Here on the contract information page we provide information that is useful to anyone who has questions about weather observations, how they are conducted, why we need them, and how you can get involved.
Weather observations are taken at least once an hour at almost every airport throughout the United States including Hawaii and Alaska. Weather observations consist of data that follows strict guidelines set forth by the National Weather Service (NWS) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This data includes but is not limited to wind-speed, cloud height, cloud cover, temperature, amount of rainfall in the last hour, and also significant remarks that may include lightning, thunderstorms, and tornadic activity.
After an observation is taken it is sent to a central network where it is dispersed nationwide. These observations can be seen by anyone in the aviation community and are heavily relied upon by forecasters, air traffic controllers, and even local television personalities.
Because the FAA's number one concern is safety, they intensely utilize the network of observations to get an aircraft from it's origin to it's destination, safely. A good way of doing this is to read the observations that are in direct line of the flight path. If the origin and destination airports are reporting fair skies (clear), but an airport along the way is reporting a supercell thunderstorm the FAA can use this information and guide the pilot safely around the thunderstorm.
The FAA and NWS are the government entities that bid out weather observation contracts. Basically when a contract solicitation is sent to a company the FAA/NWS is looking to staff that particular weather observation site. What the company does is calculate how much it will cost for them to offer such services to the FAA/NWS. At this point the FAA/NWS takes a look at all the bids that were sent in by all qualified companies and award the contract based on price, past-performance, and financial stability.
Now that the company has been awarded the weather observation contract it is the company's responsibility to staff the weather observation site according to contract and federal regulations. For example, if a company wins a 24 hour site they must look for enough qualified personnel to staff the site on a continuous basis.
This is where IBEX Weather comes in. Our company has managed to be placed on every Qualified Vendors List (QVL) for each respective FAA Region. As such we receive all contract announcements that deal with weather observations. It is this reason that we post upcoming opportunities on the employment page. We want to staff our contracts with the best people available and to do that we need a pool of resumes to draw from. So if you are interested in becoming a weather observer, or if you already are a weather observer, and would like to be considered for any upcoming opportunities just contact us.