INFORMATION SERVICE AND DIGITAL ATIS
The automatic terminal information service (ATIS) is
another valuable tool for gaining weather information. ATIS
is available at most airports that have an operating control
tower, which means the reports on the ATIS frequency are
only available during the regular hours of tower operation.
At some airports that operate part-time towers,ASOS/AWSS
information is broadcast over the ATIS frequency when the
tower is closed. This service is available only at those airports
that have both an ASOS/AWSS on the field and an
ATIS-ASOS/AWSS interface switch installed in the tower.
Each ATIS report includes crucial information about runways
and instrument approaches in use, specific outages,
and current weather conditions including visibility.
Visibility is reported in statute miles and may be omitted
if the visibility is greater than five miles. ATIS weather
information comes from a variety of sources depending
on the particular airport and the equipment installed there.
The reported weather may come from a manual weather
observer, weather instruments located in the tower, or
from automated weather stations. This information, no
matter the origin, must be from National Weather Service
approved weather sources for it to be used in the ATIS
The digital ATIS (D-ATIS) is an alternative method of
receiving ATIS reports. The service provides text messages
to aircraft, airlines, and other users outside the
standard reception range of conventional ATIS via
landline and data link communications to the cockpit.
Aircraft equipped with data link services are capable of
receiving ATIS information over their Aircraft
Communications Addressing and Reporting System
(ACARS) unit. This allows the pilots to read and print out
the ATIS report inside the aircraft, thereby increasing
report accuracy and decreasing pilot workload.
Also, the service provides a
message that can be transmitted
to all aircraft within range
of existing transmitters. The
Terminal Data Link System
(TDLS) D-ATIS application
uses weather inputs from
local automated weather
sources or manually entered
meteorological data together
with preprogrammed menus
to provide standard information
to users. Airports with DATIS
capability are listed in
It is important to remember that ATIS information is
updated hourly and anytime a significant change in the
weather occurs. As a result, the information is not the
most current report available. Prior to departing the airport,
you need to get the latest weather information from
the tower. ASOS/AWSS and AWOS also provide a source
of current weather, but their information should not be
substituted for weather reports from the tower.