The seven sections of an ATIS broadcast

July, 23, 2021 by

There are seven sections of an ATIS broadcast, and it helps to be able to distinguish between the different portions. This broadcast will be our example, from an ATIS published at Arturo Merino (SCEL):

Arturo Merino airport, ATIS information CHARLIE, time 0635 ZULU, Wind 140 at 4 Visibility 21, Temperature 16, Dew Point 6, QNH 1012. Remarks, use of Departure and Arrival procedures recommended. Landing Runway 17L and 17R, Departing Runway 17L and 17R. Recommended Arrival Procedures, ASIM5D, EROL5F, UMKA5C. Notams, aircraft size restrictions in effect. Advise on initial contact, you have information CHARLIE.

Now we’ll break down this broadcast into seven sections:

Section 1: Arturo Merino airport, ATIS information CHARLIE, time 0635 ZULU

The first section is very basic. It provides the airport name, the ATIS information alphanumeric letter associated with the information, and the time of when this ATIS was published.

Section 2: Wind 140 at 4 Visibility 21, Temperature 16, Dew Point 6, QNH 1012.

The next section is the weather information. The wind direction (wind is blowing at 4knts at a heading of 140), visibility (21sm), and the temperature is in degrees Celsius (as it is the international standard). The dew point and QNH are not applicable in Infinite Flight at this time. QNH is a pressure setting you dial into your altimeter to produce the height above sea level, and there is no altimeter in Infinite Flight.

Section 3: Remarks, use of Departure and Arrival procedures recommended.

This section, known as the remarks section, is important to follow to avoid violations. The remarks are handpicked by the controller staffing the airport, and these must be followed.

In this case, the controller is recommending the pilots to apply SIDs/STARs to their flight plan, but not requiring them to do so. In the case that there are no remarks, this section will not appear in an ATIS.

You can read more about Remarks in section 4.2 of the ATC Manual.

Section 4: Landing Runway 17L and 17R, Departing Runway 17L and 17R.

Runways in use are displayed here. These must be always followed, unless
otherwise instructed by ATC.

Section 5: Recommended Arrival Procedures, ASIM5D, EROL5F, UMKA5C.

This section states which SIDs and/or STARs are currently in effect, chosen by the controllers staffing the airport. Make sure to apply them to your flight plan before contacting ATC.

Section 6: Notams, aircraft size restrictions in effect.

There are three NOTAMs which ATC can select depending on the conditions:

  • Event in progress, expect delays
  • aircraft size restrictions in effect
  • low visibility, use caution

You can read more about NOTAMS in section 4.2 of the ATC Manual.

Section 7: Advise on initial contact, you have information CHARLIE.

The final section of the ATIS broadcast just repeats the current information alphanumeric letter. Once you tune in to the ATIS frequency, the system will automatically take that and add “information Charlie” to your future ATC messages. For example, if you were to request pushback it would say “N623KB, ready for pushback with information Charlie”.

Once you are able distinguish between those sections you may find it easier to comprehend the information and it may make it easier for you to anticipate when specific information will be said when you read the ATIS.

Muhammad A. is a contributor for the IFATC Education Group and an IFATC Specialist. He is also the founder of LOT Virtual, and enjoys basic coding in his free time.