Sand, fuel, and maintenance; those are only three of the resources the Ford Airport in Kingsford has been plowing through this winter.
â??In the beginning of the year, we ordered 550 ton of sand,â?? said airport manager, Tim Howen. â??In the first month and a half of winter, we've gone through half of that at least. Right now we're on the last quarter of sand that we have available to us,â?? Howen said.
How is theyâ??re fuel usage? Youâ??d better believe theyâ??re going through that just as quickly. Theyâ??ve already passed the fuel usage amount of what it was last year at the very end of the season.
â??Weâ??re seeing 1,000 gallons, it seems like, every other week right now,â?? Howen said. â??Where we may have gotten two to three loads a winter before, right now we're up over six, and we still have quite a bit of winter left.â??
Howen is right, and that means the work will continue to be demanding for the employees here.
â??Weâ??re such a small station that we do everything,â?? said employee, Kody Demarais. â??Weâ??ll give you your ticket, we'll walk you to the plane, we'll de-ice the plane, we'll wave you out; you'll see us every step of the way here,â?? Demarais said.
If you're a passenger flying above, chances are you'll see what looks like a winter tsunami below.
â??Itâ??s continuous plowing at a quarter of an inch until the flights get in,â?? Howen said. â??We have to maintain braking actions that are good enough for the crosswinds for the aircraft to land safely.â??
For the aircraft to land safely, every one of the hundreds of 30-inch runway lights and all of the signs must be visible; this means caution when plowing and some grunt work involved. Another reason, besides the winter, the airport is using so many of its resources is simply the traffic flow. They say they've been seeing more travelers, and that their parking lot has never been fuller.
â??Weâ??re trying to find new places to park cars right now, we justâ?|our parking lot is full,â?? Howen said.
This means great business for them, but also more work as the winter continues to send its message that it isn't over yet.