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COVID-19 FAQs - UK aviation - forecast product changes

Questions

  1. What products are changing?
  2. Why are you making these changes?
  3. Will TAFs become less accurate if they are issued less frequently?
  4. Why can't I see an updated TAF?
  5. What product can I use to brief on instead of GAMETs?
  6. There is significant weather at my airfield, why has no warning been issued?
  7. I'm a balloonist - why can I only see parts of the site specific forecasts?
  8. For how long will these changes apply?
  9. Who do I contact if I have an enquiry or complaint?

Answers

1. What products are changing?

The Met Office are implementing the following changes, with effect from midday on Thursday 23 April:

  • Suspension of all GAMET forecasts.
  • Suspension of all Gatwick Take of Data forecasts.
  • Suspension of Aerodrome warnings for certain airfields used by General Aviation (except for those supporting helicopter emergency services).
  • Routinely issuing the 9 hour TAFs every 6 hours, instead of every 3 hours. (Details of aerodromes for which 9 hour TAFs are issued can be found in the UK AIP, GEN 3.5, Meteorological Services, Paragraph 4.7.9)
  • Partial suspension of the information produced by meteorologists contained in ballooning forecasts. Automated information will continue to be provided but rotors, lee waves, inversions, sea breeze activity and outlook, and summary information which is produced by meteorologists will be suspended.

2. Why are you making these changes?

We recognise that the current situation is likely to be prolonged, so we are using our established business continuity plans to prioritise the most important and urgent activities which help keep people and their interests safe and the UK operating. These products form part of the Met Office aviation forecasts that are provided on behalf of the UK Civil Aviation Authority.

In response to current government legislation and its restrictions on General Aviation, and to assist the Met Office’s work carried out on behalf of central government in providing support to emergency services and local resilience responders, the CAA has requested that the Met Office implements these temporary changes.

3. Will TAFs become less accurate if they are issued less frequently?

There is no anticipated impact on TAF quality. Trained meteorologists will continue to maintain a continuous weather watch over all airports for which TAFs are issued, and TAFs may still be amended at any time if the weather, surface visibility or cloud is expected to differ significantly from that forecast.

4. Why can't I see an updated TAF?

During this period, TAFs valid for up to 9 hours will be issued at 0200, 0800, 1400 & 2000 UTC. They will therefore not be routinely issued at 0500, 1100, 1700 & 2300 UTC.

5. What product can I use to brief on instead of GAMETs?

The Met Office continue to provide UK low level significant weather forecast charts for aviators (commonly known as ‘F215’) every 6 hours. These forecasts provide a graphical depiction of the GAMET forecasts, and continue to be freely available on the Aviation Briefing Service.

6. There is significant weather at my airfield, why has no warning been issued?

A list of airfields that will be issued with warnings of significant weather is provided in the following PDF:

7. I’m a balloonist – why can I only see parts of the site specific forecasts?

The Met Office provides site specific ballooning forecasts for about 80 UK locations. Some of the forecast elements are generated automatically using model data whilst other parts are written by meteorologists. The automated elements continue to be produced whilst the forecaster generated elements have been temporarily suspended.

8. For how long will these changes apply?

CAA will keep these temporary changes under review and will advise the Met Office on when to revert these changes.

9. Who do I contact if I have an enquiry or complaint?

Any concerns regarding this should be raised with the CAA, please email metauthority@caa.co.uk

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