Automated weather observation system installed at Hall-Miller Airport in Atlanta

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Atlanta’s Tevis Pappas is helping the city’s airport take a giant leap towards safety and convenience through his company, Pappas Technologies Inc.

Pappas’ company installs an Automated Weather Observation System (AWOS) at Hall-Miller Airport. Its cost is around $ 200,000, 75% of which is met by a grant from the Texas Department of Transportation.

A weather observation system provides up-to-the-minute weather reports to pilots by radio, telephone and the Internet. This information is also accessible to the public.

An AWOS system obtains critical data such as wind speed and direction, cloud height and visibility collected from airport locations, which is transmitted to a central processing station located indoors. Automated reports are generated, but the system also allows manual editing of local messaging. These messages are available to the public by phone, online or radio.

Pappas uses technology company Mesotech of Sacramento, Calif., To equip the system.

“I have been working with this company for three years,” he said. “In the past two years as a sales representative.”

Pappas said he was saving the city some $ 40,000 as his bid to build the project was $ 146,000, down from the next low of $ 186,000.

“I take less because that’s where I live and where I fly,” Pappas said, adding that he was also reducing his monthly maintenance and emergency service costs.

“Because of my technology background, my customers are happy with my service,” he said. “No complaints. I’ll be there faster at half the price. The others have an emergency service charge of $ 1,500 a day and I’m $ 750. I’m also less on regular service. While theirs is. $ 600 a month, mine is half that. “

Such a system will last 10 to 20 years.

“It’s important for our airport. We’re still a small town, but it will save someone’s life. This will allow planes to enter bad conditions for example, and since safety is No. 1, this will be a big advantage. .

“We will have more traffic. The AWOS system can provide the information necessary for aircraft to arrive and land at a ceiling of 200 feet instead of 600 feet. The pilot can take the AWOS and know exactly what the conditions are. It’s more traffic. , more people are landing, so our airport will grow and that will qualify us for more grants.

“In addition, the airport will sell more fuel. If something is unique to Atlanta, we can record a local message on the system. For example, the airport manager might say, “Don’t land. Fuel is not available ”. It’s a bonus. “

To further explain the technology of an automated weather observation system, Tevis Pappas describes some of the components of the system.

A white box contains a thunderstorm detector. This detector senses lightning up to 200 miles away and will announce when and where storm fronts are.

Another box on the pole is called a celometer and is a device for measuring and recording the height of clouds.

“This device shoots a laser beam that bounces off the clouds, letting you know the height of up to three layers of clouds, which are scattered, broken and covered.

“We can fly normally using VFR (visual flight rules) and say the clouds are scattered at 15,000 feet, but if it gets bad and say the ceiling drops to 400 feet, you can’t take off without instruments and you can’t land unless you know the ceiling is over 200 feet. “

With this system in an emergency, Pappas said rescue planes could land with a ceiling of 200 feet.

“Otherwise, you should go to Texarkana. It could save lives.

Yet another box contains the computer sensors which report to the mainframe. A rain gauge bucket is also present and very accurate, measuring to the hundredth of an inch. He talks about rain for the last hour or the last 24 hours.

“Visibility is another signal piece of information that is needed. This box examines what is there, such as air, smoke, or fog and determines how far you can see. You should have visibility of 3 miles. to land under visual flight rules.

“If you didn’t have that information, you might not be able to come in and pick up an injured person. But if the pilot knows the visibility, he can get off and look, maybe seeing the airport building there. downstairs or some other object around here.

“Then it will also have the wind speed and direction measured by ultrasound, not with a mechanical paddle and wheel. These are electronics, two transmitters and two receivers that are pointed at each other and send signals. With a sophisticated calculation of the resulting component using the Doppler effect, the force and direction of the wind are measured. To a degree, it indicates where the wind is coming from and its force and this indicates to the pilot which track to use.

Pappas is also doing the work. The location of the station in relation to the airport runways is essential. The area should be cleared with trees within 500 feet.

“I paid $ 7,000 to get it all cleaned up and the concrete slab placed. The city provides a road and a 30 x 50 8 foot fence all around the equipment. We also had to get rid of pigs and deer. grant money. We have up to $ 200,000, but we won’t spend it all, ”he concluded.


Tevis Pappas of Atlanta, Texas, owner of Pappas Technologies Inc., oversees the installation of an automated weather observation system at the Atlanta Hall-Miller Airport. (Gazette photo by Neil Abeles)




Photo

Certified Automated Weather Observation System Technician Zach Taylor holds the rain gauge bucket he is installing at the Atlanta Airport Weather Station. (Gazette photo by Neil Abeles)



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