Dave’s Airport METAR & TAF Reader

Dave’s Airport METAR & TAF Reader

Developer

Dave Jacobowitz

Languages

English (US)

Activation Phrases

"Alexa, start airport weather"
"Alexa, ask airport weather to read the metar at kilo echo whiskey romeo"
"Alexa, ask airport weather to get the atis at Cincinnati"

Description

This skill obtains airport weather data and reads it aloud. For observations (METARS) the format matches that of airport ATIS. The data comes from http://www.aviationweather.gov.

!!! PILOTS — This is NOT a source for a legal weather briefing! Get the OFFICAL weather before launching !!!

The content of METARs and ATIS, though similar, are not the same. This skill translates the METAR data to be as like ATIS as possible. ICAO aviation phonetics are used and wind directions are magnetic-north referenced. ATIS often contains airport-specific information not present in METARs. Pilots, this skill is not a substitute for real ATIS!

There is no standard “out loud” format for TAFs. The skill just does its best to present the forecast clearly.

There are two ways to specify the station. The first is by three or four letter ICAO airport identifier. If you only provide three letters, the skill assumes you are referencing a US airport by prepending prepends a ‘K’. You can specify any airport worldwide by providing all four letters. The letters must be provided using ICAO phonetics. (goo.gl/kQKUKL)

The second approach is by city name. Unfortunately, my database of city names is limited. If your city does not have a large airport, it may not be in the database. If your city name is common, you can try including the state and/or country. If your city name is unique, do NOT include the state or country. I’m experimenting with how best to disambiguate cities of the same name. I’m open to suggestions.

There are some interesting additional features you can try:

– Get the TAF like this:

“Alexa, ask airport to get the forecast for kilo juliet foxtrot kilo”
“Alexa, ask airport to get the taf for Houston”

– Get the Zulu time, like this:

“Alexa, ask airport weather to report zulu time”

– set a preferred compass reference for METARs:

“Alexa, ask airport weather to set wind reference to magnetic” or
“Alexa, ask airport weather to set wind reference to true”

(Real ATIS is ALWAYS magnetically referenced. TAF is always true.)

– set a preferred visibility unit:

“Alexa, ask airport weather to set visibility to miles”
“Alexa, ask airport weather to set visibility to kilometers”

In kilometer mode, the visibility report will be say “kilometers” (or “meters” if less than 1 km). In miles mode, no unit is stated.

– set a preferred altimeter unit unit:

“Alexa, ask airport weather to set altimeter to inches” or
“Alexa, ask airport weather to set altimeter to millibar”

When in millibar mode, the altimeter reading will be prefaced by “QNH”. In inches mode, no units will be stated.

– set a default temperature unit:

“Alexa, ask airport weather to set temperature to Fahrenheit” or
“Alexa, ask airport weather to set temperature to Celsius”

Real ATIS/METAR is ALWAYS in Celsius. In Fahrenheit mode, the skill will add “Fahrenheit” to the readback.

– default airport:

Saying the complete ICAO identifier gets tedious. You can save time with a default airport. First, use the app, specifying an airport as usual. Once it has worked, issue the following command:

“Alexa, ask airport weather to set local airport.”

The most recent SUCCESSFULLY read station will become the default. From that point forward you can say:

“Alexa, ask airport weather for the local station” or
“Alexa, ask airport weather for the default station”

The stored default airport will be used.

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