Friday, August 21, 2009

Suggestions for new Sun Valley airport

Only a handful of airports in the nation offer free parking and Twin Falls is one. Offering free parking at the proposed Sun Valley Airport would offset expenditures for travelers who complain about the extra drive and help to compete with Twin. Free parking would also help jumpstart the popularity of the new airport and encourage air travel, which lately has been inundated by higher security and fuel costs.

Another thing airport planners should consider is a large indoor heated deicing structure for aircraft to taxi through, minutes before flying off. Such a structure could be designed with environmentally friendly drains for collecting the used deicing fluid and perhaps recycling it later. Another possibility would be to remove the dangerous ice from aircraft with modernized microwave systems. Having a heated hanger for either of these options would lessen the amount of deicing fluid and / or microwaves required.

The deicing booth could double in summer as a car wash. The airport authority could advertise this airplane ‘car wash’ and remind pilots who spiff up their wings there, that they are also helping to offset the cost of free parking, thus popularizing modern Idaho airport travel.

1 comment:

JBanholzer said...

When the old airport here shuts down, it will be interesting to see how much contamination is in the soil from deicing aircraft. There could be a heavy cost involved, hauling off soil to a certified toxic-waste-receiving-dump. (This is not all bad, because it will give excavation contractors some work)

About fifteen years ago, the airlines switched over from Ethylene Glycol to the much less toxic Propylene Glycol. This foresight may have helped the contamination problem, but we will probably need to drill some test holes in the affected earth, before we can build anything new.

The spots where Sky West and Horizon currently deice their aircraft (actually, hardly ever in August) will be easy to pinpoint, because they have always performed their deicing procedures in that concentrated area. However, the private vendor and its previous incarnations have for year’s deiced aircraft in various spots, to the sides of the taxiway.

This too, may have given us some advantage –the spreading out of the toxins. And as water has amazing dissolution powers, the plenteous rain we’ve received in recent years, probably has helped this problem. However, this whole deicing contamination issue is something we will need to examine closer within a few years.