Tuesday, February 16, 2016

POMAR Code

 POMAR Code,  n.
"A code (part synoptic code and part aviation operations) in which certain observable meteorological elements and certain aircraft data are encoded and transmitted from transport aircraft."
It was the word 'synoptic' that got me interested in POMAR. It has the same word root as 'synopsis,' and bears a similar meaning. Ironically, instead of pertaining to or constituting a synopsis; taking a general (broad) view of  a subject synoptic in this use is very specific. It means relating to or displaying conditions of the atmosphere or weather as they exist concurrently over an area. It was to be the language of in-flight weather reporting. What on Earth does that have to do with radio?

Since the April of 1947, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has managed SARPs (Standards And Recommended Practices) for aviation radio. It contains standards for how data will be summarized in these transmissions:  Height data will be plotted in hundreds of feet, wind speed in knots,  icing data will be entered in standardized abbreviations. Etc. POMAR was their project, and POMAR supposedly stood for (Hourly Aircraft Position Report and Weather Observations)

POMAR goes back to their earliest days.  They adopted POMAR in 1948, effective in 1949. In the late 1940s, Regional Air Navigation teams met to discuss it's use in the field. In 1952 ARMET/ ARFOT code between meteorological offices was suspended. (It's was still used in other applications) That same year, the Meteorological Committee of South American/South Atlantic Regional Air Navigation edorsed the same change "Reports shall normally be sent in the POMAR Code, but Q Code may be used..."

But by 1959 the ICAO changed their mind. They decided to recommend the discontinuance of the POMAR code in view of the fact that radiotelegraphy, for which this code was primarily intended, was being used very little for air-to-ground communications. the IACO went on to developed a plain language version which they dubbed AIREP.