Business Aviation Insider - September/October 2013 (PREVIEW) - (Page 13)
Morgan Anderson Photography
work Closely with your destination fBo during winter operations
During winter operations, ensuring that you have made all
necessary handling and support arrangements with the destination fixed base operator (FBO) before you depart is vital.
Preparations start with having the best available information.
John Frangitani, lead dispatcher for Meridian Air Charter, said,
“One of the first things we do is check the forecast to see if
snow or icing conditions are in the outlook for the destination
airport.” Depending on how long the airplane is scheduled to be
on the ground, cold-weather planning could include considering
the availability of hangar storage and de-icing services.
Frangitani said Heber Valley near Salt Lake City is a good
example. “It has no de-icing at the airport. So we need to be
sure not to get stuck there if snow and ice are in the forecast.”
That means dropping off passengers and repositioning to a
nearby airport that has hangars or de-icing services available.
Pat Burke, operations manager for Atlantic Aviation at AspenPitkin County Airport, said his wintertime concerns focus on
de-icing procedures, but also include other services, such as
emptying lavatories. Almost every aspect of aircraft ground
handling gets tougher when the mercury drops, said Burke, who
asks that operators be patient when the snow flies. “In the cold
weather, everything takes a little longer.”
In coordinating departure and arrival times during winter,
operators should take into account possible delays resulting
from runway plowing. Check with the FBO for an assessment
of the airport’s usual performance when it comes to snow
Frangitani warned against complacency. “Don’t ever assume.
One time we had a flight going to Boston Logan, and when we
called ahead, we found they were out of de-icing fluid. That had
never happened [to us] before, but if we hadn’t called ahead, we
could have been stuck.”
Frangitani also suggests operators get details on the de-icing
fluid types (Types 1 and 4) and the number of de-icing trucks
available. At fields where there can be long waits on the taxiway for sequencing, it might be necessary to re-apply fluid
before takeoff. If the right fluid isn’t available on the FBO ramp,
or trucks are not available to de-ice on the taxiway, it might be
necessary to taxi back to the terminal and restart the de-icing.
Most important, aircraft operators and FBOs need to communicate. The FBO needs to know when aircraft are coming and
what services they will need. Pilots want to know whether or
not hangar space is likely to be available, and whether sufficient
de-icing services are in place. Operators also want advice on
operational challenges associated with the airport. Passing
along such information can mean the difference between a
pleasant stop and a midwinter nightmare. ✣
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September/October 2013 | 13
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