2009-12-12 / Top News

New Weather Equipment Coming to Mackinac Island Airport

A new weather reporting system will be installed next summer at the Mackinac Island Airport, one of a number of improvements planned for the facility that include pavement and crack repair, repainting line markings, and additional tree removal from the east and west runway approaches.

The weather system, installed in 1991 and now obsolete, allows pilots to access the current weather from the ground and air. Transmitted data includes visibility, cloud height, temperature, wind direction, and wind velocity. Access is available by two-way radio, a computer terminal at the airport which is also visible from the outside when the building is locked, and by telephone (847-3778).

The system is important to pilots, especially because of the varying weather conditions in the Straits of Mackinac, said airport manager Dennis Bradley. The Island can be blanketed in fog, even while skies are clear elsewhere in the area.

"It's a pretty important system," said Mr. Bradley. "It was a good day when they put it in."

The projects are funded with a $268,685 grant approved by the Michigan Aeronautics Commission Wednesday, November 18, and are part of the airport's 10 year strategic plan, said Phil Porter, director of the Mackinac Island State Park Commission, which operates the airport.

Between 25 and 30 trees will be removed this winter by a park crew, he noted.

A $4 million runway rehabilitation project is a separate project and awaits additional funding.

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