ANGOLA, Ind. (WANE) – The weather equipment at the Tri-State Steuben County Airport has been offline for about a month. The original computer was installed in the early 80’s and, “we’ve been putting band-aids and bubblegum on it, for lack of more technical terms, for several years. And it has met it’s maker. It is no longer repairable. Parts are not available,” said Randy Strebig, President of the Steuben County Board of Aviation Commissioners.
After a couple meetings with County Commissioners and County Council, the airport has received just over $100,000 to purchase a new computer, weather instruments, and build a road to the observing site (which is currently inaccessible during winter months). Existing foundations, fences, tower, etc. can still support the new equipment, so they were able to save some money in those areas. The new information will be constantly sampling current weather conditions, pressure, cloud ceilings, and other variables important to pilots.
Weather information is critical to pilots. They have to have it to plan a flight before they even get in the plane. Not only do they need data for their take off and landing sites, but also for sites along the flight path. Some insurance providers will not allow a pilot to land or take off at a location without one of these weather systems because it is not safe. “What that means is lost traffic and lost revenue to our county,” said Strebig.
Here at WANE-TV our weather team uses information that comes from this system, especially visibility on mornings when we are dealing with fog. Strebig also notes that local emergency service providers (Sheriff, ambulance, fire department) use this information. In fact anyone can dial the phone number associated with this observing site to get this weather information.
They have started the process of ordering the equipment and hope to have it operational by early January for the worst of the winter flying season.