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Snow Removal for Airport

Discussion in 'Government Property Snow Removal' started by TUPilot, Feb 29, 2016.

  1. Whiffyspark

    Whiffyspark 2000 Club Member
    from SOMD
    Messages: 2,403

    If he wants a 16 foot box he needs the weight for long pushes. We run 8-10 foot boxes on skid steers but we're all tracks.

    We get one good snow storm every year lately and a bunch of little ones. We got hit dead center with the blizzard this year, his area got even more than we did. We were over 18 inches across 3 days lol
  2. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,256

  3. Aerospace Eng

    Aerospace Eng Senior Member
    Messages: 304

    Metalpless lists 125 & up for its biggest agrimax, which forms a 12' wide box.

    For a 16 foot box, I think you would be looking at something in the 20,000 lb range, based on the loader sizes recommended by avalanche or protech. Weight (traction) is going to be more important than HP for pushing.

    I think 125 hp is way too small for windrowing snow at airports. IN reading some of the forums on here, people are using up to 100 hp for driveway work, and throwing snow that has been compacted into a 3-4 foot high snowbank is much tougher.

    Most loader mount blowers have a 250-300 hp engine. The old sicard KPJC has uses an 8V71 (318 or so hp) to run the blower head, and most of the ones you find for sale are using 300 hp or more (DT466E, 8V92, etc.) for the blower.

    One of the airport blowers we looked at before getting the one we have was an Idaho Norland, with hydraulic drive and an 8V92T (450 hp) that ran everything. The manager commented that he felt it was underpowered due to the hydraulic drive robbing power compared to shafts.

    We don't have enough experience with ours to be able to give you a good estimate on MMH per usage hour. The guy we bought it from used it for blowing snow into a detention pond from a parking lot. He put 20 hours a year on it, and indicated he hadn't really done anything except change fluids for the 10 years he had it.

    Get an ag tractor for plowing and a separate chassis mounted blower. You will probably only put 50 hours or less a year on the blower. While this may seem like a low usage to be worth having its own chassis, used ones from Canada are cheap, particularly with the favorable exchange rate.($15K-$35K) Hire a consultant familiar with them to inspect and give you a condition report.

    These would probably be overkill...

    These one about the right size

    Having a separate blower and tractor will enable you to do it faster and have some way to clear the runway, taxiway, and some of the ramp if one or the other breaks down.
  4. Whiffyspark

    Whiffyspark 2000 Club Member
    from SOMD
    Messages: 2,403

    Aero we don't get that kind of snow here. I think a 12 foot box or wing plow would suit him better than a 16. A 125 hp tractor might push 16 but I can't tell you how far it'll be able to push.

    He hasn't posted a budget so this might be all for naught. Just a 125 hp tractor is pushing 6 figures. Used probably 60-70k? Idk
  5. BUFF

    BUFF PlowSite Fanatic
    from FR NoCo
    Messages: 9,092

    Budget's and ROI also hasn't been answered.

    There has been couple equipment suggestion that make sense for an area that sees mulch more snow with higher accumulations per storm. It's a small non commercial airport that get's <25" a year, most storms are 1-2" with a few 3-4" storms.
    Here's a couple options:
    85-100 hp Ag tractor, 12-14' Avalanche or MetalPless multi position plow and a blower.
    1ton pickup, 9.2' or 9.5' Vplow with wings, 16' Ebling back plow
    Get a 15' Batwing mower for the summer.
    Cost $160-175K depending on mfr.

    You can handle the 5yr storm and mow in the summer. You'll have more repairs and maintenance, more training and out of pocket cost.

    Winter lease a front loader
    Buy a 12-14' Avalanche or MetalPless multi position plow
    1ton pickup, 9.2' or 9.5' Vplow with wings, 16' Ebling back plow.
    Equip Cost $65K <>
    Est Lease per yr $8-9K<>

    Positive is a new/newer machine, minimal maintenance, don't have a lot of capital in a machine that may see 100-150hrs a year. Will handle everything except blowing. Less training. Not a huge investment for a "lets do this in house" initiative.

    "2" 1ton pickup, 9.2' or 9.5' Vplow's, 16' Ebling back plow.
    Cost $110K<>

    Lower operating cost, easy to run, less training.
    Takes longer, the 5yr storm will be a challenge.

    Our local muni airport has a 4000'X75' runway, taxi way and hangers mulch like the one in this thread and it's plowed with 2 pickups with 8611 Blizzard Power Plows. Sure it takes time but it's a muni airport and small planes don't fly in crappy weather.
  6. TUPilot

    TUPilot Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    As far as why... Reliability, Quality, Cost. All three have been an issue with contractors. The solution may be better contractors, rather than bringing it in house, but we want to evaluate all different options. I think part of the issue (and something a few folks have alluded to) is that airports are a different beast, and most contractors don't have the tools to effectively meet all the requirements we have. So we either need to look at doing it ourselves, are we are picking from a very small number of contractors.

    Budget is TBD; depending on the capability we decide to go for either of the suggestions you made would be in the realm of possibility. Its ultimately up to our board.

    Because of some EMS operations on our field, we do need to reopen quickly after a storm. And truck plows don't really work past an inch or two of accumulation; as Aerospace Eng pointed out there are restrictions on how high the snow can get adjacent to taxiways and runways. In the past we've had to move snow with wheel loaders, etc, after the plows come through and leave piles. A blower (for the large areas) and pusher (where the pushes would be shorter) seem like better options, and none of our contractors have them.
  7. Whiffyspark

    Whiffyspark 2000 Club Member
    from SOMD
    Messages: 2,403

    There's no reason a contractor shouldn't have a pusher on site. If this goes out for bid send me a pm
  8. 1olddogtwo

    1olddogtwo PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,174

  9. Aerospace Eng

    Aerospace Eng Senior Member
    Messages: 304

    I agree you don't need a 16' box. I believe I said I wouldn't go bigger than 16, and then answered a question about what it would take to push one.

    I think an ag tractor for plowing and/or pushing is a great idea.

    Even though you don't get a lot of snowfall, over a big area the total piles up quickly. A 1" snowfall of relatively wet snow, which is what I recall getting there when I lived there, will create a windrow 2' high and 3' wide at the edge of the runway, and weigh about 250 tons. So at 1500 tons per hour it should take about 10 minutes to blow the runway clear, but realistically will probably take about 20 minutes as the blower will only be traveling 3-5 feet per second.

    Pushing a 1" snowfall with a typical 4' tall box 360 feet will result in an approximately 4' tall x 14' wide triangular bank that needs to be eliminated.

    For 1.2 million square feet at 1" and 25 lb/ft^3, there is 1250 tons of snow, so figure an hour of blowing per inch of snowfall even with a 200 hp blower.

    For the snowblower, you could, for example, use a Shulte 117 size on a PTO, but you are going to spend $20K (MN DOT prices for 2013) on one without a tractor. A loader mount snowblower like a single stage Sicard 2200 is going to be around $12K used, and you still need a loader.

    As previously mentioned by others, one advantage to having multiple machines is that after the runway gets plowed, the blower can start on it while the taxiway is plowed, and then do it while the ramp is being pushed, so the overall time is significantly shortened.

    If you get a used dedicated chassis mount snowblower, overkill though it may be, it will be less than buying a tractor you don't have and not much more than buying a sufficiently large pto blower by itself. I wouldn't buy a chassis or loader mount snowblower new for this airport, as they can easily be mid 6 figures.

    Slight Digression...

    By way of example, KPJC bought the 1986 rebuild of the Sicard for $14K this year (I originally noticed it in one of the few serious craigslist finds on plowsite). Fundamentally the only problem with it that we have had is that the left front axle/cv joint was broken. It wasn't discovered when it was looked at prior to purchase, as it was on grippy pavement when it was tested and the transfer case was locked into 4WD low, so the person from the airport who was inspecting it missed it. For the future, he should have put the transfer case in neutral and tried to spin the driveshafts by hand individually. During a recent freezing rain/snow event the blower lost traction on the rears and it became obvious that even with the transfer case locked and the front driveshaft turning, the front wheels weren't turning.

    It will probably cost about $1K in parts (spare surplus axle) to get it fixed. The big problem has been finding the spare parts as the front f3200 drive steer axle (frame, axles, rear motor cover, and blower clutch are all that is left of the 1948 original blower) was made in late 1946 by Timken Detroit Axle (who became Rockwell in 1953 and then Arvin Meritor and Axletech more recently).

    At 10-20 hours per year, I'll probably be dead before this blower wears out.

    Change the fluids and grease the chassis once a year, and grease the blower once per storm while the engines are warming up.
  10. Aerospace Eng

    Aerospace Eng Senior Member
    Messages: 304

    How do you get rid of the banks on the side?

    Do you plow with the storm or just wait until it is over?

    KPJC is also zero tolerance in the sense that even if it 1/2 inch it gets removed. However, the airport waits until it is over if less than about 4" and at night, and then plows/pushes/brooms/blows. If it is snowing during the day and people are flying, then as long as the airport is above landing visibility minima the runway, taxiway, and part of the ramp is kept clear.

    Since we didn't get much snow this year, I'm reposting two pictures from last winter.... One is what the ramp areas looks like when pushed, and one that shows what everything looks like after brooming.

    I also have included a picture of the blower working a few weeks ago on a pile left after about 1" of snow was pushed 750 feet.

    Single Pass effic.jpg

    Broomed Ramp.jpg

    Snowblower working.jpg
  11. Whiffyspark

    Whiffyspark 2000 Club Member
    from SOMD
    Messages: 2,403

    He's just screwing with you artic brought the property for headquarters
  12. Aerospace Eng

    Aerospace Eng Senior Member
    Messages: 304

    Thanks. I knew Artic was at an airport, but didn't realize that owned it or that it wasn't still an open public use airport. I learn something new every day.
  13. Aerospace Eng

    Aerospace Eng Senior Member
    Messages: 304

    So after a little checking on Airnav....

    Artic Aviation LLC owns the Frankfort, IL Airport. It is a private use airport with permission required before landing.

    That being said, it had 23 single engine and one multi engine based aircraft based at the airport in 1998, the last year the FAA was given information. The runway is 4203x50 feet, and Artic would have experience keeping it clear unless it closes all winter.

    Thus, I don't think the referenced post is trolling, although the video didn't contain any information relevant to the OPs questions. I think that serious answers to the questions would be both informative and interesting.

    As a private airport it is not subject to FAA requirements/recommendations for snow clearance from the runway edge, or for snow clearance times. On the other hand, Artic's website indicated that they purchased "multiple" 1200 hp airport style blowers in 2013. Based on the video (at about 2:15) there appear to be two chassis mount blowers. No idea as to brand. I don't know if they use them at their airport or elsewhere.


    I would, and I think that the OP and followers of the thread would be interested in Artic's experience with them, and their cost to purchase and operate. Does Artic find them too big? Why or Why not? If Artic doesn't use them on their airport, do they just leave snowbanks at the pavement edge or use something else to push them back away from the pavement?
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2016
  14. TUPilot

    TUPilot Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    Nice. Of course, we wouldn't have a place to put our aircraft!

    Aerospace Eng--thanks for the info on your experience with the blower. I think our big concern with a piece of equipment like that is parts and finding someone qualified to work on it. Lots of great options out there, but I don't know if any models/brands are better supported, more reliable, or simpler to work on. Any research that you guys did before getting yours?

    As a general question--should we go with a mounted blower, is there anything I need to know about PTO. It seems pretty standard on modern equipment, but if we are looking at a used tractor from the 80s or 90s would we need to watch out for compatibility? I realize this question may be more applicable to a tractor forum than here, but you never know.

    It looks like some of the Versatile 4WD tractors might be good options--200ish HP, 20,000 pounds or so, and seem to be able to accept a variety of snow moving and agricultural attachments so we'd be able to keep it busy year round.
  15. Aerospace Eng

    Aerospace Eng Senior Member
    Messages: 304

    For most of the companies, we found that support and spares were still available for the blower heads, with the possible exception of Idaho Norland which was bought by Schmidt who then went bankrupt. It's really the blower head that is the only difficult part.

    Larue, Sicard/SMI, Snowblast, Kodiak Northwest (started by Ex Idaho Norland employees), Oshkosh, SnoGo, Wasau Everest, Zaugg, and probably some others that make chassis mount snowblowers or blowers for other manufacturers chassis are all still around for their blower heads.

    I don't know about Loader Mount or PTO blower head support, as we decided to go the chassis mounted route fairly early on rather than buying a tractor or loader. With the low prices of the used chassis mounts it just seemed to make the most sense. The blower head is the most expensive piece. The guy we got the blower from indicated that he had a $10K offer for the head alone, so given that, the chassis was almost free. To inspect the blower we looked at the fan and paddles and augers, then ran it to make sure everything was in balance and not making any funny noises.

    The engines are made by someone else, so you have to evaluate what support for an Allis Chalmers, International, Detroit, etc. is in your area. The one we got has the old 2 cycle Detroits that were installed in 1986 in place of the original Hercules (chassis) and Hall-Scott or Buda blower motor, but they are still well supported by MTU, parts and some engines are still in production.

    The clutch for the blower is made by Twin Disc, and they are still thriving and supporting products, and rebuild shops are plentiful. It's really no different than clutches on many pieces of industrial equipment, so it's not oddball.

    Everything else on the chassis is just truck and tractor stuff. Rockwell transfer case, Bendix air compressor, Donaldson air filters, Eaton hydraulic pumps, Eaton solenoid valves, unknown manufacturer hydraulic cylinders, etc.
  16. Aerospace Eng

    Aerospace Eng Senior Member
    Messages: 304

    If you start pushing a lot of snow, articulating or 4 wheel telehandler type steering works much better than front wheel steering.
  17. Philbilly2

    Philbilly2 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,797

    I am not sure what the mounted blower exactly means, if you are talking about on a 3 point as I am assuming by asking about the PTO, there are only two speeds of PTO in tractors which are 540 and 1000 PTO's. Tractors all the way back to the 60's tractors had 1000 PTO's were available as far back as my knowledge goes. My dad had a late 60's 756 with both 540 and 1000 pto's. They might go back further than that, but before my time of knowledge or even able to remember. Is that what you are referring to by mounted? I am not a blower guy so I don't know the preformace difference between a 540 and 1000 blower, but if 540 is good... 1000 must be better right??? :laughing:

    Watch out with the 4wd tractors when you are looking at them. 4wd ag tractors are common to be found in a "bareback" setup which will have no 3 point and no PTO. Those are strictly pulling tractors that only have hydro remotes and a drawbar meant for pulling cultivators, anhydrous bars, disks, planters, grain carts, or even scraper pans if they came from an excavation company. They will be quite a bit cheaper, as we refer to them as "cheap horsepower" but if you are looking to run a blower or like wise attachment that requires 3 point or a PTO on the tail end, they will do you no good.
  18. Philbilly2

    Philbilly2 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,797

    Agreed Thumbs Up:nod:
  19. TUPilot

    TUPilot Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    Good points. A couple I was looking at were listed as bareback, so I figured I'd need to learn what that meant. It looks like several manufacturers made bidirectional cab 4WD tractors with articulating steering in the 200hp/20,000 pound class. Seems like if we can find a good one in our price range with the right attach points it could be a winner.
  20. LapeerLandscape

    LapeerLandscape 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,247

    Bareback means it does NOT have 3 point hitch, just a straight draw bar and hydraulics.