The Federal Aviation Administration is installing eight new Automated Weather Observing System stations across Alaska to provide continuous, real-time weather data to pilots in the more remote areas of the state.
[Above photo by Dave Krause for the Alaska DOT&PF]
The new sites should be operational by October 2022, FAA said in a statement. The agency is adding those extra stations partly as the result of an 85-page report released by the FAA in October 2021 on how to increase aviation safety in Alaska.
That report made five primary recommendations, of which installing more AWOS stations ranked at the top of the list.
The agency added that aviation safety is “especially important” to rural and tribal communities across Alaska, as 82 percent of them are only accessible only by air.
The eight new AWOS stations will be located in Akiachak, Coldfoot, Crooked Creek, Kotlik, Nulato, Perryville, Tok Junction and Tununak. Weather information from these locations gives all pilots a preview of what to expect when arriving, and allows Instrument Flight Rule pilots to conduct instrument approaches to the lowest possible minimums, increasing the safety and predictability of operations.
The FAA and National Weather Service currently manage nearly 132 similar weather systems in Alaska.