ICE & SNOW REMOVAL FROM AIRPORT LIGHTING CANISTERS, PULL-PITS, AND OTHER ENCLOSURES
Central Alaska Metalworks Inc. introduces
The ThawHead ®
In the field of aviation, whether civil or military, cold weather climates present significant challenges for the personnel charged with maintaining airfield lighting systems. Fully functioning airfield lights can mean the difference between life and death. Nowhere is this truer than in Alaska’s rural towns and remote villages, the majority of which are accessible only by air. When there’s a medical crisis, whether at Nome Alaska (left) or points south, emergency aircraft depend on an airport with working lights. Shutting down an airport runway due to light failure caused by ice-filled in-pavement runway lights is not an option.
(Airport at Nome, Alaska
3:45 p.m. December 2015.
Photo credits: S. Gackstetter)
At 40 inches tall, 11 inches in diameter and less than 40 pounds, The ThawHead™ is a portable apparatus that excels at thawing ice and removing the melted water and debris, quickly and efficiently, to expose the interior of the area or container needing repair work.
Watch The ThawHead in action!
Anatomy of a runway light: The light itself is a contained, sealed unit that screws to the top of each canister, and is relatively impervious to the ravages of weather. The 12-inch round, 2-foot deep canister is sunk into the ground so the light is flush with the surface, and this is where the system runs into problems. Since the seal between the light and the canister is not perfect, the canisters routinely fill up with snow, water and gravel, freezing into a solid mass that must be removed before the light can be serviced. In the past, this has involved a laborious process of chipping away with a hammer, chisel and screwdriver. Not only does this take about two hours to do, but the transformer and wiring are often damaged in the process. At remote Alaskan airports, this method can average 60 to 90 minutes per canister and with risk of damage to the transformer and/or wiring. The ThawHead accomplishes the complete thawing/excavation job in around 12 to 15 minutes from start to finish.
We also manufacture The Thaw Rig, an optional, self-contained ThawHead support system housed in an insulated trailer that can be pulled behind an ATV or snowmachine. The trailer contains a pressure washer, electric heater, water tank, water pump, generator, battery charger and antifreeze storage tank, and has room inside for the ThawHead apparatus itself. The unit carries enough fuel to support four hours of operation and can operate in temperatures down to 20 below zero, making it ideal for use in remote, rural Alaska runways.