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2017 Airport Snow Team

March 7, 2017

Clearing snow and ice from runways and taxiways is key to safe and ontime aircraft operations during the winter. Airport Authority personnel practice months in advance to ensure that all goes smoothly during the winter season. Equipment, such as snowplows, snow brooms and blowers, allows the 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. Contactors are used to maintain the landside areas, such as parking lots and public roadways, which allows airport personnel to concentrate on the airfield. Power equipment is used to clean 15 miles of taxiways/runways and 10 miles of airfield roadway, while one mile of sidewalk is manually cleaned. Clearing the airfield is the priority and there are 23 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, four-wheel drive vehicles are available to ensure that key personnel can reach the airfield in emergency weather conditions.

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 four OshKosh and one Mack all-wheel drive trucks. The trucks can remove six inches of snow at 50 mph. These also are equipped with three to five yard dump bodies for hauling snow.

• (4) OshKosh high-speed snow brooms and (1) Wausau Everest snow broom: The brooms clear a 22-foot path and three inches of snow at 30 mph.

• (1) OshKosh and (2) Kodiak snow blowers: The blowers remove 50 tons of snow a minute at 30 mph. Louisville International Airport (SDF) Bowman Field (LOU)

• (2) 4,000 gallon De-Icer trucks: Each truck’s application control computer regulates the amount of liquid de-icing material that is sprayed. 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 de-icing material than spraying after a snowfall. However, these trucks may spray directly onto snow, too. The two booms cover 75-feet, de-icing the 150-feet wide runways in a single roundtrip. The 75-feet taxiways may be cleared in a single pass. On average, 12,000 gallons of environmentally safe de-icer is used per snowfall.

• (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.

• (5) Skid loaders: These provide flexibility and accommodate a 10-foot “box” plow, 8-foot broom or bucket, depending on the need.

• (5) Wheeled Loaders: These will be used with 20-foot “box” plows to clear snow from the aircraft parking apron. They will also be used to remove snow piles by loading dump trucks to haul snow away.

• (1) 36-inch “Walk Behind” snow brooms: These “people-propelled” brooms are used for sidewalks and external stairs.

Contractor Equipment for Public Side of Terminal:

• (4) One ton Pickups: Each equipped with an 8-foot, 6-inch plow and salt spreader.

• 5 ton dump truck: 10-foot plow and a tailgate spreader

• Skid Steers: each has a 10-foot box plow

• Walk Behind Snow Blowers

De-ice Materials Currently on Hand

• 82,000 gallons Potassium Acetate Liquid De-icer

• 74,000 pounds Solid Runway De-icer

• 42,000 pounds Landside (public area) Solid De-icer

The airport also contracts with vendors to assist with snow and ice removal, as well as to replenish de-icier trucks, as needed, in severe weather. Just in case, four tri-axle dump trucks are available to carry snow away from air operation areas.

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.