two modifiers, "COR," or "AUTO," which will appear after the
DTG:
AVIATION ROUTINE WEATHER REPORTS AND TERMINAL AERODROME
FORECASTS  1-5


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