A snow-removal salute

Published May 15, 2017 at 4:00pm

For most of us, snow is simply a nuisance. There are others, of course, who love to ski or snowmobile; they can’t get enough snow.

And, there are others, for whom snow can be a matter of safety or danger, or even life and death.

We spotted a news item the other day that our own county Department of Aviation has received a special salute for its snow-removal efforts at Griffiss International Airport.

The department received the Balchen/Post Award for excellence in the performance of snow and ice removal at the airport this past winter. The award came from the Northeast Chapter, American Association of Airport Executives.

The Balchen/Post award is named for Col. Bernt Balchen, a native of Norway who became a U.S. citizen. He was an expert in Arctic flying and warfare. The Post part of the award refers to Wiley Post, the famed aviator who died in a 1935 crash in Alaska that also killed Will Rogers.

The award was presented at the 51st annual International Aviation Snow Symposium in Buffalo. It takes a lot of planning, management, chemicals and top-notch equipment to keep the 11,820-foot-long runway open during the winter months. Taxiways, apron space and parking lots also must cleared.

Congratulations to the staff and crews who work so hard to keep our local airport in operation in wintry conditions.