In a move designed to improve aviation safety in Hawaii, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is deploying weather cameras at several locations around the islands. The weather cameras are designed to help pilots make the right decisions with near-real-time visual information about the weather conditions at the destination and along the intended route.
Accessing images from the cameras gives pilots one of the most powerful flight decision making tools in the industry. The cameras that the FAA uses are small, lightweight, and highly portable. Installation takes around two days, and after that, the cameras are programmed to notify the FAA if there is an outage. The affordability and reliability of the cameras save time and precious resources.
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The FAA wants to install 23 cameras
The FAA calls the deployment of weather cameras in Hawaii “Project 23” as it intends to install 23 camera facilities throughout the Hawaiian Islands. It has completed engineering surveys and selected sites for the cameras on Kauai, Lanai, Maui, and Molokai. Engineering surveys on the island of Oahu and the Big Island will commence in March 2021.
The first of the camera installations will take place on the island of Kauai in March, with the FAA then moving on to other islands as it obtains permits, leases, and procures equipment. Each camera facility can accommodate four cameras with images from Kauai’s cameras expected to be available on the FAAs weather camera website sometime during the summer.
The FAA is looking for the best locations
The FAA has been working with several aircraft operators and experts on each Hawaiian Island to identify and select the best locations for the camera facilities. It also aims to ensure a strong and healthy communication line between pilots and the agency in regards to the project’s progress.
To ensure that the cameras provide the best information for pilots, the FAA places the units on flight routes and areas where weather conditions most commonly affect and interrupt flight operations.
The FAA has been successfully operating cameras in Alaska for 20 years. Last year, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) set up 13 weather camera sites to improve pilot awareness when flying over the Rocky Mountains.
Canada has over 215 weather camera sites
As another area of the United States with mountain terrain and quickly shifting weather dynamics, the aviation community in Hawaii is pleased that the FAA is expanding its weather camera operations to The Aloha State. The hope is that the new cameras will help reduce weather-related incidents and improve pilots’ decision-making throughout Hawaii.
The FAA’s weather camera service is also being looked at by other locations, with NAV Canada installing more than 215 camera stations across the entire country. If you would like to see how the weather cams work, images from the United States and Canada can be viewed at the FAA’s weather cam website.
When used alongside meteorological aerodrome reports (METARs), the weather cameras become one of the most powerful aviation tools.
What do you think about the FAA deploying weather cameras in Hawaii, and do you think more places should have them? Please tell us what you think in the comments.