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Bozeman airport technology helps winter runway operations

Posted at 2:42 PM, Sep 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-23 16:42:42-04

Bozeman Yellowstone International airport has new technology that helps planes arrive and leave the airport on time.

Winter travel can be stressful and delayed, so Bozeman Airport has installed runway sensors to measure and forecast surface conditions on the tarmac.

"A ground temperature that tells us the frost depth of how much heat is stored in the ground. As well as, surface conditions like wind and precipitation. We’re able to use that system to forecast how the upcoming what we have on the ground." said Ted Gates, airfield operations specialist with the Gallatin Airport Authority.

What these weather sensors have been doing is giving crews a heads up when they need to perform operations to get you off the ground smoothly.

"For us, it’s all about making decisions and using those tools to help us make that discretionary decision of what tool we need to implement on the runway to keep it safe and usable." Gates said.

This technology is necessary for a fast-growing airport like Bozeman. This can also cause timely challenges for on-time arrivals.

"Earlier flights going out in the morning, later flights coming in at night so we’re having to continue to expand our hours of operations to make sure that no matter when those planes come in that we’re here to take care of the runway." Gates said.

Gates added that there’s a zero-tolerance policy of snow on the runway. The technology was implemented before last winter and proved to be effective.