Airport receives grant for new weather station
Information about the weather is critical to safe flying and Minden-Tahoe Airport has been struggling for nearly nine years to keep an antiquated weather reporting system online.
But a $187,570 grant will help repair the system that actually went down for a couple of months in 2019 due to a fried motherboard.
The system sends out weather reports over the radio and the internet.
Airport Manager Chris Johnson told members of the Airport Advisory Committee in February that a new system will be installed this year.
The saga of the antiquated weather reporting system began in 2008 when the airport purchased a SuperAWOS to replace its 30-year-old system.
But in 2012, the Federal Aviation Administration decertified the new systems and ordered them turned off, forcing the airport to fall back on its old system.
Johnson said that system was a holdover from the late 1980s.
When he sought funding for a new system, the FAA pointed out that the airport had purchased a system in 2008 and would have to wait out the funding cycle before they could buy a new one.
The system chugged along until 2015, when Truckee received a new system and offered Minden-Tahoe theirs.
“We were able to upgrade from a 30-year-old system to a 22-year-old system,” Johnson said. “It was still a very old system that we kept alive with miracles.”
Johnson said the mainboard was an old DOS-based system and used cards that were no longer available.
“It’s ancient technology,” he said. “When the AWOS died back in September, the main board actually fried.”
By scrounging parts, the airport managed to bring the system back online by February.
“The safety of our nation’s airports is of paramount importance to the FAA,” said FAA Administrator Stephen M. Dickson. “These grants will allow these necessary projects to continue.”