Which airports in the UK have Met personnel?

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QSI583
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Which airports in the UK have Met personnel?

#1 Post by QSI583 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:07 pm

Hi. A simple question, could someone let me know, either here, or via pm, which airports in the UK actually have Met Office personnel? Thanks!

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Re: Which airports in the UK have Met personnel?

#2 Post by Ex-Ascot » Tue Aug 14, 2018 10:02 am

Interesting question. Need a current UK pilot or ATCO. Certainly the main ones. For the record all Royal Air Force flying bases, in the world actually.
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Re: Which airports in the UK have Met personnel?

#3 Post by CharlieOneSix » Tue Aug 14, 2018 1:57 pm

I'm too long retired to answer that question but I remember many years ago when the forecasters were moved from Aberdeen (EGPD) to somewhere in town about 7 miles away. On some days at EGPD you could see the haar starting to roll in unforecast towards the airfield from the North Sea but until someone phoned the forecasters the TAF never got amended as there wasn't much to see out of an office in town where the weather remained clear.

Incidentally, welcome to the forum QSI! :-h
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Re: Which airports in the UK have Met personnel?

#4 Post by QSI583 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 2:39 pm

Many thanks for the welcome! I have a youngster who would like to train as a forecaster, so I am wondering where, if they were successful, they would end up living.

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Re: Which airports in the UK have Met personnel?

#5 Post by Alisoncc » Tue Aug 14, 2018 2:59 pm

Ex-Ascot wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 10:02 am
For the record all Royal Air Force flying bases, in the world actually.
And they are getting to be in short supply nowadays. Serving during the cold war had some unnerving moments, but the sixties were the heyday for RAF postings. There were 'undreds of them all over. Magic.

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Re: Which airports in the UK have Met personnel?

#6 Post by Fox3WheresMyBanana » Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:23 pm

Well, you might always have a met man on an RAF base, but as to how much use they were..

I recall bimbling over to the met office with my nav about 10 minutes prior to normal met brief for a briefing as we'd just been given some top priority, double-secret something-or-other. He gave us the spiel about occasional showers but mostly clear. We were standing there in greatcoats and SD hats with visible snow on top, looking through the window behind him at the blizzard outside.
"Right, I'll follow you back." he announced on completion, picked up his slides and made for the door
"Don't you want your coat?"
"What for?"

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Re: Which airports in the UK have Met personnel?

#7 Post by Spitoon » Sat Oct 19, 2019 7:42 pm

I'm long out of operational work but I don't think any civil airports in the UK have MetO personnel on site any more. 25 years ago, maybe a bit more, MetO observers were starting to be replaced by ATC staff who did obs as a secondary task. Forecasters were withdrawn from many airfields around the same time, usually to centralised regional forecasting offices, and undoubtedly the quality of TAFs went down in challenging and marginal conditions.

As I understand it, these days, automated observing stations are doing most of the work at many airports, with the data validated by someone in ATC. And during quiet periods (read that as when there are lower ATC staffing levels), I understand the observations are not checked by a human at all (METARS suffixed with 'AUTO', I think).

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Re: Which airports in the UK have Met personnel?

#8 Post by Pontius Navigator » Sun Oct 20, 2019 11:00 am

Ex-Ascot wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 10:02 am
Interesting question. Need a current UK pilot or ATCO. Certainly the main ones. For the record all Royal Air Force flying bases, in the world actually.
On Ascension when I was there (from Coningsby) we had an observer and a forecaster from Coningsby and a forecaster from Cardiff, there were 3 others but on different shifts.

Forecasts for the USAF MAC flight was provided from Patrick AFB but the crews always came to us.

Fox, problem with your UK forecast was the Command Forecast arrived at by consensus. We learnt to ask the question "what do you think?"

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Re: Which airports in the UK have Met personnel?

#9 Post by Ex-Ascot » Mon Oct 21, 2019 5:42 am

Didn't realise that the Met office had moved from Bracknell. I believe that all British military flying bases still have met officers. I think that civilian airports have automatic observation posts probably fed to the Met office and they do the TAFs from there. Anyway, just stick in a PROB30 TEMPO and you can't go wrong.
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Re: Which airports in the UK have Met personnel?

#10 Post by Spitoon » Mon Oct 21, 2019 7:31 pm

I think that civilian airports have automatic observation posts probably fed to the Met office and they do the TAFs from there.
MetO people just get the METARs - well, that certainly used to be the case. Occasionally a forecaster would telephone the airport to get a bit more detail from the observer (in the days when observers were human) or someone at the airport would phone the forecast office to mention that there was a bit of shallow fog or whatever about but not mentioned in the TAF.

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