- Pilot report
A pilot report or PIREP is a report of actual
weatherconditions encountered by an aircraftin flight. This information is usually relayed by radioto the nearest ground station. The message would then be encoded and relayed to other weather offices and air traffic service units.
Although the actual form used to record the PIREP may differ from one country to another, the standards and criteria will remain almost the same. At a minimum the PIREP must contain a header, aircraft location, time, flight level, aircraft type and one other field.
The term PIREP is used, also, to describe a defect report entered into an aircraft's technical log by an aircraft's flight crew (in contrast to a defect report entered by maintenance crews).
*UA or UUA used to identify the PIREP as routine or urgent.
*/OV location of the PIREP, in relation to a NAVAID, an aerodrome or geographical coordinates
*/TM time the PIREP was received from the pilot. Coordinated Universal Time.
flight levelor altitudeabove sea levelat the time the PIREP is filed. Essential for turbulence and icing reports.
*/TP aircraft type. Essential also for turbulence and icing reports.
Optional (at least one is required)
ambient temperature. Important for icing reports.
velocityreferenced in terms of True North (ICAO), or magnetic north (in the United States).
turbulence. Intensity, whether it occurred in or near clouds, and duration.
*/WX flight visibility and weather.
The message identifier "UA" is used when the PIREP contains non-hazardous weather information. If the PIREP contains a report of a
tornado, funnel cloud, waterspout, severe turbulence, severe icing, hail, or a low level wind shearhazard, the identifier "UUA" would be used.
The location (/OV) can be reported in one of three ways: as a direction and distance from a navigation aid (NAVAID), as a direction and distance from an airport, or as the
latitudeand longitudeof the aircraft.
The time (/TM) used is the UTC time that the PIREP is reported.
The flight level (/FL) is reported as either a three digit value that indicates the altitude of the aircraft above sea level in hundreds of feet or can one of three abbreviations: DURD (during descent or on approach), DURC (during climb or after takeoff) and UNKN (unknown).
Aircraft type (/TP) will be the approved
ICAOdesignator, or UNKN if not reported.
Sky cover (/SK) is used to report the
cloudlayer amounts and the height of the cloud base. The tops of the cloud layers can also be included, as can more than one layer of cloud. Heights are in hundreds of feet above sea level and are three digits. Abbreviations used in this group are "CLR" (clear), "FEW" (few), "SCT" (scattered), "BKN" (broken) and "OVC" (overcast).
Temperature (/TA) is the air temperature in whole degrees Celsius as a two-digit value, with negative temperatures preceded by a minus (-) sign.
Wind velocity (/WV) must contain both the wind speed and direction. Direction is reported as a three-digit value in whole degrees true and the wind speed in knots also in three digits.
Turbulence (/TB) and the intensity are reported in a PIREP based on the aircraft and occupants reaction to the turbulence. The altitude of the turbulence should be included using three-digit groups. When the top or the base of the turbulence is unknown then the abbreviation BLO (below) or ABV (above) should be used. Turbulence should be reported as LGT (light), MDT (moderate) or SVR (severe).
Clear-air turbulenceis reported as CAT.
Icing (/IC) is reported by type and the intensity or rate of accretion. The type of ice is reported as "CLR" (clear), "RIME", or "MXD" (mixed). The intensity is reported as "TR" (trace), "LGT" (light), "MDT" (moderate), and "SVR" (severe).
Remarks (/RM) report on other weather conditions that are not covered in the rest of the PIREP may include such things as icing in precipitation,
thunderstorms, St Elmo's fireand frontalconditions. There are many other types of weather conditions that could be reported in a PIREP.
The above explanation of PIREP fields is Canadian. The United States version may also include a weather (/WX) group; and other countries may use other groups and measurements.
Examples of PIREPs
These examples are taken from the Canadian MANOBS (Manual of Surface Weather Observations) published by
UACN10 CYQT 192128YZ WGUA /OV YSP 090025 /TM 2120 /FL050 /TP BE99 /SK 020BKN040 110OVC /TA -14 /WV 030045 /TB MDT CAT 060-080 /IC LGT RIME 020-040 /RM LGT FZRA INC
Decoded isRoutine Upper Air, Aircraft report from Thunder Bay,
Ontarioissued at 2128 UTC on the 19thYZ is Torontoand WG is Winnipeg. This is the Flight Information Region where the PIREP was issuedAircraft observation was 25 nautical miles(46 km) east (090 degrees magnetic) of the Marathon, OntarioVOR/ DMEat 2120 UTC. The aircraft was at 5,000 ft (1,524 m)and is a Beech 99. The clouds were broken at 2,000 ft (610 m) AMSL with tops at 4,000 ft (1,219 m) and an overcast layer at 11,000 ft (3,353 m) AMSL. The temperature is -14 Celsius and the winds are from the NE (030 degrees true) at 45 knots (83 km/h). There is moderate clear air turbulence between 6,000 ft (1,829 m) and 8,000 ft (2,438 m). There is light rime icing between 2,000 ft (610 m) and 4,000 ft (1,219 m). Note this would indicate that the icing is picked up in the cloud. The remarks section says that light freezing rain was encountered in the cloud.
UACN10 CYXU 032133YZUA /OV YUX 09010 /TM 2120 /FL030 /TP C172 /TB MDT /RM MDT TURB BLO 050 CYKF CYXU
Routine message from London Ontario, issued at 2133 UTC on the 3rdThe Flight Information Region is TorontoThe aircraft was 10 nautical miles (18.5 km) east (090 degrees true) of the London VOR at 2120 UTC. The aircraft was at 3,000 ft (914 m) and was a
Cessna 172. The pilot reported moderate turbulence. Then in remarks went on to say that the turbulence was below 5,000 ft (1,524 m) between Kitchener/Waterloo and London.
In the US,
Air Traffic Controllers are required to solicit PIREPs upon request of other facilities or pilots, or when any of the following conditions exists or is forecast in their area:
*Ceilings at or below 5,000 feet
*Visibility at or less than 5 miles
Thunderstorms and related phenomena
Turbulenceof moderate degree or greater
*Icing of light degree or greater
Braking Actionreports (if fair or less)
At least once hourly, terminal controllers must obtain a descent/climb-out PIREP, including cloud information and other related phenomena.
AMDAR-- aircraft meteorological data relay -- is a WMO FM-42 code for an automatic meteorological report from an aircraft.
AIREP-- one aircraft report encoded according to the AFMAN manual 15-124 pages 32 through 35.
ACARS-- Aircraft Communication Addressing and Reporting System
* RECCO -- Reconnaissance Observation
* [http://www.faa.gov/airports_airtraffic/air_traffic/publications/atpubs/FSS/fss0902.html FAA Pilot Weather Report]
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