Airport Updates Its Fleet
It’s only really when the snow starts to fly and pile up around town that anyone’s in the mood for a snow removal equipment story. So here you go.
Earlier this month, Lake County’s Asst. Public Works Director Michael Irwin reported that the some of his crew accompanied Leadville Airport Manager Mike Huemann to the Denver International Airport’s Surplus Equipment Auction. The group was on the hunt for some new equipment for the expanding airport. And they found it.
“The timing was right,” stated Irwin, whose crew was giving the two pieces of new equipment a mechanical once over before hauling them up to the airport’s new Snow Removal Equipment (SRE) hanger.
A Snow Blaster was picked up for $18,000 and thanks to a grant from CDOT Aeronautics Division only 50% of that ($9,000) was paid for by Lake County taxpayers. This piece of equipment is valued at over $150,000 used and $200,00 -300,00 brand new.
“It was a purchase that we couldn’t pass up for Leadville. To acquire equipment like that is next to impossible at that price,” stated Airport Manager Mike Huemann.
You could think of the Snow Blaster as a big snow blower, allowing operators to push the snow farther off the runway, up to 200 feet. While the former method involved plowing the snow off to the edge of the runway, FAA requirements mandated that the snow then be removed. That extra step isn’t necessary now, improving efficiency and cutting back on labor costs.
“It will also extend the life of the new pavement put down this past summer and update our fleet,” said Huemann.
The other piece of equipment is an Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) Truck. It will be housed at the airport and used for airport emergencies and to meet safety requirements during aircraft testing, a solid revenue stream for the North America’s Highest Airport . Many companies that are spending good money testing aircrafts here like to know there is an emergency stand by if needed.
“The CDOT Aeronautics Board was very excited to see a fire truck at our airport,” stated Huemann. While it’s not mandatory for an airport Leadville’s size to have a fire truck on premises, the FAA likes to see that kind of extra emergency equipment and trained personnel on site.
To that end, airport management has been working closely with Leadville/Lake County Fire Rescue (LLCFR) to train both Huemann and Asst. Manager Andy Kapustensky to attend firefighting training to be prepared in the event of an immediate situation at the facility. However, during aircraft testing, added Huemann, they will still rely on the expertise of the local fire department and someone from LLCFR will be present, as usual.
The ARFF truck is valued at over half a million dollars and was picked up for $5,000, half of which was picked up by another CDOT grant.
Both of the pieces will be housed at the airport at the new Snow Removal Equipment Building, part of the new expansion.
In conclusion, Airport Manager Mike Huemann reported that 2012 was best year in the Leadville-Lake County Airport’s history.
“I want to thank the community for their help. I know sometimes the (aircraft) testing can be a headache, but thanks for supporting the airport and what it does for our community.”