Dealing With Heavy Snow is no Picnic for Pilots and Controllers

  • Feb 12, 2016 8:15am GMT

It's a known reality that to fly the friendly skies you also need to be able to brave the evil realities of the changing weather. Summertime may have thunderstorms and rain, but winter snowstorms poise additional challenges that can make it far more difficult. There is so much to deal with, including snow covered runways, lowered visibility, deicing, low braking action, more deicing, etc. Keeping things safe and efficient is difficult. In fact, efficiency is one of the hardest things to maintain.

Attached below is an air traffic control recording from JFK tower during the big snowstorm that hit the east coast in 2010. Flights are delayed and the drifting snow on the runway brings up concern from the pilots and controllers. Hear their discussions and learn how everyone tries to make things work while still keeping everyone safe.

Hopefully this will provide an "other side of the fence" perspective for those of you that have experienced weather delays in the wintertime. And birds. Gotta be safe around birds too.

Ever wonder how they clear the snow off the big airports? Check out my story of snow removal at O'Hare and Ric's story about clearing snow at Dulles.