Airport Operations Leaders Outline Their Efforts to Keep Up Safe Runways

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When he found out about last week's tragic runway skid at Chicago Midway, Rockford's airport operations leader felt saddened but strengthened.

"It could happen anywhere. Our game plan on this end of it is to make sure our end is covered," RFD Operations and Facilities Manager Wayne Langy said.

Making sure RFD's crew is covered is spelled out on airfield condition reports. Filed every half an hour, the reports pinpoint exactly what runways and taxiways are clear and safe for landing.

"We report on the specific areas, so no matter where you are, you have a pretty good idea what the conditions are," Langy said.

Langy also says unlike Midway, RFD has a much larger buffer between runways and residences.

"While there's a lot of populace around here, we have a lot of real estate between us and the populace, so there's a big safety factor on the end of every one of the runways," Langy said.

And in the season of steady snowfall, Langy's says the Midway crash reinforces the need to accurately and repeatedly check the landing surfaces.

"Safety is paramount, and our responsibility as far as snow rules are concerned is to give the best conditions that we possibly can, so seeing something like that makes you just that more aware that you want to keep things the way they are," Langy said.

It’s a scary incident at one airport, which has the nation's airports keeping a closer watch on their own runways.

The Chicago-Rockford International Airport's operations crews have 17 pieces of snow removal equipment at their disposal.