What is a GARFOR

This idea is based on the graphical ARFOR Greg Reeve of MetService produces as part of his daily briefing to the crews at Ohakea Air Force Base.

The idea is to take the Met information you have gathered, whether you have put it into tables or not, and turn it into a picture.

Treat it like you are putting a briefing package together for your flight. Start with the big picture stuff and work your way down to the local area information and reports.

You take the ARFORs and the TAFs and start filling in a picture of what you might expect to see.

You can enter:

  • the wind at altitude,
  • the surface winds,
  • your minimum safe heights,
  • the cloud base, tops and type,
  • any present weather, and
  • SIGMETs.

There are lots of symbols to represent weather and cloud, just select which one you want, where to put it, and move it around if you need to. The wind is depicted graphically so you can easily see its direction and speed.

Initially it might be useful to practise drawing these GARFORs for one location over time, but being able to draw them for your intended flight would be really useful – a Flt-GARFOR.

Just remember you won’t always get them right – but you will never get them right if you don’t practise. If they’re not right, then this is an ideal opportunity to go and find out why. Perhaps the timings were wrong – an issue meteorologists work with every day, so don’t get too hung up on that – or significant weather events occurred and you didn’t see them coming?

We have an online version for those that that love tech toys, and for people who want a simple version, we have a template you can print off and draw on. Don’t worry about not being able to draw beautiful clouds, it is just a simple representation of the weather you might expect on your flight – and you’re the only one who will ever see it!


Above mean sea level


Towering Cumulus


above ground level



Flight Information Service communications


Air Traffic Service

Royal New Zealand Air Force

in vicinity of aerodrome Thunderstorm


Air Traffic Control


in vicinity of aerodrome








Routine air report from aircraft in flight


Flight Information Region

Internet Flight Information Service


Visual flight rules

Automatic Terminal Information Service


Basic weather report

New Zealand Flight Information Region

Aerodrome special routine meteorological report

Automatic aerodrome routine meteorological report

Aerodrome routine meteorological report


Aerodrome forecast

Area forecast

Significant meteorological information