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Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport to hold Aircraft Emergency Training Exercise

October 21, 2019

On Tuesday, October 22, 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 of 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 150 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.

“While aviation remains one of the safest modes of transportation, its crucial our Public Safety and overall airport team along with the community’s first responders are always prepared for a major aircraft incident at SDF,” said Dan Mann, Executive Director of the Louisville Regional Airport Authority.

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 brief period of fire and smoke
  • Conversations between dispatchers and responders on emergency radio frequencies
  • About 150 volunteer role players including moulage to simulate injuries sustained from the incident
  • Support helicopters staged and responding to the exercise site

“This is the largest emergency aircraft training exercise ever held at SDF,” said Mann. “We wanted to make sure we provided our teams and others responding a true emergency environment. It’s important for us to test our skills and have strong relationships with the community’s mutual aid agencies should we ever need to respond to an incident. The post-exercise debrief and follow-up conversations will be just as important to help us all learn what worked well, what worked great and where we need to improve.”

In addition to the full-scale training exercise on Tuesday, additional Public Safety trainings will be held during the day on Wednesday, October 23 and Thursday, October 24 on the airfield at Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport. During these two days, periods of flames and smoke may also be visible from the terminal and surrounding roadways and areas.

Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport is served by six airlines offering flights to more than 30 nonstop destinations including 19 of the region’s top 20 domestic markets. With just one stop, travelers from across the region can reach more than 460 destination sin the U.S. and worldwide.