Ever since the first certified Automated Weather Observing System (AWOS) was installed over 25 years ago these systems have provided invaluable information to pilots, meteorologists, and flight dispatchers to monitor weather conditions, prepare forecasts, and plan flight routes. As the FAA states, “Since the early days of aviation, the taking and dissemination of surface aviation observations has been an essential function for safe and efficient flight. The cost of personnel and material limits the availability of (weather) stations and it has been increasingly practical to automate many observing functions. The need for additional weather sources spurred production of several automated systems, one of which is the AWOS.” Over the years the total number of AWOS systems installed in the field has grown to well over 1,000; however, it has become increasingly difficult to install new AWOS equipment due to reduced funding, stricter cost/benefit analysis requirements by the FAA, and VHF frequency congestion.
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