Currently, there are five weather buoys deployed in waters off the Hong Kong International Airport. Each weather buoy comprises an automatic weather station mounted on a three-metre diameter buoy. The automatic weather station measures weather information such as wind, air pressure, temperature and humidity, and transmits the information by radio to the HKO Airport Meteorological Office located in the Airport Traffic Control Tower every ten seconds. The timely weather information gathered and transmitted by these buoys is particularly useful in estimating wind shear over the areas around the airport to ensure aviation safety, as significant wind shear requires immediate action by pilots to stay in their intended flight paths.
However, climbing over the maintenance cage of the weather buoy and up to the anemometer mast to carry out maintenance work for the wind sensor poses potential hazards of working at height for staff. With consent from HKO, the client department, and owner of the buoy, the Marine Department (MD), we took the initiative to re-design the anemometer mast by installing a gear box onto it so that the mast of anemometer erected on top of weather buoy could be lowered down and our staff were no longer required to climb up the cage for maintenance work. The new design has enhanced work safety without compromising the robustness and stability of the buoys.
Our collaboration with HKO and MD has successfully addressed the safety issue of weather buoy maintenance. At the same time, it ensures that the maintenance work be completed effectively and efficiently, thus raising the system availability of the installed instrument in issuing timely wind shear alerts to aircrafts in sea-breeze situations and enhancing aviation safety for air passengers and the public. Our colleagues have also earned recognition from the client who expressed appreciation to EMSD.