This is the user guide for Arport, TAF and METAR lookup. If you are reading this user guide because you are trying to work out why you are having a problem or to find out how to use the lookup pages. Thank you for taking the time to check here first.
If you have been refered here in response to a problem this means that you have not given me enough information to allow me to look at your problem. This guide will tell you how to report a problem.
If you have made a query and been presented with this page then your query was not valid and you need to read the guide to work out what is wrong.
The Main Menu should be your starting point.
If you can't get what you want from there it is likely that the page is no
The pages should IMHO be usable without a user guide or FAQ. However, I still get heaps of mail so this should cover your question. This is more like a brain dump than a user guide. But anyway here it is, spelling mistakes typos and all. Please take the time to read it. Remember, I have spent a great deal of my time getting the program working and making it available to you at no charge. All I ask is that you don't ask me a question that can be answered by reading this page.
First please remember that what you think is a Bug may be a feature for other people.
I keep a log of each request sent to the program. This allows to me quickly identify your request providing you give me the detail I need.
Unless you are using the program from the AVnet.co.uk domain I need your user id to find your records in the logs. I need the date and time so that I can see what should have been in the database at that time. I need to know the URL you used. There are several ways to use the program and I need to know which one you use. If there is a fill-in box then of course I need to know what you entered. If it is a menu type page then I need to know what you selected. I need to know what you expected to happen. Remember I know what should happen and so to just say "It didn't work" is no good to me if I am to fix the problem. The browser is important as I tend to only use Netscape for testing and it may be that other browsers have a problem with what I send. The output of the Error lookup is most valuable and saves me lots of time. Please spend the time to get that information. If you put all this in the Email I should be able to identify any messages in the log files, and reproduce the problem and correct the bug quickly.
I noticed that in the log sometimes there seemed to be some corrupted data. However. I thought nothing of it. Then one day someone reported a problem. They thought that since they had seen the problem with several browsers and users and at any time all of the above information was not needed. If you don't tell me your user id I have to look you up in the register and then search all the logs for your records. Fortunately, he replied to my plea for the information. I checked his message and found the cause of the problem to be this corrupted data. I was able to reproduce the problem and it was fixed within 6 hours of the report. People had been suffering the problem for months. So Please Tell me about any problems you get.
I now have over 5000 users registered. The most Frequent questions are from people that have forgotten their Userid or Password or who just can't register. The most important thing is to choose a Userid you can remember and a Password you can remember.
How do I register so that I can use the page?
If you are using Avnet as your Internet Service Provider then you do not need to register. There is no charge for registration or the use of the pages. I would just like to know who is using the pages. So please register. If you are not registered then you can only use the demo version. If you have registered then you can have access to all of the functions available. Note: if you don't access the pages for over 90 days then your registration will be cancelled.
Why do you have to have passwords
Why Not? It is a small price to pay for what I hope you find a usfull service. There are placess on the web you can get some of the information without passwords.
I put a lot of work in to getting the pages working and keeping them working. Some people seem to think that because they pay no money for the service it is free. It is not free it requires registration providing the service means that Avnet and Myself all incur cost in providing the service.
If you use Aviators Network as your ISP then a password is not required.
Why is the registration so complicated
The registration is I belive quite simple. This can get complicated if you forget your pasword or your user id. I'm sure that you will agree there is not much I can do about that.
I am working on a more user friendly interface for problems.
You may select one or more fields in the format box.
When this option is selected the program will present the Airfield information, Lat/Long, Elevation, Radio frequencies, Runways, Sunrise, Sunset etc,
When this option is not selected the program just shows a line with the ICAO code, Airport Name and IATA code.
TAF METAR and SIGMET
When this option is selected then any current TAFs and METARS available for the selected airport are shown.
A current TAF is one with time still left in the forecast. A current METAR is one that is less than two hours old.
If no current TAFs or METARs are found then the last TAF and/or METAR is shown and any TAFs and METARs for all Airports within a 25Nm radius are shown. If no airports are within 25 Nm then the nearest within 50Nm is given.
Any SIGMETs for the FIR are given at the end of the page.
Sigmets are in some cases difficult to validate automaticaly so you may get several out of date reports.
If an aiport is close to an FIR boundary and there is an airport in the adjoining FIR that is within 25Nm that airport is not found. Only Airports in the Same FIR are searched.
En Route Weather
When this option is selected it also turns on TAF METAR and SIGMET. To use the option you must select two or more airports. The program will then present the TAFs and METARs for all airports that a within 25Nm of track. If you chose a very short flight (less than 50Nm then the results may be a little bizzarre. If you find an example please let me know.
Only the FIRs for the airports specified in the search are checked. Thus a long trip say Heathrow to Milan will only give weather in the London and Milan FIRs. No weather will be given for the French airports.
Decode TAF and METAR Thanks to Robert Gordon for the work on this.
When selected this option turns off En Route Weather.This is in the interest of cutting down on the size of the page. Really tho',if you can't decode a TAF or METAR should you be flying?
I have no plans for this. I know it would be amazingly useful. Please, don't tell me about it. I know!
The search string is not case-sensitive. Therefore you may enter the airport
names in UPPERCASE, lowercase or a MiXtUrE.
You should not use any eight bit characters.
Only the English alphabet A though Z is used in the database. Note that the name is likely to be the English name.
You must enter at least one airport to find. However, you can enter up to ten airports.
Each airport is separated buy a Space, Comma, Fullstop (Dot) or a Slash.
If the airport name is three or four characters long then the program will attempt to find an airport with that IATA or ICAO code. If an airport with the IATA or ICAO code is found no attempt is made to find an airport with that name. This does not cause any problems as far as I know. If you find a case where entering a three or four character name does not return the airport you expect try encloseing the name in quotes E.G. "heat". If that doesn't fix your problem then please let me know.
Any other sizes will cause the program to search by the regular name of the airport.
To make yourself familiar with how to use the search you can try some of the following Examples.
This airport is indexed by IATA code LHR, ICAO code EGLL, and Airport names of London and Heathrow. If you enter LHR, EGLL, Heath, Heathr, Heathro or Heathrow the program will return just one airport.
Note: It is possible to search on an incomplete airport name.
If you just ask for heat you will get Asyut Airport in Egypt since HEAT is the ICAO code for that airport. However, if you quote the word i.e. "heat" then you will get London Heathrow and not Asyut
Now if you enter London you will get more airports than you can handle, :-). You will get all of the following.
London Heathrow London Gatwick London Stanstead London Luton London City Londonderry Eglinton London-Corbin Arpt-Magee Fld London (some place in Canada) London-Madison Co London ( Westland Heliport ) Londonderry North Windham Plus lots more..
If you enter London Heathrow it will fail to find any airports at all as that is not how the name appears in the index!
If you would like to find say Old Sarum or East Midlands then you need to stop the program finding the airports with the IATA code OLD and the ICAO code EAST. To do that you should put double quotes around the name so enter "Old Sarum" or "East Midlands" You must put double quotes around any airport name that contains a space. Thus White Waltham without the quotes will search for airports whose names start with White or Waltham. I have added a dwim to the program in that if you ask for say Le Touquet you do not need to quote it. Basically, if the airport name starts with a one or two character prefix then the name is automagical quoted so to speak.
If you suffer from a problem documented here, there is no point notifying
me unless I am looking for help to fix it.
This will allow a user to stand a better chance of only getting an airport they are intrested in.
For the first two hours after 00:00 UTC no METARs from the previous day are shown.
I have seen TAFs that have an O in place of the zero and this can confuse the program when calculating if the TAF is still valid There are times when spelling mistake can confuse the program
I need to restrict this so as not to break any agreement on distribution of the information.
At the moment the plan is to debug the cgi program.
To debug all of the html so that it should work on all browsers.
To build a better table of tafs and metars, the current one is unordered.
AVnet is an Internet Service Provider (ISP) for the Aviation comunity. They provide all of the Computer power and Disk space and Phone Calls I need to provide the Airport and Weather lookup service on offer from Avnet. Why not use AVnet as your ISP to ensure this service can continue.
I am the author of the pages and the CGI program. I don't work for or have any links with AVnet. I use my own time to provide these pages. Tom Dawes-Gamble. firstname.lastname@example.org