Airport clearing

The staff at Stillwater Regional Airport has been battling the elements for the past week to keep runways clear of ice and snow. Provided

The staff at Stillwater Regional Airport has gone above and beyond during this winter weather cycle to keep runways and equipment clear so planes can keep flying, Airport Director Paul Priegel told the News Press on Monday.

It's been a constant rotation of staff and equipment as they battle the elements.

Because they weren't sure if they would be able to get to work after the anticipated storm, much of the staff slept at the airport Saturday and missed spending Valentine's Day with their loved ones.

They slept on cots and ate three meals a day at the airport to be sure they'd be available when they were needed. Priegel said this came after his staff spent most of the past week clearing ice. 

Thanks to their dedication, the airport was able to get the flights out every single day last week, he said.

American Airlines canceled all flights to and from Stillwater on Sunday and Monday, but Priegel said that was due to conditions at DFW.

"If Dallas will accept it, we will try to put a flight out tomorrow morning," he said, noting the jets have been waiting here for two days.

The dry, powdery snow that fell in Stillwater hasn't created any braking problems on the runway, but it is difficult to clear, Priegel said. As soon as the airport crews gets it swept off the runway, it drifts back, forcing them to repeatedly clear 24-inch tall mounds.

They found they can't use de-icing spray on it because the chemical melts it slightly, forming ice when it refreezes due to the frigid temperatures.

Now they're gearing up for another round of snow Tuesday.

"I'm really proud of our crew," Priegel said. 

Twitter: @mcharlesNP

Trending Video

Recommended for you