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Winter road clearance service

What will the winter be like?

This question has a special significance for those responsible for the winter road clearance services at Leipzig/Halle Airport. Whatever the answer is, one thing is certain: The winter road clearance service is of great importance to the trouble-free operation of air traffic at Leipzig/Halle Airport.

In order to ensure the scheduled operation of air traffic at Leipzig/Halle Airport, the take-off and landing runways, taxiways and aircraft clearance areas must always be maintained in operational status. As soon as the German Weather Service forecasts snow, the duty work group begin the immediate preparations for the clearance and gritting measures which are necessary to ensure optimal conditions on the flight operation areas for departing and landing aircraft. In order that passengers, guests or visitors can move around freely, the streets, paths and parking areas in the public areas of the airport are included within the responsibilities of the winter road clearance service and are also systematically dealt with.

For the extensive duties of the winter road clearance service around 300 employees are available from different departments and areas of the Flughafen Leipzig/Halle GmbH as well as partner companies.

Intensive teaching and training measures enable the standby personnel of the winter road clearance service to operate and apply the special technology efficiently. 

Winter road clearance service at Leipzig/Halle AirportWinter road clearance service at Leipzig/Halle Airport

Conditions

Highly efficient winter road clearance fleet

Well-trained operators and a modern, permanently available winter road clearance service are important prerequisites for successful winter road clearance.

Leipzig/Halle Airport possesses the following winter road clearance equipment:

  • 20 jet sweepers type TJS 630
  • 3 jet sweepers type TJS 420
  • 3 compact jet sweepers type CJS with snowplough
  • 1 towed jet sweeper P17 (consisting of a MAN towing vehicle with snowplough for special duties, a special trailer with combined brush rollers and jet nozzles)
  • 2 surface de-icing vehicles with a working breadth of 45m and 13,700l capacity for liquid de-icing fluid
  • 2 surface de-icing vehicles with a working breadth of 35m and 15,000l capacity for liquid de-icing fluid
  • 2 spray and gritting vehicles with a capacity of 6,000l each for fluids and 4m3 solid de-icing material
  • 8 tractor-trailers with pushing-floor attachment for transporting cleared volumes of snow
  • Various small clearing devices such as mini gritters/sprayers with snowplough for roads, paths and areas

FleetFleet

The operators of the winter road clearance service are divided into five shift groups and operate on a three-shift rhythm.

The airport staff are supported by neighbouring commissioned firms which, through regulated contracts for work and labour, assist in the winter road clearance service in the months of November through March of the following year.

Teamwork

The task of the winter road clearance service is teamwork in which staff from different areas of the airport are closely involved. During operations, the winter road clearance service task force leaders work closely with the traffic headquarters of the airport, who coordinate the clearance processing in the operating areas. Other important partners of the winter road clearance service are the German Air Traffic Control, which has control over aircraft take-offs, landings and taxiing at the airport, and the German Weather Service with its regular weather forecasts. 

Technologie

Always on call

As of temperatures around freezing point, the duty traffic officer requests regular measurements of the braking values (friction coefficient) on the surface of the take-off and landing runways. For this purpose a specially equipped car is used to measure the friction coefficient. If, on a measurement run values are obtained which are considered to be critical, the winter road clearance service is immediately notified.

Which clearance or gritting measures are employed depends on the amount of precipitation and the condition of the runways. As a basic principle, mechanical operations take precedence over the use of chemicals.

Clearing

From a snow depth of one centimetre, the clearance vehicles are employed. At present, the runways are cleared from the middle to the edge, depending on the prevailing wind. Combined into one process, the towed jet sweeper and the compact jet sweeper with snowplough, a sweeper and a snow blower operate simultaneously. When the compacted snow reaches a designated height it is thrown on to the adjoining area by a snow blower. In the immediate area of parked aircraft the compacted snow is loaded on to trucks using a snow blower and transported to a dumping area. Through these measures aircraft taking off, landing or taxiing are not delayed. Notwithstanding the prevailing weather conditions, the new generation of vehicles necessitates a time period of 15 minutes to clear the respective runway.

Melting

Melting measures can be applied in many forms: At Leipzig/Halle Airport, for ecological reasons, only mechanical melting and clearance of movement areas rather than chemical means is preferred. In order to ensure 100% operational capability of the airport, even under the complicated weather conditions during the winter months (e.g. ice rain or freezing deposits), mechanical clearance is not in all cases adequate. In these situations additional material is used for melting on the runways. In one case it may be expanded shale with a grain size no greater than 3 millimetres, in another an environmentally-friendly surface de-icing material of chemical composition. The salts and solvents used in the public transport network are, for technical reasons, not used in areas with aircraft.

Surface areas

The winter road clearance service at the airport has extremely large surface areas to clear and to keep in operation. With the northern extension of Leipzig/Halle Airport in the year 2000 as well as the reconstruction of the take-off and landing runway south including the apron and taxiways, this has increased considerably. Therefore, new clearance technologies had to be worked out and made available for the winter road clearance service in parallel to the airport expansion.

An impression of the size of the areas to be kept in operation is given in the following table:

  Conditions
2004/2005
Conditions
2007/2008
Conditions
2012
Take-off and landing runways 366,730 m2 2456,250 m2 456,250 m2
Taxiways 727,568 m2 1,060,234 m2 1,069,055 m2
Aprons/Ramps 254,096 m2 863,545 m2 1,074,331 m2
Airport perimeter road 391,432 m2 255,122 m2 439,627  m2
Parking/Stand areas 218,265 m2 186,564 m2 246,895 m2
Summe 1,958,091 m2 2,821,715 m2 3,286,158 m2

Technical Equipment

Clearance platoon

A clearance platoon at Leipzig/Halle Airport consists of 13 vehicles with heavy snowploughs, sweepers, and snow blowers as well as a surface de-icing vehicle and a group leader. The clearance platoon operates e.g. on the take-off and landing runways or other taxiways in order to clear the snow from the middle to the edges. The clearance platoon is led by the runway group leader. The necessity for bringing out the surface de-icing material follows, either as a preventive measure, or in direct connection with the clearance activities.
 

Compact Jet Sweeper CJS 914

This vehicle was developed to rapidly clear snow from flight operation areas. Clearance, sweeping and blowing as a compact unit in one vehicle means high mobility and high clearance performance. On the front is mounted a trip edge plow with an effective working width of 6.10m and a clearance width of 3.35m. Between the front and rear axles there is a cylindrical brush (moveable left/right). A well-placed blower delivering cold air at approx. 530m³/min is mounted at the rear.

Technical Data: Compact Jet Sweeper CJS 914.jpgCompact Jet Sweeper CJS 914.jpg

  • Brush working width: 4.20 m
  • Brush width at 32° tilt setting: 3.60 m
  • Brush diameter: 914 mm
  • Vehicle power: 372 PS
  • Additional motor power: 326 PS
  • Snowplough width: 5.60 m

Jet sweeper – TJS 630

This jet sweeper was developed as a high-performance device for the rapid disposal of snow on take-off and landing runways. Clearing, sweeping and blowing as a compact unit in one vehicle means high mobility and high clearance performance. a trip edge plow with an effective working width of 6.10m is mounted on the front. The vehicle is fitted with a standard drive head and a special sweeper attachment. In the centre of the vehicle, operating in front of the cylindrical brush is a blower facility which delivers approx. 530 m3/min of cold air and deals with the last remnants of snow on the runway surface. With a clearance speed of 45 km/h, this vehicle, in this form, is, until now, unique.

Technical Data: Räumkehrblasgerät TJS 630Räumkehrblasgerät TJS 630

  • Brush working width: 5.80 m
  • Brush width at 32° tilt: 5.40 m
  • Brush diameter: 1.10 m
  • Hydrostatic drive with traction motor: 430 PS
  • Clearance speed: 45 km/h
  • Additional drive motor: 326 PS
  • Working width snowplough folded: 6.10 m
  • Rear blower jets and in front of brush: ca. 540 m³/min

Jet sweeper – TJS 420

The TJS 420 was also developed to rapidly clear snow from take-off and landing runways, as well as for aprons with limited space. With an effective working width of 4.20m and a clearance speed of 45 km/h, this vehicle, in this version is, like the TJS 630, until now, unique.

Technical data: Räumkehrblasgerät TJS 420Räumkehrblasgerät TJS 420

  • Brush working width: 4.20 m
  • Brush width at 32° tilt: 3.60 m
  • Brush diameter: 1.10 m
  • Hydrostatic drive with traction motor: 430 PS
  • Clearance speed: 45 km/ h
  • Additional drive motor: 326 PS
  • Working width snowplough: 4.20 m
  • Rear blower jets and in front of brush approx.: ca. 540 m³/min

Surface de-icing vehicle 45/13

For de-icing of large surface areas a specially suited de-icing vehicle is employed. This vehicle was constructed to bring de-icing materials rapidly to areas such as take-off and landing runways or open aprons. The swivelling spray bar can deliver a spray volume from 5 g/m2 up to 50 g/m2 as selected, at a previously chosen width of up to 45m.

Technical data: Flächenenteisungsfahrzeug 45/13Flächenenteisungsfahrzeug 45/13

  • Basic vehicle: 35t truck
  • Assembly: Frame construction
  • Grit container: 13.7m³ liquid
  • Pump capacity: 1.000 l
  • Output width: 3 – 20 – 40 – 45 m

Snow clearing and loading machine

VerladeschneefräseVerladeschneefräseThe actual vehicle description of this machine is »Snow thrower« and is used as such at Leipzig/Halle Airport. In addition this machine is fitted with a telescopic loading chute which increases its applicability enormously. The loading of an 8 x 8 tipper truck of up to 40t can be completed in approx. 30 secs.

Squad leader vehicle

In order to carry out necessary inspections, the leader of the clearance platoon as well as the duty team leader of the winter road clearance service are equipped with a 4–wheel-drive vehicle. These vehicles are fitted with the necessary communications systems, such as a telephone, trunk radio as well as with a light bar highly visible to aircraft and other operators.

Technical data: EinsatzleiterfahrzeugEinsatzleiterfahrzeug

  • Type: Toyota, 2.400 cm³
  • Motor power: approx. 100 PS
  • Communication: 2 x airport trunk radio,1 x telephone

Friction testing vehicle

The conditions for arriving and departing aircraft change during the winter months due to rain, snow or other precipitation. In order to determine the prevailing friction coefficient, a special vehicle with the name »Friction Tester« was created on a basic Sharan chassis. The vehicle travels at a pre-selected speed (up to 92 km/h) on the critical surfaces. At the same time, a measurement wheel built into the rear axle presses down on the road surface and thereby simulates the actual conditions of an aircraft in the take-off or landing phase.

Airport Surface Friction TesterAirport Surface Friction TesterTechnical data:

  • Type: VW Sharan, 130 PS
  • Cubic capacity: 2.300 cm³
  • Transmission: Automatic
  • Communication: Airport trunk radio
  • Other: Measurement computer, printer, data communication to third party, signalling equipment