When To Close Airport Runways In Winter Weather Conditions
I learned something new today about the rules of closing airport runways.
Last week, a Delta plane slid off the runway at LaGuardia Airport. It was snowing out, but the runway was plowed. However, I learned it's not really about how much snow is coming down and removed, its about how it effects the brakes on the plane.
Wet snow could come down in inches, but if its plowed and the runway is just wet...maybe its ok. If it's cold and the plowed snow is icy, maybe it has to close even though there is not a lot of snow outside. I don't know the correct answers, I am not an expert I am just trying to make sense of what I read.
Here is the cool part I learned in an Associated Press article I read today. "There is no rule about how much snow or ice leads to a runway closing.The FAA requires airports to measure runways during winter storms to assure planes can safely brake: A specially equipped vehicle races down the runway with a computer checking braking action, and if the runway fails the test it must be closed." I REALLY want to see this vehicle!
Other pilots that landed at LaGuardia yesterday did not report any brake issues. FAA officials will investigate what happened to the Delta flight that went off the runway. No one was seriously injured and passengers report the evacuation was orderly and calm.
So, what do you think? Should there be new rules for closing runways?