Airport Maintenance

While smaller airports offer an alternative choice for travelers, they must be maintained just like their larger counterparts. If someone were to build a small airport today, more than likely they would study the pros and cons of a larger facility to see what needs to go into the process. Now that is if you were starting an airport from scratch. Many of the smaller airports that exist today didn’t come out of that same mindset. Many inspiring airport owners started with a single plane and a small runway.

This is prevalent in rural areas where the demand for frequent air travel is lower. A pilot will have one plane and invest in a runway to be utilized to ferry small numbers of passengers. But as cities and towns grow, the need for expansion may be inevitable. Do you know how happy a pilot would be to invest in more planes, and lay out more runways to handle the expanded traffic? But with this slow kind of build out, there can be some pitfalls that he normally would not have thought of. Many times they start with a small building, and then try to expand upon that as needed. But some older buildings can have safety and structural issues that weren’t thought of in the past. The structures that don’t utilize more modern materials that are self maintaining, yearly or semi annually inspections are absolutely necessary. As more and more people occupy the buildings, they must be able to withstand the expanded capacity. Many small second-story structures are only meant to hold a certain amount of weight, and that must be taken into effect as your business grows.

Also the walls of older structures are prone to environmental problems such as mold, and allergens collecting in the ventilation system. Jordan, a NE HVAC technician sees these all of the time. While out on a King of Prussia AC install, he received a call from from a small PA airstrip. They had a mildewy smell coming from the ceiling supports. Something as simple as a little mold, could shut down your operation for weeks and end up being very expensive.

Also seasonal maintenance of your climate control events is crucial to avoid mold risks, and keep the area clean and safe for your customers. As many new businesses start, they have no way of predicting how big they will grow in the future. They start on a shoestring budget, and work with what they have. But as small airports grow, they have to keep in mind the influx of new traffic, and always be vigilant that their structures and materials can handle the increased growth. Expansion is very exciting, but it is also something that must be evaluated constantly to keep everything running smoothly.

Airport Security

Airport security is one of the biggest topics in the country today. Ever since 9/11 security measures in our nations airports have been on the forefront of everyone’s minds. When airport x-ray machines between all the rage in the 70s and 80s we figured we had taken the dominant steps towards ending terror attacks in the sky. But unfortunately a lot of terrorists are very ingenious and will come up with clever ways to get around our security measures.

body scanner

Obviously the most common way this is utilized is through fake IDs and disguises. With many of the older camera systems unable to get a crisp and clear picture of people as they come and go, I suspect with a disguise it would make such an effort almost completely unidentifiable . And many times even if you could get a clear picture, you wouldn’t be able to pinpoint that specific individual. And as weaponry has also advanced, the ability to get different types of weapons onboard aircraft has become easier Let’s face it, you can fit a lot of plastique into a toothpaste tube. Not to mention hair products, foot creams, and lotions. To airport security they would look like regular bathroom needs, but to a trained operative it would be weapons of mass distraction.

So what positive changes have been made? ID scanners for one thing have been able to rule out all of the clever fake drivers licenses. There is a barcode on the back and only a real document issued by the state government agency would pass inspection. Passports are also required for all international flights which create a second layer of protection against fraudulent entry. But I think the most important component is the facial recognition software that gets better and better every year. So even with a clever disguise, it is able to pinpoint enough facial characteristics to identify anyone with me to do us harm.

4 Most Dangerous Small Airports in the World

4 Most Dangerous Small Airports in the World

Air travel has made the world a much smaller place, people can reach the four corners of the earth simply by purchasing a plane ticket to get them there.  Big metropolitan airports sort and send people all over, they are small cities in their own right.  These airports have every amenity that you can think of and they observe every safety feature you can imagine.  However not all airports are created equal and some are downright dangerous.  Let’s have a look at the 4 most dangerous small airports in the world.

Lukla Airport

If climbing Everest or taking a spiritual journey through Nepal is in your future then chances are you are going to land here.  The runways are small!  The average runway is only 20 meters wide (slightly less than 70 feet) and half a kilometer long, but it is the incline that is truly frightening, it is a staggering 20%.  There is a mountain on one side and 700 meter drop on the other…close your eyes during takeoff and landing.  Yes, there have been some crashes, but if you’re willing to brave Everest, chances are you’re willing to brave the airport.  Here is a look.

Juancho E Yrausquin

This small airport can be found in Saba in the Caribbean and this makes the list because of how landings and takeoffs are done.  While there hasn’t been a tragedy as of yet, one side of the runway has very high hills and the other drops off into the water.  The length of the runway is tiny at just 400 meters that means only small planes or a helicopter can land here.  There is a tower but it is only there to give advice rather than control any air traffic there might be.  You can’t get fuel here either so if you don’t bring enough with you…well you’re here to stay.

Courchevel

Courchevel is a ski town in the French Alps, the whole town was built just for skiing rather than being an existing village that has been there for years.  Like the other airports on this list it has a really short runway of roughly half a kilometer, but a steep gradient of 19%.   If you are coming into Courchevel you have to land on the higher incline so you can slow down and conversely you have to take off going downhill in order to pick up enough speed.

Princess Juliana International Airport

This is a bigger and busier airport than the others and it serves as a hub for the nearby airports.  The runway is a good sized but the jets have to fly very low to land.  Sunbathers on the nearby beaches get a very up close view of the underside of a jet and let’s not forget that these jets aren’t quiet either.  There are signs all around the area to warn people of the low flying jets.

Avoid the Chaos and Fly from a Smaller Airport

Avoid the Chaos and Fly from a Smaller Airport

If you have ever flown out of O’Hare, Heathrow or LAX then you can understand how chaotic an airport can be, especially during the holiday seasons.  These airports handle millions of passengers per week and for seasoned travelers the airport is the worst part of a trip.  Smaller airports can seem like heaven after trying to navigate LAX.

Discount Airlines

One of the perks of air travel in the past decade has been the rise of discount airlines.  These are barebones flights to and from your destination with no bells and whistles.  There is no first class seating, no inflight meals or movies it’s simply a cheap way to get from point A to point B.  The other perk of these airlines is that they usually fly out of smaller airports.  In New York for example instead of flying out of  LaGuardia or JFK you can fly cheaply and conveniently from Newark Airport.  Major cities all over the country have smaller airports with less lines and a much easier time getting on board your flight.

Smaller Terminals

Smaller terminals are usually just a single story and Arrivals and Departures are right next to each other.  You don’t have as many problems parking nor do you need to take a shuttle from one part of the airport to the other.  Unless it is Thanksgiving weekend check in should be relatively quick.  Check your bags and then the departure area is right around the corner and often it can be done in 10 minutes or less.

Once you pass through security and you are in the departure area, you won’t find the same amenities that you’re will find in a major airport but there will usually be a couple of duty free stores and a few places to eat.  Generally there is more than enough seating and washrooms nearby.  There is typically only a handful of gates so finding yours won’t be that difficult, in fact you will probably be able to see all of them from your seat.

Arrivals

Landing at one of the smaller airports is breeze even if you have checked your luggage.  The planes are usually parked very close to the terminal so it takes no time at all for luggage to be unloaded.  Your luggage will probably arrive in the terminal at the same time or within a few minutes of you.  If you are flying in and need a rental car that won’t be a problem, there are usually a rental car counter or two and picking up your car will also only take a few minutes.

Smaller airports may not have spas or the other amenities but if you want to travel quickly and with minimal headaches then a smaller airport is the way to go.