Colorado Mountain Weather Observing Systems to be Enhanced with Cameras

Colorado Mountain Weather Observing Systems to be Enhanced with Cameras
February 27, 2020 - Denver Metro Area

DENVER – The Colorado Division of Aeronautics and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announce plans to enhance the Division's network of 13 Mountain Automated Weather Observing Systems (AWOS) with real-time camera data. In addition to receiving accurate and certified weather information, pilots will soon have the ability to visually observe weather conditions high in the Colorado Rockies before they've even departed the airport.

This effort is made possible through a partnership developed between the Colorado Division of Aeronautics and the FAA. For many years, the FAA has administered a Weather Camera Program in the State of Alaska, providing visual weather information to pilots in Alaska's challenging environment. Currently, the Alaska Weather Camera Program has a network of over 200 cameras. The 13 cameras to be installed in Colorado will be the first in the U.S. to be incorporated into the FAA Weather Camera Program outside of the State of Alaska. "

The Colorado Division of Aeronautics is excited to have this opportunity to partner with the FAA in yet another joint effort to enhance aviation safety in Colorado," said CDOT Aeronautics Directory David Ulane. "The Division is proud to continue our heritage of pioneering new initiatives that further our mission to help advance a safe, efficient, and effective air and space system in Colorado."

The Colorado Aeronautical Board recently approved $226,000 of funding from the Colorado Aviation Fund for a reimbursable agreement with the FAA Weather Camera Program office. Under this collaborative agreement, the FAA will install and configure weather cameras on each of Colorado's Mountain AWOS units. The still images captured by each camera will be integrated into the FAA's weather camera website:

This innovative project marks the third such collaboration between the Division of Aeronautics and FAA, where the Division has funded FAA-led safety improvements on our behalf. Previous reimbursable agreements with FAA include the development of Colorado's Wide Area Multi-Lateration System, and ongoing Remote Tower Project at the Northern Colorado Regional Airport (FNL).

Under the Direction of the Colorado Aeronautical Board, the Colorado Department of Transportation's Division of Aeronautics supports Colorado's multi-modal transportation system by advancing a safe, efficient, and effective statewide air and space system through collaboration, investment and advocacy. In partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration, 74 public use airports and a diverse group of aviation system users, the Division also works to promote aviation safety and education through the efficient administration of the Colorado Aviation Fund. For more information, check us out on YouTube, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Colorado's Mountain Weather Stations Are Getting a Major Upgrade
The weather forecasting units used by meteorologists and pilots will get cameras this summer, making Colorado's mountains a safer place to fly—and recreate.
By Andy Stein, 5280 Magazine | May 12, 2020

If you've ever driven over Berthoud or Wolf Creek Pass or skied atop Copper Mountain, you might have noticed a series of towers and fenced-off structures braving the elements at high altitude. These are weather stations—specifically Automatic Weather Observing System (AWOS) units—and they weren't just built for meteorologists.

About 20 years ago, the Colorado Division of Aeronautics began installing these stations—there are nearly 60 across the state, 13 of which are in the mountains—to keep general aviators safe while flying their planes over Colorado's rugged and often-perilous terrain. Unlike commercial aircraft, which fly more than 30,000 feet above the Earth's surface, general aviators (primarily civilian aircrafts) often fly only a few thousand feet above the ground. In Colorado's mountains, those pilots often encounter quick-changing and intense weather. That's where the Division of Aeronautics, a subset of the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), comes in. Focusing primarily on aviation safety across Colorado, the division works to ensure pilots have the most information possible regarding the weather in the mountains.

Beginning this summer, thanks to a partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Colorado's mountain AWOS units will feature cameras that enhance forecasting and visibility.

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