Airport weather observation system upgrade planned

OKEECHOBEE — Okeechobee County plans to use grant funding to upgrade the weather observation system at the county airport.

At their Dec. 26 meeting, the county commissioners authorized the chairman to execute the Public Transportation Grant Agreement (PTGA) between Okeechobee County and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) for the Okeechobee County Airport Navaid improvement.

The county commission approved up to a $50,000 Airport Capital Improvement expenditure for fiscal year 2020-21 with funds provided from FDOT District One Aviation Department PTGA for a 10% match to the FAA portion anticipated to be received in September 2020.

The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) portion is 90 percent of the $400,000 project.

According to the staff report, this project will upgrade the automated weather observation system (AWOS) with a new AWOS III. The current system is well beyond its useful life, with the maintenance and operation expenses averaging approximately $11,000 a year over the last six years due to several equipment failures.

The AWOS provides pilots with a number of weather observations in real time including:
• Altitude of various cloud layers;
• Precipitation;
• Lightning detection;
• Temperature and dewpoint;
• Wind speed and direction;
• Visibility;
• Altimeter setting;
• Density altitude; and,
• Additional airport remarks as needed (such as important notices to pilots).

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