NavCanada offers quite a bit of weather related services in addition to their regular air traffic control duties.

One of the features that I’ve started using is called PATWAS or Pilot’s Automated Telephone Weather Answering Service. PATWAS allows you to get a “poor mans” weather briefing over the telephone by having an automated system read you METARs, TAFs, SIGMETs, and other weather related data.

You can specify a single airport, or all the airports along your route, and it will read out all the necessary information. One other feature you can use is the ability to get the information sent to you via fax. Handy if you are not near a computer and want a hard copy of all the weather data.

The NavCanada Aviation Weather Services manual has instructions on how to use PATWAS. One thing it doesn’t mention is the ability for you to “say” airport codes instead of having to remember the special 6 digit code for each aerodrome. For example. If you want the weather for Buttonville (YKZ), you can say “Yankee Kilo Zulu” instead of having to key in 93-52-99.

If you want to try it out, just call your local FIC, or 1-888-WXBRIEF, and selecting option “3”.

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