The Altus City Council met in regular session Tuesday at the City of Altus Municipal Complex at 509 S. Main St.
In the meeting, Altus/Quartz Mountain Regional Airport Supervisor Daniel Adams spoke with the council concerning an upgrade to the airport’s automated weather observing system, or AWOS, ceilometer in the amount of $28,488.
“This system provides pilots and those inside and outside of the community with current weather information for the area,” Adams said. “The ceilometer is going to give a cloud ceiling up to 12,000 feet. Pilots use this information for differents approaches—knowing when it’s safe and legal to fly.”
According to Adams, airport employees have been manually cleaning the glass on the ceilometer by pouring water on it since April 2017, when an inspection performed by the Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, revealed that the blower motor was no longer working. With the amount of dust brought in by Oklahoma wind, the task of keeping the lense clean is nonstop.
According to Adams, DBT Transportation Services, the sole source provider no longer makes parts for the current system and the only way to fix the problem is to upgrade the unit to the CL31.
The current system was installed in 2005 using state grants and has worked 24 hours, seven days a week since then,” Adams said. “But it’s hard to know how long this upgrade will last.”
“One of the big problems we have is getting calls from AirEvac, who can’t take off without AWOS showing the ceiling at a certain height,” Adams said. “They’ve had to get approval from dispatch in Missouri before taking off and have had to wait for us or the pilots to clean the lens. That’s around 45 minutes once we’ve poured the water.”
“If AirEvac can’t take off because of our equipment, that sounds like a liability issue,” Council member Dwayne Martin said.
Without hesitation, the council approved the purchase and installation of the upgraded CL31 AWOS Ceilometer.
The council also approved an amendment to the owner/engineer agreement between the City of Altus and CEC Corporation for additional engineering services on the 2017 FAA grant project to rehabilitate runway 17/35.
“This is a 90-10 grant budgeted $40,000 in matching money,” Adams said. “It looks like now the project won’t be over $300,000, so our share won’t be over $30,000.”
After serving with the Altus Police Department, K-9 Ceasar will be spending his retirement with his handler Sgt. Jerry Downen who is also leaving the department, according to Police Chief Tim Murphy.
The Altus Police Department plan to employ a new K-9 handler and dog to work together in the future.
The council voted to declare Ceasar as surplus and authorized his transfer of ownership over to Sgt. Downen.
Council members Diane Landers, Dwayne Martin, Jason Winter, Jon Kidwell, Doyle Jencks, Chris Riffle, and John Womack were present for the meeting with Mayor Jack Smiley and City Manager Janice Cain.
Reach Katrina Goforth at 580-482-1221, ext. 2077.