Do it Yourself AWOS maintenance?

Despite RSI’s AWOS maintenance rates being some of the lowest in the industry, I often get asked why an airport cannot maintain their own AWOS and why does it cost so much to maintain the systems? Well, an airport can. But it doesn’t make sense. Here’s why:


First off, the FAA requires that any AWOS used for flight operations be maintained by an FAA certified technician. To become an AWOS technician, an individual must complete factory training on every specific make and model of each AWOS he or she is to maintain, pass the examination for an FCC General class Radiotelephone license, and pass a written and field examination by the FAA. Each technician who works on a particular AWOS must have a letter of verification authority from the FAA office in charge of that facility. In addition, technicians must possess and maintain a set of highly specialized and annually calibrated test equipment to measure parameters such as radio frequency, power, and AWOS sensor such as altimeter and temperature, among others. This test equipment must be kept in calibration and traceable to the National Institute of Standards and Technology. This assures that the AWOS is kept with in FAA and FCC tolerances for measurement accuracy and radio transmission standards. The FAA mandates that each AWOS be checked for accuracy according to a maintenance plan within a window of every 90-120 days.


To start up an AWOS maintenance program from the start costs about $20,000 plus a lot of training time or about 8 years or so of AWOS maintenance charges from RSI…hardly cost effective for an airport with one AWOS.


Having an experienced, certified AWOS maintenance firm can also help shield the airport from potential liability in the case of an aircraft accident. Having an outside, insured firm with technicians with years of experience who can respond to questions about the AWOS data and accuracy can go a long way in resolving incident issues without going to the courtroom.


So, after a cost analysis, you can see that using RSI to maintain your AWOS removes a lot of headache and is really much more cost effective than doing it yourself!


This entry was posted on Monday, June 15th, 2015 at 8:29 pm