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Snow Clearance

Old 6th Jan 2010, 11:13
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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I remember using an MRD at Manston. We were supposed to clear the runway centreline first and then do either side. Unfortunately there was a slight sideways incline, so the melted snow turned to ice under the' lower' uncleared snow causing even bigger problems.

We also used to have snow-blows - a sideways mounted jet engine on a trailer towed by a tractor and used to clear the taxiways. They were fun too.
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Old 6th Jan 2010, 11:36
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Fareastdriver
People cause the difficulties.
After a snowfall the duty crew drive around the perimeter tracks and runway and announce that it is covered with snow.
The O/C ATC drives around the perimeter track and the runway and announces that it is covered with snow.
The O/C Operations drives around the perimeter track and runway and announces that it is covered with cnow.
The Station Commander drives around the perimeter tracks and runway and announces that it is covered in snow.
Various other personnel who apparantly have an interest drive around the perimeter tracks and runway and announce that it is covered in snow.

It isn't covered in snow. It has a lot of snow but is now covered by all the ice created by vehicle tyres driving over the snow.
Certainly happened at Waddo in the winter of 81/82 [I think that was the year]. OC Eng arranged for an endless procession of bowsers with blades, up and down, up and down the rw for hours. They compacted the snow into ice, which the blades subsequently rode over without any effect. We ended up with ice nearly a foot thick on the rw edges, which could then not be attacked by the MRD due to attrition on light fittings! I spent 3 days out there [on the grass in a LR] trying to unravel the mess; it only got better when Waddo swapped a staff car for Scampton's snow-clearing enormous lawn-mower thing, which was eventually able to eat its way through the snow/ice banks.

We remained Op capable throughout, though ... except probably NOT for landing.
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Old 6th Jan 2010, 11:43
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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Urea

The urea hoppers were wonderful..., remember having to climb into them to dislodge the bits that had gone solid. Getting back to find your issue woolenish socks had rotted and only the ankles were left, then your boots curled into arabian slippers overnight. Happy days

regards

retard
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Old 6th Jan 2010, 11:53
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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It just amazes me that even airports with International in their title have come to a stand still .
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Old 6th Jan 2010, 12:22
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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MPA winter of 86 (their winter of course).

F4 attached to Unimog and pushed backwards made a wonderful, if expensive, MRD.

A multi million pound, air defence grey, snow blower and taxiway dryer.

Wonderful stuff.

Doc C

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Old 6th Jan 2010, 12:39
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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People cause the difficulties.
After a snowfall the duty crew drive around the perimeter tracks and runway and announce that it is covered with snow.
The O/C ATC drives around the perimeter track and the runway and announces that it is covered with snow.
The O/C Operations drives around the perimeter track and runway and announces that it is covered with cnow.
The Station Commander drives around the perimeter tracks and runway and announces that it is covered in snow.
Various other personnel who apparantly have an interest drive around the perimeter tracks and runway and announce that it is covered in snow.

It isn't covered in snow. It has a lot of snow but is now covered by all the ice created by vehicle tyres driving over the snow.
It took me sometime to realise that this was in fact a carefully worked out plan. Light fluffy snow is awkward to clear and when you attempt to blow it away with MRDs, or even worse the one that blew sideways, then it only forms large untidy heaps. Once you have reduced the snow to an even layer of ice this can easily be dealt with by deploying a large number of airmen with shovels.

YS
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Old 6th Jan 2010, 15:10
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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Still astonished by inability to keep uk open. Spending my time at the mo flying round -15 snow covered europe by night and it just happens. Runways clear, taxy slowly on snow, efficient deicing. My local RAF training a/f runway all white as I drove past this am.
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Old 6th Jan 2010, 15:10
  #28 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Easy Street View Post
"Let it melt" is fine if the only cost is the odd down-day. How far do you let that argument run, though? What about a down-week? Or a down-fortnight?
In days of yore, when we had more airfields than we had MRDs, in the winter of 62/63, we have about 15-18 inches of the stuff and the Staish of Hullavington, one Gp Capt Max, decided that let it lie was the best option.

It lay.

As the Nav School programme was tied in to the next Nav School etc things started to look a bit skew. The plan was hatched to clear about 4000 feet and launch the Varsities to Topcliffe. Good plan.

What we managed to do with lots of studes trampling around on the runway was create an ice-strip of 8 inches of packed snow. It worked though and the aircraft duly boltholed - we had to go by train.
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Old 6th Jan 2010, 15:20
  #29 (permalink)  
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Bruggen.....winter of 79.....it snowed as it does in Germany...and it froze...temp...-fecking freezing. A cunning plan is devised to clear the snow from the HAS furthest from the warmth....the Sqdn are "invited" en-masse to make this trip.... and watch.... a bad error of judgement here as you can imagine.

Take one Jag...position outside HAS ( not without some difficulty ) and start engines....bingo !.... snow duly does as expected......alas....the laws of physics were overlooked here....what melts, er, freezes.....pdq in this case. Result....one Jag marooned outside HAS....some excellent moguls for those who like this sort of thing.....plus the collective howls of derision for the unfortunate soul whose "blue sky thinking" was, erm, slightly clouded.

I seem to recall that in 77 Brawdy was closed for about a week as it snowed....and the station snow and ice plan wasn't.....as it didn't snow at Brawdy.... Newgale hill was transformed into a classical Alpine downhill run as a result.
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Old 6th Jan 2010, 15:34
  #30 (permalink)  
 
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Winter of 62/63 RAF Oakington. The 'staish' had the bright idea of getting us students out on the runway with shovels, to help the bowsers with their snowploughs. After two days hard work, there was not a lot to show for our efforts. However the boss had 'a cunning plan'! Vampires had a downward pointing jet efflux, therefore much better to use them than the non existant MRD. So up and down the runway went a series of T11's which turned the snow into slush and water, which promptly froze! So we now had a five thousand foot skating rink. Never did finish the flying course, got my wings early in a sort of parade in the mess anteroom.

As an afterthought was an MRD called a 'sicart'?

Happy days

Last edited by Thunderguts; 10th Jan 2010 at 11:05.
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Old 6th Jan 2010, 15:49
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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No, a Sicard was (is?) a sort of rotary snow redistribution jobber. And if I recall correctly, there's also another snowy-chewy-uppy-thing called a 'Rollba', I think?

We had quite a lot of snow one winter at a certain large AT/AAR base in British West Oxfordshire. The Blacktop chaps did an excellent job in keeping the runway open, so then it was time to clear the main drag through the station. Along comes the duty bowser-with-blade and off it chugs. Minutes later there is an almighty BANG and the bowser comes to a halt with bits of broken ironmongery poking out of the front and the blade sitting on the road looking rather sadly bent.

It seems that a certain, not terribly popular, Stn Cdr had insisted that speed bumps had to be laid on the road to stop people speeding... Which, though a bŁoody nuisance, could normally be seen quite easily - except when they were covered in snow... . They were certainly made of rather sterner stuff than the bowser-plough...
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Old 6th Jan 2010, 15:55
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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No, the Sicard was a giant brush with a blower behind it, normally towed by a Bedford truck. Very effective on soft snow or after the snow ploughs had done their job. The brushes were originally made from hardened spring steel and became detached very easily. A wonderful FOD hazard afterwards, hence the Airfield Sweeper had a huge magnet slung across the back about 2ins above the ground.
MRDs were also known as Machine Runway DESTROYER, many a time I watched chunks of asphalt fly away in addition to the ice!!

It seems that we had more snow "in the old days" and we were spoilt with loads of available manpower and no apparent budget constraints, and, of course minimal H and S impact.
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Old 6th Jan 2010, 16:18
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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Snowed In

Early in 1967, 2 of us flew our solo landaway navexes in JP3s(separately!) from Cranwell to Acklington on a Monday am, briefed to have lunch and RTB in the afternoon. As we arrived at Acklington it started to snow. By the time we shut down it was blizzarding, and the airfield closed shortly afterwards. So we were stuck there with no kit other than what we were wearing until the airfield reopened 5 days later - dual sorties only! Eventually Cranwell had to fly 2 more JPs with 4 instructors up to recover us home. Until then we had a great time being looked after by the Acklington students - Borrow shirt from one, trousers from another, shoes from another etc - get taken out for the night - hand everything back next morning in hope - repeat the process the next evening, and so on ....
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Old 6th Jan 2010, 16:25
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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Ahhh ... thank you, BEagle ... it was the Rolba Waddo got from Scampton in 81. Jolly good kit, and great fun to watch the great plumes of snow being expelled from the "Out" part.
As noted, the Sicard had limited utility.

Student aircrew are much better, anyway ... prepares them for the life yet to come
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Old 6th Jan 2010, 16:54
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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Back in the 'Good Old Days'??????????

Winter 62/3 rings a bell. At R.A.F. And Hedges, the idea was 'let the snow fall and clear it in one go.' Seem to remember it came down on Boxing Day. Naturally by the time everyone got back from grant it had frozen.
Now the problem - the station was closed and of course it was on Bomber Command stand by for equipment support. A Beverly, from just down the road, flew over and dropped a bale of hay, just to rub salt in.
So to the master plan - bring in half a dozen road burners, (the trucks that heat road surfaces prior to re-surfacing), line them up across the runway and proceed to melt the ice. these vehicles to be followed in close formation by all available personnel, i.e. those who had been too slow to disappear at the call, and armed with bass brooms to sweep molten ice back under the burner elements to prevent the runway being burnt/ melted. There is not a big clearance between the burner and the road surface for obvious reasons and many brooms were caught by the burner. So, take burning stick to nearby 3-tonner, exchange for new broom and resume sweeping.
After spell on runway, it was back to the guardroom, where the SWO was in his element doling out the rum ration. Maybe he had to test each batch, that was why he was so happy.

Oh! Happy days. Wot's H & S ???????????????
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Old 6th Jan 2010, 17:09
  #36 (permalink)  
 
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Back to the original post, how is the RAF managing in the current conditions? Have we been able to keep flying or have we given up? I presume at least the Q bases will have been kept open or aircraft deployed to stations that havent been badly affected. Have we really forgoten everything or do we just not have the money or forward planning to defeat the weather in one way or another to preserve at least a basic capability. I expect the USAF at Mildenhall and Lakenheath have been flying pretty much as normal, doubt the same could be said for Conningsby, Leuchars and Brize!
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Old 6th Jan 2010, 18:02
  #37 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by AonP View Post
I expect the USAF at Mildenhall and Lakenheath have been flying pretty much as normal, doubt the same could be said for Conningsby,!
What snow?

The noise seems just the same as always.
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Old 6th Jan 2010, 18:46
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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Clearway

Clearway is more effective once laid and constantly adjetated ie vehicles or AC passing over it constantly. If it is laid, diliuted with the snow or ice already on the floor and left alone it will freeze. A guy at Dusseldorf airport once told me if they have cleared the runways and clearway is working, they would employ runway sweepers during quiet periods even if there was no snow, in order to adjetate the clearway, and it worked. RAF airfields are to quiet!
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Old 6th Jan 2010, 19:16
  #39 (permalink)  
 
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RAF airfields use the towed rotary nylon brushes to agitate the Clearway once laid, so they make the traffic. If there is sufficient (30-40ml/sq m) laid, it can cope with freezing rain and existing ice.
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Old 6th Jan 2010, 19:33
  #40 (permalink)  

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Whilst out walking through snow swept Norfolkshire over the last couple of days (doin' great things for charidee mate!) I can confirm that numerous F-15s and other sundry USAF types have indeed been buzzing about the skies above me.
I can also confirm that I have not seen a single RAF aircraft
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