Online AWOS System Strives For Legitimacy

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Hurdles For Small Aviation Business

What if you built a better mousetrap but government regulations made the cheese prohibitively expensive? That's the situation the owner of a small electronics company says he finds himself in as he tries to bring to market what he says is an affordable (about $1,000 per installation), effective and user-friendly system to display automated weather observation system (AWOS) and automated surface observation system (ASOS) information via the Internet. About five years ago, Bill Stanwyck, of Newburgh, N.Y.-based Stanwyck Avionics, designed software that would enable an ordinary PC to gather, record and upload the weather sensor data to a Web site. There, it's displayed both in text and graphic form. The information is updated every minute and the graphic display shows wind speed and direction trends for the previous five minutes and even calculates the crosswind component. "I think it's a useful tool for pilots," Stanwyck told AVweb. Most AWOS and ASOS data is now obtained either on aircraft radios or over the phone. Stanwyck's system displays all the various weather information compiled by the AWOS or ASOS from wind speed to dew point. It also shows a spreadsheet with the previous two hours of data. But Stanwyck said what most airports and pilots like about the system is its deceptively simple graphic depiction of trending and real-time airport conditions. Stanwyck said the at-a-glance feature sets the system apart and has been popular with the relatively few people who have seen it.