Tag Archives: VFR

Nice improvement for the maps

Maps improved thanks to pilot comments.

Some of you had asked to see color coded icons on the map based on flight conditions at the moment.
We’ve done just that!

Now, when you visit one of our maps, you’ll see the nearby airports (alternates) icon color based on weather conditions at the time you requested the METAR.

The color code is the same as explained here.

The icons are as follows:

  • VFR flying conditions
  • Marginal VFR flying conditions
  • IFR flying conditions
  • Limited IFR flying conditions

How do you see these maps?

On the Airport Information section of every METAR page, you have the airport’s ICAO and IATA codes, the current time, its coordinates (with a link to the map), its Sunrise and Sunset times. Just below this information you have a Google map showing a satellite image of the airport (except for US users who get the SkyVector version)

Clicking on the Google map will take you to a bigger map showing the nearby alternates, now with color coded icons.
US visitors will have to use the map link  below the ICAO and IATA codes, or click on the coordinates of the airport in the same section.

We sure hope you’ll enjoy this improvement and, again, want to THANK all of  YOU for visiting us, and specially those that send us suggestions (through comments on this blog or the FeedBack form)

We’re excited with Flight condition Statistics

By now, you should know we’ve been working on metar statistics (there are 3 other posts, or so)

The fact  is that lots of information can be gathered from METARs through time (temperature, wind, dew point and cloud base profiles…)
At one point, we were even asked to evaluate forecast reliability (through METAR-TAF difference)

But for now, we elected to keep it simple and monitor how much an aiport is in VFR conditions.

My initial intention was for the stranger pilot to be able to get an idea of how ‘bad’ an airport could be in a particular month, or time of day.
So we started saving flight condition statistics back on Dec the 1st, 2008. So far, we’ve stored over 30 Million flight condition reports !!!

Well, let me tell you that we’ve found database and server load challenges… But we’ve kept up.

And recenlty, we’ve started to analyze whether all of that storage made any sense. Let me show you…

Below we have a chart for LELL flight condition statistics from Dec’08 to Jun’09:

LELL flight condition statistics
LELL flight condition statistics

Here you can easily see what a nice airport LELL (Sabadell in Spain) is to fly to in VFR conditions:
The percentage represents the number of VFR, MVFR, IFR or LIFR METAR reports (according to this flight conditions definition)
On the horizontal axis you have each month (with time of day inside). So we can see that back in February, the morning and night METAR reports had less VFR conditions than those around noon. You can also see that the closer you get to the summer months, the more VFR conditions existing at LELL.

Let’s see what this looks like at the famous low visibility LIMC (Milano Malpensa in Italy):

Flight condition statistics at LIMC
Flight condition statistics at LIMC

What a difference!

Here, we can see that back in the December-January period on average only about 40% of the METARs where reporting VFR conditions.
Here too, the closer we get to summer time, the better it gets.

What we see seems now worth the time and effort we put into gathering statistics.

We’re not quite ready to share this sort of reports with the general public, but have started working on it.

As usual, please let us know how you like it.