Simple Flying - Mark Finlay

Airports plan winter snow removal months in advance.

Generally speaking, as soon as the chance of receiving more snow and ice lessens, airports will assess how they performed and start planning for the following winter. Airports must be ready for winter weather and work with suppliers and contractors to ensure they have all the equipment and chemicals to do the job.

They also need to organize staffing levels to ensure they have enough workers for when the bad weather hits. Besides having enough employees for the job, airports must teach new personnel, so they know what they will be required to do. This involves training which usually begins in October in preparation for early winter snow storms.

As Finland lies on the same northern latitude as Nunavut, Canada, Helsinki Airport (HEL) knows a thing or two about snow removal. Finnish airport operator Finavia can clear an 11,500 feet long, 180 feet wide runway of snow in 13 minutes.

To accomplish this, they use powerful Vammas PSB 5500 sweeper blowers, specially built for use at Finish airports. The monster snow plows can remove any snow from the runway, and potent 1,500 hp snowblowers shoot the snow in the air, where it lands 164 feet away.

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