Cause for Tuesday & Wednesday Flight Cancellations Resolved

November 18, 2015

ROCK SPRINGS, WY ─ Commercial airline flights on Wednesday afternoon were able to again operate at Rock Springs-Sweetwater County Airport after repairs on a faulty National Weather Service visibility sensor were completed.

On Tuesday afternoon, a component of the National Weather Service’s Automated Weather Observation System that measures the horizontal visibility failed. The Automated Weather Observing System, or AWOS, is a suite of weather sensors, which measure, collect and disseminate weather data to pilots so they have the necessary information for safe takeoffs and landings. With the failure of this sensor, the system was unable to provide the necessary information for our flights to perform safe takeoffs or landings; therefore United Airlines cancelled a total of four flights between Tuesday & Wednesday.

The Airport has been in constant communication with the National Weather Service office in Riverton, WY to institute a plan so the likelihood of this situation occurring again is greatly reduced. The Rock Springs-Sweetwater County Airport will continue to push for change with the Federal Aviation Administration and our Congressional Delegation in Washington, D.C. to relaunch the Certified Weather Observer Program.

The Certified Weather Observer Program would allow the airport to have staff that is Certified to provide the same weather observations as the AWOS and provide a reliable back-up to the National Weather Service equipment. Over the years, this program has been eliminated by the Federal Aviation Administration leaving small airports across the country without Air Traffic Control Towers in the same situation RKS encountered this week.

As always, please remember that when booked for air travel through Rock Springs-Sweetwater County Airport, it is important to keep updated on flight status through www.united.com, the United Airlines App, or 1-800-864-8331.