Is there a technique anyone has to make it easier to give PIREPs (mnemonics, etc?) I'd like to be able to give them while I fly but I can never find the expected format handy, so it ends up being a hassle. If there's a trick anyone has to make it easy to give one, please share!
- Who you are:
Cherokee 1234A, a P28A
- Where you are:
10 miles north of La Belle VOR, altitude 6000 feet
- Build your own "METAR":
Five minutes ago (time) wind aloft 230 @ 24 (wind) imc (visibility) medium turbulence (weather phenomena) broken clouds at my altitude, clear below (cloud cover) temperature 10 degrees (temperature)
There might be a way to exactly meet the form the controller needs to write it down, but this works fine and you have a fluent and well structured report.
PIREPs have no required format other than the identifying information: Location, Time, Altitude, and Aircraft Type. Other than that, you can call in any number of weather elements as a PIREP. I often call in nothing but winds aloft and temperature, simply because I know those are more difficult for the weather service to measure.
AOPA SkySpotter provides a nice flash card for recalling the various items, but there's no mnemonic provided. If you're interested in giving the most complete PIREP possible, I'd suggest following the same format as an ATIS broadcast: wind, visibility, clouds, precip, and then touching on any other relevant information such as temperature or turbulence.
All in all, though, the most important thing about PIREPs is that you give them. The briefer or controller who takes your report will be able to format it properly if you give the elements out of order...they're just happy to get it at all.
The technique I have is to just call up ATC and ask if they've got time for "a quick PIREP". If I'm giving a PIREP I'm almost always either on flight following or IFR, in which case they already have my aircraft type; from there, I give a brief report with the items I want to provide. It usually looks something like this:
Cessna 321AB: Seattle Center, Cessna 321AB... I've got a PIREP for you if you have a moment.
ZSE: Cessna 1AB, go ahead.
Cessna 321AB: Ok... over CLM at 7500, five minutes ago, the winds aloft were 280 at 20, temperature 39, clear below.
ZSE: Cessna 1AB, got it. Thank you.
I never worry about order, and I've never gotten yelled at by ATC or Flight Service.
As an aside, if it's crazy windy aloft with lots of changes per altitude, I'll give ATC winds almost always. If there's icing conditions or below-freezing temps, I will always provide a PIREP. They don't get into the system often enough and if you treat it casually and provide just the relevant info for the day (if it's clear, don't tell them this) you're doing everybody a great service.