AWOS Siting Criteria

Welcome to our simple guide on AWOS siting criteria for Non-Fed AWOS.

Whether you're an airport manager, aviation engineer, or an AWOS Technician, understanding the proper siting of Automated Weather Observing Systems (AWOS) is crucial for accurate weather data and aviation safety. Our guidelines, derived from FAA Order JO 6560.20C, provide general recommendations to ensure optimal placement and performance of AWOS sensors. By following these criteria, you can minimize interference and maximize the reliability of weather observations at your facility.


Avoid Costly Mistakes! Do Not modify your AWOS without consulting a Non-federal Program Liaison.

Simplified Siting Guide

  1. Runway Proximity: Place primary sensors (cloud height, visibility, wind) 1,000 to 3,000 feet from runway threshold and 500 to 1,000 feet from centerline. For precision runways without RVR, use 750 to 1,000 feet from centerline.

  2. Elevation Adjustment: Adjust distance based on elevation difference (7 feet per foot of elevation change).

  3. Visibility Sensor: 10 ± 2 feet above ground, avoid obstructions within 50 feet, and clear area for 300 feet forward for backscatter types.

  4. Wind Sensor: 30 to 33 feet above ground, aligned with true North, maintain obstruction-free zones within 500 feet (15 feet lower) and 1000 feet (10 feet lower).

  5. Temperature and Humidity Sensors: 5 ± 1 foot above ground, well-ventilated, away from buildings and artificial heat sources.

  6. Precipitation Sensors: 1.5 to 5 feet above ground, avoid dust and transient conditions.

  7. Lightning Sensor: Avoid metal obstructions closer than twice their height above the sensor.

By following these simplified guidelines, you ensure accurate and reliable placement of AWOS sensors, minimizing interference and maximizing the representativeness of the data. However, this is not a conprehensive guide and siting must be approved by the FAA. For more detailed information and specific requirements, refer to the FAA Order JO 6560.20C.

Schedule a free consultation with our AWOS Technical Experts!

Airport Weather Advisor® FAA certified AWOS systems are available for new installations or replacement of existing systems. Replacement systems can re-use existing infrastructure including concrete pads, towers, and electrical infrastructure. Our FAA certified systems meet all the requirements of Advisory Circular AC 150/5220-16E


‣ Dual barometric pressure/altimeter sensors

‣ Wind speed and direction (mechanical or ultrasonic sensor options)

‣ Temperature/Relative humidity and dewpoint

‣ Visibility/Precipitation identification/Ambient light sensing

‣ Hail and ice pellet detection

‣ Lightning/Thunderstorm detection

‣ Freezing rain detection

‣ Fully automated report generation with manual augmentation

‣ VHF ground-to-air voice broadcast

‣ Voice reports via telephone

‣ UHF data link, optical fiber, or hard-wired communication

AWOS Live real-time web display We also offer backup AWOS using our FAA certified system configurations that meet the FAA’s requirements for backup weather equipment.

Mesotech’s ICAO/WMO compliant Airport Weather Advisor® systems use the same time-tested hardware and software as our FAA certified and military systems. Sensors may be placed in an unlimited number of locations around the airport or airfield to collect the right data from the right places. For example, wind sensors and visibility sensors are commonly placed at multiple locations along a runway.

Customized communication options including spread spectrum or UHF data radios and 4G data transmission
Standard and custom data output formats for integration into regional and national data networks
Runway Visual Range (RVR) reporting using forward scatter visibility sensors
Automatic runway light intensity monitoring (RLIM) for Runway Visual Range (RVR) calculations
Automatic active runway heading detection for producing accurate automated reports based on the most relevant sensors on the airfield

Airport Weather Advisor® has been in use by the US Air Force since 2001 and Mesotech’s military aviation weather systems are the most robust, high availability systems on the market. They are tailored to the specific application and maximize availability and minimize mean time to repair. We offer engineering, logistics support, and helpdesk support to keep mission critical systems up and running.

‣ Triple redundant barometric pressure/altimeter sensors
‣ Cybersecurity and physical security hardening
‣ Redundant power supplies and data collection units
‣ Redundant communication paths (wire, optical fiber, wireless)
‣ Extreme operating conditions/environmental options
‣ Extended run-time uninterruptible power supplies
‣ Backup weather systems