Accessing Aviation Weather Online After the Decommissioning of the AWWS Website

Written by: G. Alan Hepburn

The end of February 2024 marked the end of the Nav Canada Aviation Weather AWWS website that we have been using for many years.  It’s not clear why this change was made.  Perhaps the intent was to reduce costs or as has been recently shared cyber security issues.  The US aviation weather website also underwent a major revamp in September 2023, so if you plan a trip south of the border, you will have to become familiar with the changes there as well, but that is not the subject of this article.

Clicking the link to the old AWWS site, or going to takes you to the screen above, which gives you access a variety of information that was available on the old AWWS site.  From an aviation weather standpoint, we are primarily interested in “WEATHER” and “ASEP”.  More on “ASEP” later.  For the moment, just click “WEATHER”.  If you want to file a flight plan, you would click that button, and would have to log in, but if all you are interested is weather information, then a login is not required.  Since the Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) apps do a pretty good job on filing flight plans, I have seldom used this capability on the NavCanada website.

You will be presented with a screen where you can, among other things, “Enter Aerodrome, FIR, Navaid etc.”.  Below this, you can select the text and graphic products that you want to see.  This box behaves slightly differently for text weather and graphic weather.

For text weather, you will only get the text weather items that match the IDs you specify.  So, for example, if you want the TAFs for locations along your route, you will have to enter each aerodrome’s ID individually.  If your departure or destination airport does not have a particular report, and you want to see the report for a nearby airport that does, you will have to list that airport’s ID as well.  If, for example, your route is from Gatineau to Toronto City Centre, and your list only has CYND and CYTZ, you will get METARs and TAFs, but no winds aloft, since neither airport publishes these.  To get the textual winds aloft reports for Ottawa and Toronto International, you will have to add CYOW and CYYZ to your list.

For graphic weather, your list specifies your route, and you will get, for example, the radar images, the GFA, and the graphic winds aloft forecast relevant to this route.

I recommend that you omit NOTAMs from your list of reports.  If you select them, the list of NOTAMs presented is often impractically long.  This is a shortcoming that has been in need of fixing for several years.  In my experience, the best way to get a useful filtered list of relevant NOTAMs is to call a human being at the FIC.  He/she appears to have some way of filtering NOTAM information that is not generally available.

You will be presented with the reports you selected in a scrollable pane on the right side of the screen.  The site seems to work best with a PC.  If you are using an iPad, be sure to have it in landscape orientation.  This ensures that you will see as much of the graphic as possible, but on an iPad, unlike a PC, you won’t see it all.  If you then try, for example, to pan to the right side of the GFA to check its valid time, you will get into a situation where you can no longer scroll to your other reports.  The only way to get back to your scrollable list is to click the “up arrow” that appears somewhere on the graphic.  This makes using an iPad rather more awkward than using a PC.

For weather radar, you will most likely select the Regional of Individual echo tops.  As was the case on the AWWS site, both offer the ability to animate the presentation.  However, the animation does not seem nearly as fast as it was on the old site, to the extent that, when I first tried it, I concluded that it was not working.

Another source of graphic weather information on the old AWWS website was the so-called “ASEP Products” button.  This was particularly useful for IFR flight, as it had “Moisture Content” and “Icing” graphics not available elsewhere.  These are now available via the “ASEP” button on the top level menu above.  These graphics don’t seem to be subject to the same failings relating to the iPad that I discussed in the previous paragraph.  The “LIVE RVR” and “WEATHER CAMERAS” buttons are pretty well intuitive.

Since the EFB apps have not yet gotten around to providing graphic weather reports for Canada (other than weather radar), the SPACES site is now about the only source of aviation graphic weather reports, so it behoves pilots to become familiar with the site.