Need AWOS? Just Call On Your Cellphone

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In a nifty new service for pilots, a quick toll-free phone call can now connect you to any AWOS in the U.S. -- if you don't mind having to listen to a short advertisement before you get to the weather. The service, aptly called "anyAWOS," is a new product offered by Mackinac Software. One of the co-creators of the system, Bill McUmber, told AVweb: "Although my company is a software company, I am an active IFR pilot and thought it would be useful to be able to check conditions on the fly -- hence this system." After dialing the toll-free number (877-any-AWOS, or 877-269-2967), callers can enter any three-digit airport ID and -- after choosing from a list of possible matches, and listening to a word from their sponsors -- they will be connected to that airport's AWOS or ATIS. For those times when you have already received a briefing and just want an update on the current conditions before departure, this is easier than looking up the AWOS/ATIS phone number. In a news release, the company says the service allows pilots to easily check actual, right-now weather conditions at intermediate and destination airports while en route, or anytime -- for example, checking downstream conditions on the ramp during a gas stop. "We just announced this yesterday, and we are absolutely amazed that the call volume is ramping up already," McUmber said on Friday.