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2014 Airport Snow Teams

February 4, 2014

Clearing snow and ice from runways and taxiways is key to safe and on-time aircraft operations during the winter. Personnel practice months in advance to ensure that all goes smoothly during the winter season. Equipment, such as the new snow broom pictured at right, help crews continuously clear runways and taxiways during inclement weather.

The Airports’ Snow Teams Louisville International

The airport is responsible for maintaining runways, taxiways, and aircraft ramps as well as roadways, sidewalks, and some parking areas. The 15 miles of taxiways/runways and the 10 miles of airfield roadway are cleaned using power equipment. One mile of sidewalk is manually cleaned. Clearing the airfield is the priority and there are 11 pieces of equipment dedicated to do just that. The remainder of the equipment is used to keep roadways, parking lots, walkways and other areas clear of snow and ice. In addition to snow- and ice removal equipment, 23 four-wheel drive vehicles are available to ensure that key personnel can reach the airfield in emergency weather conditions. The cost for all materials, trucks and staff is approximately $10,000 per inch of snow.

Snow-and Ice-Removal Equipment

  • (5) 22-foot high-speed snowplows: The cutting blades on the plows are equipped with rubber edges– as rubber is much easier than metal on the concrete runways and the in-ground runway light systems. The plows are mounted on three OshKosh and two Volvo all-wheel-drive trucks. The trucks can remove six inches of snow at 50 mph.
  • (4) OshKosh high-speed snow brooms: The brooms clear a 22-foot path and three inches of snow at 35 mph.
  • (1) OshKosh and (2) Kodiak snow blowers: The blowers remove 50 tons of snow a minute at 35 mph.
  • (2) 4,000 gallon De-Icer trucks: Each truck s application control computer regulates the amount of liquid de-icing material that is sprayed. The material may be sprayed before a snowfall to prevent or minimize snow and/or ice accumulation. Spraying in advance of snow and/or ice uses 1/3 less of the deicing material than spraying after a snowfall. However, these trucks may spray directly onto snow, too. The two booms cover 75-feet, de-icing 150 wide runways in a single roundtrip. The 75-foot taxiways may be cleared in a single pass. On average, 12,000 gallons of environmentally safe de-icer is used per snowfall. The Airport stores 55,000 gallons of de-icing material.
  • (2) Tandem dump trucks: The trucks are each equipped with a 12-foot snow blade and a 14-cubic-yard spreader box.
  • (4) Pickup trucks: The trucks are equipped with snow blades and spreader boxes and spread sand and/or de-icier material.
  • (2) Skid loaders: These provide flexibility and accommodate a 6-foot broom, blade, blower or bucket, depending on the need.
  • (2) 36-inch “Walk Behind” snow brooms: These people-propelled brooms are used for sidewalks and external stairs.
  • Other equipment includes a 1,000 gallon water/de-icier truck, a back hoe, a grader and a wheeled high-lift. Just in Case The airport also contracts with vendors to assist with snow and ice removal, as well as to replenish de-icier trucks and sand, as needed, in severe weather.

Contractor Snow Removal Equipment:

(5) Concrete trucks with snowplows

(4) Cubic-yard wheel loaders

(4) Backhoes

(4) Side loaders

(10) Tri-Axle dump trucks (to carry snow away from air operations areas or off the airfield)

Our Airline Partners Each airline is responsible for de-icing its own aircraft and equipment, either by itself or through contractors, such as Louisville International s Fixed Base Operator Atlantic Aviation Services. UPS owns and operates its own de-icing equipment and maintains and clears its own airport ramps and facilities.

Bowman Field

Clearing the runways is the priority for Bowman Field, too. Crews simultaneously focus on clearing the airfield while assuring the ramps, walkways, roadways and parking lots are available for use. Bowman s crews use two 22-foot Volvo snowplows, two 22-foot OshKosh snow brooms and one 4,000-gallon de-icer truck. Also, one tandem dump truck and two pickup trucks are equipped with snow blades.