Problems at Heathrow (LHR)

[Update 2013-01-20 08:07:46] They have just announced that 20% of flights today are canceled because of forecast snow later today.  I’d call your airline if you are scheduled to fly out of LHR.  Here’s a screenshot from the LHR Website:


Yesterday, we got about 2in / 6cm of snow here at our house.  It snowed fairly steady all day with no big bursts, etc….  Two years ago we got about 6 inches in 2 hours and the airport closed for a week.  I wondered how the airport coped.  I woke up this morning to this:  Weather: Snow And Ice Causes Heathrow Misery

Watching the news, they talked about how the number of planes landing/taking off was reduced because they were limited to one runway.  This after spending a zillion pounds on new snow removal equipment.  What they described was this:  close one runway, clear it while using the other for flightops, then close that one, clear it while using the other.  Now, I’m not a pilot.  I don’t claim to be one.  I don’t play one on TV.  However, I’m sure the process used in all but the heaviest snow fall goes something like this:

Lengthen time between takeoffs/landings
Preposition the equipment at the end of the runway
Plane lands/takes off
They have a 5 minute window to go from one end of the runway to the other.  1 pass and clear what you can.
Go back to position yourself at the start and repeat
Do this until the snow stops

Now, as the snow gets heavier, this won’t work so you’ll have to pause operations.  Does anyone want to comment?  Anyone with experience with airport snow/ice removal?

By the way, here’s a video of snow removal at IAD a few years ago of them coping with a heavy snow:

Here’s a link to the fvl of the video I downloaded for archive purposes

[Update 2013-01-20 18:45:43]  Here’s links to other posts about the UKSnowpocalypse2013:

UKSnowpocalypse2013 has just begun
UKSnowpocalypse2013 — Pictures
UKSnowpocalypse2013 — More Pictures

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