Decoding Pilot Reports (PIREPS)

What is a PIREP?

In short, a PIREP is a Pilot Report of actual weather conditions being reported while in-flight. Pilots use this information to further enhance their weather knowledge for their ongoing flight.

Lets decode this example to fully understand what is included in a PIREP:

LEX UA /OV HYK220030/TM 2111/FL140/TP PC12/TB MOD CHOP 140-110/RM SMOOTH BELOW

  • LEX- This is the Center ID. In this example it happens to be Lexington.

  • UA- Tells the pilot that the pilot report is a routine report. If the report includes UUA in lou of UA this informs the pilot that the report is of the urgent nature.

  • /OV HYK220030- OV represents the location or position that you are that you are making the PIREP from/over. A NAVAID or an airport using the 3 or 4 letter identifier is used to represent the location. In this example, the Lexington VOR identifier is HYK.
    –The first 3 digits following the identifier is the radial or direction the aircraft is to the NAVAID. 220 would mean the aircraft was on the 220 radial of the Lexington VOR.
    –The second set of 3 digits represent the distance the aircraft is from the NAVAID. In this example, 030 or 30 nautical miles (nm) from the VOR. With that information, we have an idea that the report was taken just west of Junction City near Powell Airport.

  • /TM 2111- TM represents the time at which the pilot report was created. In this case it was at 2111Z. The time noted is in Zulu (UTC). If you are not familiar with your current UTC time, provided here, is a website for quick reference.

  • /FL140- FL stands for Flight Level or Altitude at which the report was conducted. The example we have informs us that the pilot report was observed at 14,000ft. If a pilot report was conducted at a flight lower than 10,000ft. you may notice the format look a bit different. Example: FL065. This is the equivalent to 6,500ft. The three digits following “FL” are in hundreds of feet.

  • /TP PC12- TP represents the Type of aircraft that the report was conducted from. Here we can see that this was a Pilatus PC12. A maximum of 4 digits is permitted. Some examples include B737, E75L, C172, CRJ9, just to name a few. A good place for quick reference on type designators can be found here.


  • /WVxxxXXX- Although not included in this example WV better remembered as Wind Velocity, is in a similar format to /OV. The first 3 digits is the direction the wind is coming from. The second set of 3 digits represents the wind speed.

  • /TB MOD CHOP 140-110 - TB represents Turbulance. Here, we can see that moderate chop was observed from 14,000ft. down to 11,000ft. Only standard contractions for the type and intensity should be used. Some examples include: CAT (Clear Air Turbulence), EXTRM (Extreme), SEV (Severe), MOD (Moderate), LGT (Light), and OCNL (Occasional)

  • /RM SMOOTH BELOW- RM represents Remarks. The remarks section is an area to clarify the report further if needed. All hazardous weather conditions or elements should be listed first. From the example, the pilot noted that the ride from 11,000ft. down, the ride was smooth and nothing should be of concern. This is not a place for you to note interesting sightings you may have seen on your flight.

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This will be useful for VAs as well as general flights :) awesome topic :)

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You never fail to impress me with your tutorials. Such high quality and obvious time spent. Always learn something new. Thank you for your contributions!

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See attached topic for all of your reporting needs.

In this example, he’s flying over Junction City so there would definitely NOT be anything worth reporting.

Nice location for an example though!

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So that’s how you read those… I just pass them along lol

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This is so cool! I kind of knew how to read Metars, but this is explained so well. Can, a pilot do a PIREP anytime during their flight? Thanks for the tutorial!

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Yes they can. You can even create a PIREP for weather you may encounter while on approach. Ex. Low Level Wind Shear (LLWS)

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Good to know, thanks for the tutorial DeerCrusher!

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I have a question: how do we in Infinite Flight know the difference between light, moderate, severe, extreme turbulence, and, clear air turbulence, as all turbulence in IF looks like CAT? Or would you right “MOD CAT” for example?

Hey there!

This might help in providing some sort of guidance on the classification of turbulence intensity. Let me know if this answers your question. 🙂

-Matt

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A great tutorial on PIREPs.
Also bumping (excuse the unintended pun) this up because of the new update and now that turbulence is back, pilots who want to warn others of turbulence on the forum can learn how to decode and write a PIREP, and do so on the reporting thread below:

very informative and on point !

thank you fro sharing.

Nice tutorial!!