Heavy duty equipment at ORD gets ready for battle with snow on the airfield
Now in its 38th year, AAAE's Balchen/Post awards are presented to airport snow crews for expertly maintaining safe and operational airfields during the winter season. Large, medium and small airports in the categories of Commercial, General Aviation and Military compete for the awards.
O'Hare took home the top prize in the large airport category and Midway received an Honorable Mention for the 2013-14 winter season.
A "conga line" of snow equipment plowing at Midway as planes continue to operate nearby.
On behalf of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, I want to thank the men and women of 'Team CDA' at Chicago's airports for their hard work and dedication to ensure O'Hare and Midway maintained safe and efficient operations throughout one of the coldest and snowiest winters in Chicago's history," said Rosemarie S. Andolino, Commissioner, CDA. "I also want to commend the Northeast Chapter of AAAE for sponsoring these awards and for recognizing the important work of snow and ice control at our nation's airports.
O'Hare has previously won the award in 2010, 1999, 1989, 1988 and 1978, with Honorable Mentions in 2011 and 2000.
Snow equipment at O'Hare helps clear the way for a United aircraft.
This winter season O'Hare recorded 80.6 inches of snowfall which was the third snowiest in the airport's history. Midway, located just about 20 miles south of O'Hare, recorded 88.2 inches of snowfall, the second snowiest in its history.
When it comes to snow removal, the CDA has a tremendous amount of ground to cover at O'Hare. There are more than 14 miles of runways, 45 miles of taxiways, and 20 million square feet of hold pads, hardstands and ramp areas surrounding 189 gates at O'Hare. The CDA also provides snow removal for the numerous FAA NAVAID service roads on the airfield as well as several miles of roadway and thousands of parking spaces around the airport. Midway's airfield measures approximately one square mile, including ramp areas for 43 gates.
Maintaining safe and efficient operations during snow events at O'Hare and Midway is a task that requires months of preparation, highly skilled and dedicated personnel, state-of-the-art equipment, and close coordination with the FAA and our airline partners," said Andolino.
At O'Hare, the CDA has 440 staff and nearly 200 pieces of equipment dedicated to snow removal on the airfield, in the parking lots and public roadways. During a major weather event, the CDA can draw from a pool of about 600 drivers and more than 280 pieces of snow equipment through contracted services to reinforce the CDA's fleet to clear gate, ramp and cargo areas. In addition to the snow moving equipment, the CDA has 10 melters on site in pre-determined ramp and cargo area locations to assist in rapid snow removal.
A line of CDA snow equipment cleans Runway 10C-28C at O'Hare this winter.
Midway's team includes 155 staff and 60 pieces of snow removal equipment. Through contracted services, Midway can add up to 50 pieces of equipment and two snow melters.
The Balchen/Post award, formerly called the Balchen Award, was named for the Arctic explorer and aviator Col. Bernt Balchen. The award now also honors Wiley Post, who along with Balchen was one of the founders of the International Aviation Snow Symposium.
For more information about the Northeast Chapter of the AAAE and to view past