If you fly through Pittsburgh International Airport on Friday, Nov. 6, make sure you look for an unusual drill. The airport will simulate winter operations starting at 8 a.m local time.
It makes sense airports would practice for colder weather, though I had never given this much thought, perhaps because I live in sunny Los Angeles. According to a release, this will be an intense operation.
The drill will simulate a winter storm using multiple pieces of equipment (brooms, plows, blowers, deicers and sand trucks) on the airfield. The National Weather Service will provide the scenario, and give a winter weather forecast and presentation. Airport snow and ice removal equipment will be assembled according to simulated winds and winter conditions including freezing rain and snow.
Pittsburgh says this is important as the airport often serves as a diversion point for other East Coast airports. Apparently, Pittsburgh's snow removal team is one of the best of the industry? How do I know this? Well, it seems the airport wins awards.
"Pittsburgh International Airport is a five-time winner of the Balchen/Post Award, the top award in North America for outstanding achievement in airport snow and ice control," the airport said in the release.
Here's some video of Pittsburgh's 2012 drill from a local newspaper, the Times of Beaver County.