Sponsor Message:
Civil Aviation Forum
My Starred Topics | Profile | New Topic | Forum Index | Help | Search 
Taxiway Markings During Blizzards  
User currently offlineGregarious119 From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 540 posts, RR: 0
Posted (9 years 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 2342 times:

I am using the recent DEN blizzards as an example for this question.

Most airfields have all the markings (signs, runway warning lights, etc) all in the grass next to taxiways and runways. Lights are also installed at the edges of most concrete surfaces.

When an airport gets snow, 2 ft. or more in some circumstances, how does the airport handle the "unburying" of all those markings? It's no too complicated to plow 3 miles of asphalt, but how do they manage to deal with all the lights and such that are on the ground?

Has any airfield ever toyed with markings that were higher than normal (3-5 ft.)?

8 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineTom in NO From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 7194 posts, RR: 30
Reply 1, posted (9 years 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 2312 times:

The FAA's Advisory Circular for use by airport operators in the development of a snow removal plan is at:

Quoting Gregarious119 (Thread starter):
how do they manage to deal with all the lights and such that are on the ground?

More than anything, airport familiarity with the various members of the snow removal crew would be paramount.

Quoting Gregarious119 (Thread starter):
Has any airfield ever toyed with markings that were higher than normal (3-5 ft.)?

Not having experience working at airports in the snow belt (22 years in LA and MSY for me), so take this for what it's worth, most airports in the snow belt mount their runway and taxiway perhaps 18 inches to 2 feet above the ground. Higher than that and you would probably start screwing with pilot's frames of reference.

Tom at MSY

"The criminal ineptitude makes you furious"-Bruce Springsteen, after seeing firsthand the damage from Hurricane Katrina
User currently offlinePVD757 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 3466 posts, RR: 15
Reply 2, posted (9 years 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 2230 times:

In areas that get snow regularly in the winter time, it is common practice to have additional asphalt past the usable surface(read edge line) that is called a snow strip. In order to enhance the ability to see these edge lights(at least on taxiways) they add reflective sticks to the light bases that will illuminate when light is shined on them. They will also break off maintaining the concept of frangibility in the safety areas.
For resurfacing and new construction, the FAA recommends airports in the "snow belts" to reconfigure the edge lights away from the edge line. This serves two purposes. The first has to do with height of edge lights. You have a transtional height that must be adhered to, whether it's placement of lights, wig wags, etc. in regards to engine clearance for aircraft. Remember, and aircraft does not have to always follow the centerline, it just has to stay inside the edge lines in order to be on the taxiway. The distances and heights for the lights are as follows: adjacent to the edge line, they start out at 14 inches high. For every 1 ft away from the edge line the height can go up 1 inch. The optimal spacing from the centerline is at 10 ft. That means the light can be another 10 inches higher for visibility purposes. The second reason they move the lights off the edge line is so you can plow the edge line and remove significant amounts of snow, etc. from the painted surface. It probably won't make a big difference for a day or two, but you will be able to see the edge lines a lot quicker than if you didn't do this. My airport plows up to the edge lights and makes a "back cut" with another plow and pushes the snow away from the lights to reduce any buildup around them, increasing visibility. As far as signs and other objects, we've dug them out by machine or at least attempt to not bury them, knowing that they help pilots get from point a to point b on the airport. Anything that becomes obscured, destroyed or damaged, we NOTAM out for accuracy. Airports will also pre treat, depending on the projected weather forcasts, in order to reduce icing and buildup near freezing conditions.

Some larger airports untilize low visibilty centerline lights that help pilots stay in the center of the taxiways and they are quite bright. Also, an airport will be a mess during a snow event regardless of how good a job can be done. Sometimes, it's just a matter of the snow coming down faster than the workers can remove it.

User currently offlineFlyHoss From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 598 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (9 years 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 2204 times:

FWIW, many of DEN's taxiway signs were not visible, due to drifts or piles, for a few days after the big pre-Christmas blizzard. Planning the probable taxi route (after landing) to the gate or from the gate to the departure runway is especially prudent in such conditions.

A little bit louder now, a lil bit louder now...
User currently offlineDon81603 From Canada, joined Jul 2005, 1185 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (9 years 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 2192 times:

This may sound like a foolish question, but would rumble strips like those on the fog lines of interstates be useful along the edge of a runway to give a pilot a warning if they were straying from the taxiway? Would the pilot even feel the vibrations if the tires were on the rumble strips?

Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
User currently offlineJBo From Sweden, joined Jan 2005, 2497 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (9 years 4 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 2067 times:

Here at MKG, the taxiway/runway edge lighting and guide signage are off the edge of the pavement in the grass. In the winter, the maintenance crews typically use a large truck-mounted snowblower to clear out the plow ridges along the runway edges and clean the snow away from the lights. Usually cut a path one side of the lights, then another path off the other side, with some cleanup between.

I'd take the awe of understanding over the awe of ignorance any day.
User currently offlineRNOcommctr From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 834 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (9 years 4 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 2062 times:

It is not uncommon for taxiway lights and various signs to be cleared by shoveling by hand. Motorized equipment cannot reach all critical items.

Active loading only, ma'am, keep it moving!
User currently offlineRNOcommctr From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 834 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (9 years 4 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 2000 times:

Coincidentally, one of our airfield maintenance guys just stopped in here at the RNO communications center. He says the airport just bought this piece of equipment which does several things, including cleaning out the areas around signs and lights. Cool!!


Active loading only, ma'am, keep it moving!
User currently offlineBoston92 From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 3390 posts, RR: 6
Reply 8, posted (9 years 4 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 1970 times:

Well, during a blizzard, or any snow storm for that matter, plows are out plowing throughout the storm, so that the arprt will never get passed a couple of inches in any given area. Once the storm starts, they send plows out, and those or other plows will be out there until the storm stops to ensure that none of the problems that you describe happen.

"Why does a slight tax increase cost you $200 and a substantial tax cut save you 30 cents?"
Top Of Page
Forum Index

This topic is archived and can not be replied to any more.

Printer friendly format

Similar topics:More similar topics...
Close Encounter During Flight posted Sun Dec 10 2006 00:08:41 by Continental123
Grob Prototype Aircraft Crashed During Testflight posted Wed Nov 29 2006 19:50:40 by LXLucien
MCO Traffic During The Holidays posted Sun Nov 26 2006 19:31:14 by TLHFLA
Taxiway Extension At Luton Airport Runway? posted Wed Nov 22 2006 19:14:29 by 8herveg
767 Stuck In Mud/off Runway/taxiway In DTW? posted Sat Nov 11 2006 14:38:57 by Tu154m
Delta Runs Off Taxiway @ JAN posted Wed Nov 8 2006 02:28:54 by COAfan
Plane Land On Baseball Field During Game(video) posted Thu Oct 19 2006 23:56:52 by Fll2993
Finnair Flies MD-11 To LHR & CDG During The Strike posted Wed Oct 18 2006 22:16:21 by Andaman
D/FW Airport To Break Ground On New Taxiway posted Mon Oct 9 2006 20:21:04 by Danairbus
SAA During The Apartheid Era posted Tue Oct 3 2006 21:25:47 by SK A340