Understanding METAR

I can’t see any tutorials on understanding METAR so thought I would creat one and use my exisitng notes. I don’t seem to be able to create a Tutorial post though so this is in General and hopefully a mod can recategorise if necessary.

Part 1


Part 2


Part 3


Runway Selection After Reading METAR
It probably makes sense to add this little bit as well on runway selection since it ties in with the winds as shown in the METAR.


On Live the METAR information for an airport is usually in green text but can sometimes be blue or red, anybody know the reason for the different colours and what they represent?

The visibilty defines what colour the METAR message will show



Hi guys! this has been bothering me for a bit latly and i don’t know whats which so let me start it off for you…
Im flying towards KLAX the METAR for Visibility says its 10SM (Miles i believe) but my Cockpit Visibility chart is showing 32KM… Ive been confused on it ever since because 10SM should be 16KM then why is my Cockpit showing 32KM? Please some one help me on this and Thank You!

Weather might be different where you were flying than at KLAX.

Have a good day!

The weather IF doesn’t appear to update until you get extremely close to the next airport.

The weather you were actually experiencing in your aircraft was from another airport, whichever one you were last closest to.

I’ve noticed it not changing until on a short final on occasions.

Exactly I told you this already

The METAR visibility is the runway visibility at the relevant airport. It is how far you can see horizontally if you were stood on the runway. This is obviously going to differ from the visibility you may experience at altitude above the airfield and a few miles away.

While this is very helpful information could it be presented in a more simplified manner with explanation based specifically or exactly based on what appears in IFF?? Just trying to learn and understand.

You just gotta study METAR reports more :)

I’d suggest you to search for translated METAR reports ;)

The METAR in IF is the same format as I detailed above. In fact all METAR in real world follows the same format.

Is there any specific aspect you are unsure of?

I have to say how much I appreciate this chart it makes understanding the metar so much more easy,thanks. R

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Thanks everyone, I will take you’re advice. I have copied the information and plan to study each section ATK presented.

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Hello ATK just sharing information, I wanted to let you know I was doing a google search and found a website with a METAR decoder. I put in the information for the IFF airport and it gave me the information. I am still going to study what you have provided.

Yes there are such sites. However, it is more satisfying if you learn to read them yourself. No METAR decoders at 38,000ft ;)


I’ve been looking for this!!

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After years of “those numbers look nice!” I’ve just found this thread… very helpful! Thanks a lot @ATK!

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