Black Friday Humor


ASOS station in Greenville, Alabama, Mac Crenshaw Memorial Airport

Photo by: Howard Wiseman

You’d think either the FAA or NOAA would get this cleaned up before volunteers have the opportunity to get such pictures. So, in the spirit of the “FAIL blog” I thought I’d offer this.

To be fair, this looks like a junker placed there rather than a aviation accident. I’ve seen many such aircraft at small airports that become forgotten derelicts like this.

Here is a view sans aircraft.


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Mildly interesting, but I don’t see this as a big deal in the global scheme of things. The weather installation isn’t up to standards, of course–no obligatory BBQ, AC exhaust, brick wall, or parking lot, but they can’t all be perfect.

That be a crash sure enough. No way that is a “placement.” Could be a FAA reconstruction of a crash at best.
The real issue is one that concerns me. We are entering an era of drastically reduced aviation activity. Aviation and monitoring sites are highly correlated. The zealots of AGW are most certainly going to use that decrease and the measured global temperature decrease to discredit their opponents. They will perversely claim any decrease is purely site specific as they measure lower human activity rather than admit that past data were the problem.

Pierre Gosselin

Photo appears to have been taken with a wide angle lens, thus making the weather station look closer than it actually is, though I can’t say for sure. I’d say it probably is a safe enough distance away. Anyway, I’m glad to see this did not become “How not to measure temperature No. 79” or whatever.
This actually looks like a fairly unbiased measuring station. My congratulations to the UNHCN!

Mike McMillan

As we pilots would say,
“Other than that, Jim, your check ride went fairly well.”


Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing.
Hope that pilot walked away.


Pierre Gosselin
I think it is the other way around, telephoto lens foreshortens. Minor point.

Michael J. Bentley

Once again,
Weather stations AT THE AIRPORT are intended for pilots USING THE AIPORT. I don’t give a rip what the real temperature is a mile a way, or even if the airport is part of Hansen’s vast empire (actually I think Hansen and Gore are half-vast).
If the temp at the runway is 120 degrees, that’s important to me, not that a well sited climate sensor is saying it’s only 95 degrees. I need to configure the aircraft for the weather it is flying in, not some other ideal situation however near to the airport. If I do that, then I will have a nice flight without those nasty metal bending noises that sometimes occur when the pilot is FDH (Fat, Dumb and Happy).
Just another reason that airport weather stations should not be used as part of climate input.


Run out there with an electric drill and get the data plate! At least that is worth something.


Just an idea here… would it be possible for someone to get all the recorded temperature logs of all planes including altitude and global positioning coordinates? Those could be a great value to follow the temperature of the atmosphere at all levels and almost everywhere… a real 3D temperature Map in time.

Bill in Vigo

I have to agree with Mike Bentley, the weather stations at airports are usually located near the runway for a reason and that in the military and more now in civilian aviation is that lift to temp ratio is very important. In the Military operations often you were departing with maximum fuel and ordinance to extend missions as long as possible and this is the way we trained. Now in the civilian side it is near maximum take off weight to get the most efficient fuel usage. The weather stations are sited specifically to measure a particular micro-site. They were never intended to be used to measure climate data. As far as I am concerned the use of Airport weather stations for climate studies is nearly useless. Remember they were sited specifically to measure the weather at a particular micro-site the departure end of the runway.
Bill Derryberry says

Mac Crenshaw Memorial Airport
Greenville, Alabama, USA
This otherwise excellent looking and well-sited ASOS station sports the twin prop wreckage from an aborted takeoff. Pilot/passenger suffered injuries but escaped with their lives.

The photo gives a less biased (less artistic, more scientific) view of the distance between fence and wreckage.
REPLY: Hmmm..guess I had better look at my own database more closely. I missed that. Good catch – Anthony

Jan F

Never mind the weather station, it is very sad to see an aircraft in such a sorry state.


Hansen and Gore; Half Vast and quarter to nuts!

Mike C

Too lazy to put up a good station… too lazy to recycle


OT. Just saw this: Mega Wind Farms Could Steer Storms
“Mega wind farms of the future could have a major impact on weather, clearing up cloudy skies and even steering storm systems, according to new research.”
“But meeting the Department of Energy’s goal of wind power generation by 2030 would require that scores of huge wind farms be built throughout the Midwestern United States. The total disturbance caused by turbines could be enough to steer storms.”
If they could steer storms, imagine the arguments between states that would or wouldn’t be hit depending on whether the wind farms are left on or turned off. That’s not even considering the choice between power generation vs. storm mitigation, which the researcher recognized.
Talk about unintended consequences. Could the wind farms be held liable for massive infrastructural damage caused by storms? =)

Actually, a wide angle lens would make things appear much further away than a normal lens would. It would be a telephoto lens that would compress the distance between the background and the foreground.


… and a REALLY good landing is one when you can re-use the airplane…

Mike McMillan

What we’re concerned with here is temp trends, not actual temps. ASOS have a continuous electronic record, so jet exhaust transients should be easy to spot and toss out. Aside from the large expanse of concrete in the neighborhood, the ASOS are uniformly sited and maintained, and meet most every other CRN 1 criterion. CRN 2 requires 30 meters from concrete, and I believe most ASOS meet that requirement.
I haven’t found a map of the sites yet, but it would be interesting to get the records and see how they track with RSS, UAH, and Hadley.

Ray (15:00:34) :

Just an idea here… would it be possible for someone to get all the recorded temperature logs of all planes including altitude and global positioning coordinates?

What I think would be neat would be for an outfit like FedEx to add dropsondes on some of their cargo planes. Instead of being expendable, these would be gliders and have GPS-based control systems. Released near FedEx processing centers they would glide down to the roof where they would be picked up, data sent to NOAA or private wx business and then packaged up for a new flight.
I imagine the NOAA weather balloons fly quite a bit higher than aircraft, so I doubt they’d fully replace the balloons, but I bet the operational cost would be much less so perhaps FedEx could make a profit by entering into a contract with NOAA.

Mike McMillan

Ray (15:00:34) :
Just an idea here… would it be possible for someone to get all the recorded temperature logs of all planes including altitude and global positioning coordinates?
I don’t know that many planes have such logs. I’m unaware of any useful log that the 777 had, other than the engine data recording it kept. While those will include temps, ambient temperature around an airliner can’t be read directly. Air compressibility and skin friction raise the raw numbers, and it has to be computed. The aircraft temperature probes are electrically de-iced, i.e., heated. The temperature is deduced by measuring the current required to keep the probe at a constant temp. All in all, I don’t think we’d get the kind of precision we get from ground stations or balloons.
Ric Werme (14:44:21) :
What I think would be neat would be for an outfit like FedEx to add dropsondes on some of their cargo planes. . . . , but I bet the operational cost would be much less so perhaps FedEx could make a profit by entering into a contract with NOAA.
Since we can’t just open a window and toss one out, dropsondes would take installing a mechanical system on the aircraft. Such a system would be expensive to buy, plus it would have to be FAA certified, which would be very costly. Once certified and installed, it would have to be maintained and inspected just like any other aircraft system. I doubt you could persuade any airline to go along.

Richard Patton

It is done on a regular basis with commercial flights. It’s called a pirep. Unfortunately all the commercial aircraft tend to fly at the 200 to 250 mb level. It got a bit frustrating for me when I was a forecaster in the Navy in the Pacific. We got few (compared to over land) surface observations. More reports at flight level from the commercial flights and nothing in between, with the exception of less than twenty rawinsonds over the Northern Pacific.
I was told by those who had been in the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in the `50’s that the cruising altitude of the commercial flights was at 500mb. Since then the cruising altitude climbed to 200mb. Since 500mb is the level of steering winds in a tropical cyclone, the lack of reports actually caused a decrease in forecast accuracy. Fortunately, satellites came to the rescue and we now have almost continuous monitoring of those systems. Even with satellites we can get surprised. I can remember the unanticipated development of Super Typhoon Tip (1979). It went over the Island of Guam still officially as a Tropical Cyclone Formation Alert Area, hitting the Island with 75mph gusts going on to become the most intense typhoon on record (190G215mph) and creating the lowest recorded sea level pressure (870 mb)
You may be right about how accurate the pireps are compared to `sonds.


This is a nice civilian airport that a friend of mine flies from. The wreckage is probably 75 yards from the ASOS site, and is almost certainly irrelevant to temperature measurements at the site. It makes a great photo however. All the good stuff is off the plane, but the aluminum remains, which would have been worth something before commodities crashed. This cleanup would have likely been the insurers responsibility, since they probably ended up owning the wreckage.

Typo alert in the originalparagraph:
“ volunteers” should be: volunteers.