Airport Maintenance Staff Keeps Runways Prepared for Flights, Even in the Snow

Local News

A record amount of people will be boarding planes this weekend, headed back home after spending the holidays with family.

But with a snowstorm coming across most of the plains states, who is out there making sure our flights take off and land properly?

In the next couple of days, we could see anywhere between a few inches or a foot of snow in parts of North Dakota. But will that affect your travel plans? It shouldn’t, because it doesn’t take much for airport maintenance to get rolling.

Matthew Remynse with the Bismarck Airport explained, “The aircraft landing and take-off performance is affected as little as an eighth inch of snow. So about an eighth-inch to a quarter is when we’ll start calling in staff to come in and move it, and from there we’re basically out here the whole storm. When we have that eighth-inch or quarter-inch of snow, we’ll start brooming the runways right away, plowing the taxiways and ramps as well.”

But clearing the airfield isn’t as easy as it seems. Brooms are used more than plows to avoid packing the snow on the runways, and salt isn’t even an option.”

“So we have a little bit finer sand and then we cannot put any salt out on the airfield, on the ramps taxi ways, no salt. We have to use a potassium acetate, which is not corrosive to aircraft. Where salt and some of the other chemicals that are used on city streets, they can be considered corrosive to aircraft,” Remynse shared.

And while you might get sick of plowing your driveway a couple of times a day, airport maintenance is out here from the first snowflake to the last, making sure flights are coming and going safely.

A few flights were delayed today but for the most part, everything is still on schedule.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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