Nisha Marvel, WSDOT aviation communications, 206-440-4790
WINTHROP – Pilots traveling in the Winthrop area can now access a new weather reporting system – also known as an automated weather observing system (AWOS) – at the Methow Valley State Airport.
The newly-installed AWOS is currently active and broadcasting weather conditions such as wind, rain, and visibility to pilots in the area.
The Washington State Department of Transportation’s Aviation Division activated the AWOS on Thursday, Nov. 17. The Federal Aviation Administration then inspected, observed and commissioned the system before it became operational.
“We are thrilled that pilots will now be able to use this important weather reporting system at Methow to access local conditions,” said WSDOT Aviation Director Tristan Atkins.
“We are confident that this new AWOS will serve as a resource to increase pilot and airport safety,” added state airport manager Paul Wolf.
Prior to the installation of the AWOS, the closest weather reporting station to the Methow Valley was nearly 30 miles away to the east at the Omak Municipal Airport. Despite the short distance, Omak can experience significantly different weather than the Methow Valley due to the altitude and mountainous terrain that separates the two areas.
WSDOT heard from the aviation community about the need to provide real-time weather information in the Methow Valley. The first option considered was to reactivate a previously decommissioned privately-owned system adjacent to the airport, but it was determined that acquiring a new system is a more cost-effective solution.
Methow Valley State Airport is one of 16 airports that WSDOT operates, and is the only one eligible for federal funds. The airport is used for business travel, recreation and to support emergency operations.
Information for pilots
Pilots can access the system via radio or phone. Weather information is available by cockpit radio on 118.425 MHz from a distance of up to 60 miles. Alternatively, pilots may also listen to weather information by calling (509) 997-0142.
Pilots flying into Methow should check notices to airmen or call State Airport Manager Paul Wolf at 360-618-2477 for more information.