Severe weather system at Middletown airport to be modernized

8:00 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017 Middletown
The Automated Weather Observation System at Middletown Regional Airport/Hook Field is being upgraded. The nearly $100,000 project is expected to be completed in October. NICK GRAHAM/2016

A critical piece of safety equipment that officials say is needed to attract larger aviation companies to Middletown Regional Airport/Hook Field will be replaced.

Middletown will spend $99,593 for a new Automated Weather Observation System. Without the system, the airport’s ability to accept aircraft during severe weather events is limited, according to city staff.

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The upgraded system has also been requested by pilots, and is needed to help attract larger aviation companies to the airport, according to a Middletown city staff report.

Middletown Regional Airport was the first in southwest Ohio to receive the technology in 1997, according to Matt Eisenbraun, assistant city economic development director. Rising maintenance costs mean the system has reached the end of its 20-year useful life, he said.

City Council awarded a $99,593 contract to DBT Transportation Services to upgrade the system.

Bids were let to find a vendor who could provide a new system with upgraded features, as well as provide five years extended maintenance for the system since the city no longer has the resources to maintain the equipment, according to the staff report.

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City officials said they were able to negotiate a lower price with DBT by retaining some of the equipment from the original installation, which will be replaced in upcoming years.

The technician who installed the original equipment was hired by DBT, and was able to help identify what we are able to keep, and what needs to be replaced.

The upgrade project should be completed in October, according to Eisenbraun.

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