WX Check FAQ
Why would I want to use the WxCheck program?
It’s a quick easy organized way to perform several of your preflight checks. In addition to a quick read on the weather you also have 3 related internet sites pre-loaded into the user defined pages. This is kind of like having 3 home pages loaded for you at startup.
Where do you get the weather information?
The weather information used on the Current Tab is taken from METARs decoded and downloaded from the internet. This is the same information you are using today from NOAA’s National Weather Service Aviation Digital Data Service.
How do I get the information?
A standard internet connection is required.
How do I get WxCheck on a CD?
Sorry, at the moment it’s only available by download.
OK, I tried the Trial Version, I liked it and bought a Product Key.
How do I enter the key to make the Trial message go away?
Click on the Help menu and Select Register. You will get a form that allows the key to be entered. Once the Key is entered you will no longer get the Trial message and the product will not expire.
Where does the Forecast come from?
The information displayed on the Forecast Tab is taken from NOAA’s National Weather Service Meteorological Development Lab. http://www.nws.noaa.gov/mdl/synop/products.shtml
This web site describes this product as follows: “Model Output Statistics (MOS) is a technique used to objectively interpret numerical model output and produce site-specific guidance. “
The presentation here is similar to the presentation of the METAR, however keep in mind that this is a forecast and should not be confused with the METAR historical observations.
What airport data is in the airport data base?
The airport data base contains METAR stations from around the world. The domestic US commercial airports also contain runway and elevation information. The runway data is used to calculate both headwind and crosswind components based on runway heading. The elevation data is used to calculate pressure and density altitudes.
At this time we don’t have runway information for stations outside the US, but WxCheck provides pages that allow this information to be added or updated.
PLEASE NOTE: This airport data is supplied “as-is”. No flight planning should be based on this data. We make no representation about the accuracy or completeness of this information.
Can I update the Airport Data base?
Yes, There are screens provided to allow update of the Airport/METAR station information. Stations can be added, changed or deleted. An ‘Alternate METAR’ station may also be defined. If an airport of interest doesn’t have automated METARs you can define a nearby station to be used as an alternate source of METAR data. This alternate could be used to calculate local headwind and crosswind.
Some METARs are created by hand, how does WxCheck deal with these?
It does the best it can under the circumstances. Some information found in a METAR is just not predictable and therefore it can be difficult to deal with in a computer program. The latest METAR is always displayed in it’s raw format at the bottom of the Current page. There is also a “METARs” link at the bottom of the Current page that can be used to display all available METAR data. Sometimes you may just have to eyeball the raw numbers to get a good interpretation.
What system of measurement is used for non-US observations?
WxCheck was originally designed to deal with weather data from the US. Some effort has been made to present METARs from around the world. Some of this information can be in an unpredictable format (see the answer to the previous question).
An attempt is made to convert Visibility and Altitude data to miles and feet. Wind speed is converted to Miles Per Hour. Temperature and Dew point are both shown in both degrees Fahrenheit and Celsius.
Be careful to double check any of these weather values since, as is stated above, the format of this can be somewhat unpredictable.
OK, so how exactly do I use this software?
Well, there is a ton of weather information available here, but the quick answer is just start it up and check the colors. Green means go, red means stop.
Of course the complete weather picture is usually much more complex than that, but the colors give you a quick read on the overall conditions.
The first thing I see are the color codes. Then I look for trends on the graphs. Are conditions improving or degrading?
Then I’ll click a few pre-set buttons to cross-check the conditions at other local stations.
The next page, METARs, shows me the local METARs and TAFs for stations I’ve selected so I start to get a feel for the forecast.
The weather Forecast page gives me an idea of how conditions may change over the next few days. This must be treated as you would treat any forecast, but it is usually a good indicator of expected trends. The graphs give a nice high-level view of expected conditions and changing trends.
I have my first user-defined tab set to the Aviation Weather Center. I really like this web site. The map on the first page gives a nice read of conditions nationwide. The weather here in northern Virginia usually comes from the NNW so I use this map and it’s color coded dots to get a feel for what’s coming. Then I use the menu on the left side of this page to go through each element of Observations, Forecasts and Advisories.
I have the next user-defined tab set to the scheduling page at the local FBO. I use this to make reservations and to make sure the reserved aircraft is available.
The next Tab is set to the Duats home page. Here inside the DC ADIZ a flight plan is needed for every flight. I usually file using this Duats page.
The final page is the options tab. The options on this page are used to customize the other Tabs.
That’s the routine. I just start with the first tab and flip through each one. When I’m finished I have all the information I need, the aircraft is reserved and the flight plan is filed.