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User guide for Airfield Lookup


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 longer available.

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.

How to report a problem.

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 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.

A short story about a problem

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.

Frequent Questions.

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.

I have a User ID, Password. But how do I use them?
Your broswer will ask you for your User ID and Password each time you visit my pages that require User Authentification. Once you have entered the User ID and Password you will not need to re-enter them unless you visit other pages that require a different User ID and password or you restart your browser.

Some Tips: Use only the Letters A to Z and Numbers in your user id and password. Do Not include any spaces. And consider case sensitivity! See further notes on Registration.

How do I get an Activation Key
You should receive your activation key via Email. If you have not received your key you may request a New Activation Key Please Note: Each activation key is different so you can only use the lastest one you were sent. Therefore, if there is a backlog in your mail the system will only accept the latest one. So be sure to check the date of the Key.
I have forgotten my user ID
As long as you can still remember your Email address and Password you can use the User Verification program.
I have forgotten my Password.
As the passwords are stored in a crypted form it is not possible to tell you what your password is. So you must use my Forgotten Password Page. This gives you a tempory password thus allowing you to change the one you have forgotten.
I can't get to your pages .
I have a page that will allow you to lookup errors from both you and the remote system you are accessing the pages from. The Error Lookup Page. just needs the Email address you gave when registering.
How do I Delete my User id?
As long as you know your User ID and Password simply use the Delete User Page.
Avnet members
If you are an AVnet user and can no longer get access this is because you MUST use your automatically created Userid (Login name). Please use the forgotten Userid and forgotten Password pages if you don't know your Userid or Password. Your email address will be
My Userid keeps disappearing
User IDs are deleted if email to you fails. It may also get removed if it looks like you have not answered the registration form correctly.
I have registered but still can't get to the pages
If you have seen the Sucessfull Registration page then you managed to type a valid userid and password.
You MUST type both the user id and password exactly as you entered them. If your user id was FooBar then you must use FooBar The word foobar in lowercase is NOT the same word. They may sound the same to you and me but to a computer they are totally different words. The same goes for the password. If you have a space then you must put the space in the same place. It could also be that your browser is not authentification capable. The only solution is to get a new Browser.

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.

Using the Lookup page

Format Box

You may select one or more fields in the format box.
Airfield Information
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.
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.
Known problem.
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.
Known Problem.
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?

Winds Aloft
I have no plans for this. I know it would be amazingly useful. Please, don't tell me about it. I know!

Input field

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.
London Heathrow.
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.

Keep your eye on this guide as I will add more information on what can be done with the program.
If you get an error please report it to me along with information on how to reproduce the problem.

Airport lookup and Weather Known problems

If you suffer from a problem documented here, there is no point notifying me unless I am looking for help to fix it.

Speed seems to be a problem for some users. I have put a timer in to the page to tell you how long the system took to build the page. As of Nov 1996 the program has been speeded up significantly. Typically a single airport now only takes less than 2 seconds to create. If more than one airport is chosen then it may take up to five seconds. If it takes longer than that please let me know what parameteres you used.

These are problems or things I would like to get working in the page.

Add an option to restrict the FIRs searched

This will allow a user to stand a better chance of only getting an airport they are intrested in.

Weather is not displayed correctly for the 2 hours after midnight.

For the first two hours after 00:00 UTC no METARs from the previous day are shown.

Met can be a little unformatted

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

100 IACO or IATA codes are allowed

I need to restrict this so as not to break any agreement on distribution of the information.

Magnetic Variation is only shown from the database. I would like to compute it. Only my program is out of date.
The Program should report "No TAFs or METARs found" when using raw met mode.
Some users seem to be able to send a Null Query string. If you get a message to that effect please let me know what browser you use and how you did it.

Any problem below here is more a design request

Plans for weather pages

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.

Who is Who


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.

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