Edwards Air Force Base in California’s High Desert is known for its near-pristine flying conditions, and it was one of the reasons Lt. Col. Henry “Hap” Arnold chose the area as a new bombing range in the 1930s.
However, as any Airmen stationed here can attest to, high winds can put a damper on plans, especially during a Fitness Assessment.
The 412th Force Support Squadron, Sustainment Services Flight, came up with an innovative idea that could save Airmen’s time in regards to making decisions based on the rapidly-changing weather conditions.
“Now that units are able to test themselves for the Fitness Assessment, I see this as a huge time savings for Airmen in those units,” said David Behrendt, Sustainment Services Flight Chief. “They will no longer have to travel to one of the two authorized running routes to test the wind speed or assess weather conditions. They will be able to make the determination about the current weather before departing to those locations. The conditions change so quickly and vary so greatly, that having these stations at the exact location, will pay huge dividends.”
The Flight came up with the idea to procure and install two weather stations sensors, one near the Main Fitness Center and the other at South Base. The stations feature an anemometer that can measure wind speeds in real-time. The data is then uploaded to a website: https://rainwise.net/weather/EAFBmainbase, and can be accessed at any time. The data provided through the website allows leadership and to make decisions based on the current weather analysis, it also saves them money as each anemometer cost about $200-$300 per unit, Behrendt said.
“Units that were testing themselves were going to have to purchase anemometers to measure wind speed for their Airmen,” he said. “We knew this would cost less in the long run, and provide a greater benefit to everyone here at Edwards AFB.”
Behrendt also said that base leadership saw the project as a no-brainer and quickly funded it. The weather data also provided another unforeseen benefit for the Aero Club.
“An unforeseen benefit was realized for the Aero Club members who now have real-time weather data from the south base running track station,” he said. “Also, anyone can access the weather information so it is a benefit to anyone trying to run at the main base track or south base running route.”
With the weather stations now operational, leadership can better plan Fitness Assessments because they can easily check weather conditions that may affect their Airmen’s performance.
Note: to view the current weather conditions now, visit https://rainwise.net/weather/EAFBmainbase. A phone app is currently in development and will be available for download soon.