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Outsmarting the Storm: Alaskan Camera Program Allows Pilots to Access Real-Time Weather Info

By Juliet Van Wagenen | February 13, 2015
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Caption: Real-time image captured by the Port Alexander weather camera on Feb. 13, 2015
Caption: Real-time image captured by the Port Alexander weather camera on Feb. 13, 2015. Photo: FAA

[Avionics Today 02-13-2015] Pilots flying through Alaskan Airspace now have access to a fully deployed Alaska Weather Camera Program to help them determine when and where it’s safe to fly.

The program has been in development for several years and aims to improve safety and efficiency by providing pilots with near real-time, visual weather information. It includes a recently updated website that enhances navigational planning on an interactive map with easily accessible images and other weather data products. Access to accurate weather information is especially critical in Alaska, where three-quarters communities have no access to highways or roads and depend on small aircraft to access everyday commodities.

The cameras are positioned to view sky conditions around airports and air routes as well as extreme mountain passes such as the Anaktuvuk Pass on Alaska’s northern slope and more than 200 other locations. The site is powered by solar and wind generators and the images are sent back to Anchorage via satellite.

“The completion of this program marks another milestone in our continuing commitment to aviation safety in Alaska,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “These cameras are critical in making sure that people in Alaska can get to their destination as safely as possible.”

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