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Device to Improve Weather Observations
The 88th Operations Squadron’s Weather Flight recently began using the new FMQ-19
automatic observation system to help them observe weather conditions at Wright-Patterson.
By Mike Wallace / 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio, July 3, 2006 – The 88th Operations Squadron’s Weather Flight recently began using the new FMQ-19 automatic observation system to help them observe weather conditions at Wright-Patterson.

This device gathers weather information from sensors at both ends of the base runways and presents it on a computer screen inside the weather flight office. The FMQ-19 gives the operator data on subjects such as temperature, wind speed and direction, atmospheric pressure, precipitation in the form of snow, freezing rain, or regular rain, lightning and thunderstorms.

Senior weather forecaster Jim Lane said the device was Federal Aviation Administration-approved, and in use at civilian airports around the United States. He added that the FMQ-19 automatically sends weather observations to an international database, and it allows weather station operators here more time for resource protection on base.

The device is “very easy to use and very maintenance-friendly,” Lane said. “Also, it has redundant, backup systems.” He said that the operators and maintenance people have already been trained on the FMQ-19.

John Turnbull, assistant site manager, said that the Federal Aviation Administration funded the development of automated weather observation systems in the mid-1980s, and they began operating in the mid-1990s.

“We’re still in the evaluation stage now and we’ll move to the certification stage in late-July, early-August period, then to the operational phase," he said. "Then we’ll be able to remove the old, legacy system that has rising maintenance costs.”

See Caption.
Jim Raison, an electronics technician with the 88th Operations Support Squadron, uses a computer to run a diagnostic check of the FMQ-19 on the north end of the runway at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, June 27, 2006. U.S. Air Force photo by Spencer P. Lane
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