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Pilot feedback sought on automated weather reporting systems around Alaska

Colleen Mondor

When it comes to determining accurate en route and destination weather conditions, Alaska pilots depend heavily on the state's network of automated surface weather observations. The stations, operated by the Federal Aviation Administration, are known as Automated Weather Observing Systems, or AWOS. For many locations, pilots rely almost exclusively on the data from AWOS stations to make fly/no-fly decisions.

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association notes on its regional page this month that the FAA Surveillance and Broadcast Systems program, which is responsible for implementing ADS-B and other technologies, is looking for feedback concerning the effectiveness of 20 recently installed AWOS stations.

These stations are part of the "systems solution" that has been urged by aviation user groups as the most effective way to reduce aircraft accidents in Alaska. Like expanded use of ADS-B, building more AWOS stations is only one part of achieving safety goals for the state but no one will know how truly effective these stations are without hearing from pilots who use them.

The stations (with their four letter identifiers) include:

• Barter Island/PABA
• Brevig Mission/PFKT
• Chevak/PAVA
• Clarks Point/PFCL 
• Elim/PFEL
• False Pass/PAKF
• Galena/PAGA
• Kiana/PAIK
• Kwethluk/PFKW
• Napakiak/PANA
• Noorvik/PFNO
• Nunapitchuk/PPIT
• Quinhagak/PAQH
• Shageluk/PAHX
• Shaktoolik/PFSH
• Shugnak/PAGH
• South Naknek/PFWS
• Teller/PATE
• Wales/PAIW
• White Mountain/PAWM

If you have any thoughts on these stations, please provide feedback to:

Jim Wright, Sr. Systems Engineer
Surveillance and Broadcast Services (AJM-232)
Lockheed Martin Corporation
1873 Shell Simmons Drive, Suite 110
Juneau, AK 99801

Phone: 907-790-7316 

Email: jim.ctr.wright@faa.gov 

AOPA also asks that, if possible, a copy of your comments be forwarded to them as well: airtrafficservices@aopa.org.

Contact Colleen Mondor at colleen@alaskadispatch.com.