The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has started installing technology across Alaska to provide weather conditions to pilots before they take to the skies.
Eight new Automated Weather Observing Systems (AWOS) will provide continuous, real-time and accurate weather information on remote areas of Alaska. The sites, recommended by the Alaska aviation community, should be operational by October 2022.
“We heard from the Alaska aviation community that they need more real-time weather information to operate safely, and we are delivering on the commitment we made to provide that,” said FAA Administrator Steve Dickson.
The eight new 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.
Last fall, the FAA released recommendations to increase safety in Alaska after a yearlong, sweeping examination of safety challenges specific to flying in the state. The Alaska aviation community repeatedly told the FAA that additional weather information for pilots was necessary.
Aviation safety is especially important to rural and Tribal communities in Alaska, 82% of which are only accessible only by air.
The FAA and National Weather Service currently manage nearly 132 similar weather systems in Alaska.