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Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport to hold Aircraft Emergency Training Exercise

October 3, 2022

On Wednesday, October 5, Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport (SDF) will hold a full-scale, aircraft emergency disaster drill on the airfield. The airport’s Public Safety Department with support from a variety of emergency response agencies in the community will utilize a portion of the airfield as part of a simulated aircraft incident. It will include a period of fire, smoke and approximately 100 volunteers who will act as passengers on the aircraft. There will also be activities in the terminal related to this training exercise. All activities surrounding the drill will begin mid-morning and conclude by late afternoon.

Motorists traveling on I-65 and I-264/Watterson Expressway as well as those in areas along the airport’s perimeter including Preston Highway, Standiford Lane, Grade Lane and Fern Valley Road can expect to see or hear the exercise in progress. This may include flames, smokes and a heavy presence of emergency response vehicles.

“It’s crucial that our Public Safety and entire airport team are always prepared for a major aircraft incident at SDF,” said Dan Mann, Executive Director of the Louisville Regional Airport Authority. “Even though aviation remains one of the safest modes of transportation, this exercise will give our team and community partners the chance to go through those processes.”

The full-scale training exercise will be held on a portion of the airfield that will not impact normal airport operations. Communications in the airport’s terminal, on and its social media channels will be shared so the public is aware of the simulated drill should they see any of its activities.

Specifics of the exercise scenario have not been shared in advance with responding participants. The exercise will include the following elements to add realism to the simulated incident.

  • Numerous emergency vehicles and first responders from the airport’s Public Safety Department and mutual aid support from surrounding communities’ emergency response agencies
  • A period of fire and smoke
  • Conversations between dispatchers and responders on emergency radio frequencies
  • About 100 volunteer role players including moulage to simulate injuries sustained from the incident
  • Support helicopters staged and responding to the exercise site

“This will be the second time we’ve held an emergency aircraft training exercise of this magnitude at SDF,” added Mann. “It will simulate a true emergency environment that allows our teams to respond in real time as well as other first responders in the community. It’s important we’re always testing our skills and maintaining the strong community relationships, which is why the post-exercise debrief will be as equally important. It will help us all learn what worked well and where we need to improve.”

In addition to the full-scale training exercise on Wednesday, additional Public Safety trainings will be held during the day on Monday, October 3 and Tuesday, October 4 on the airfield at Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport. During these two days, periods of flames and smoke with a heavy emergency vehicle presence may also be visible from the terminal and surrounding roadways and areas.