Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Wed, February 29 2012 at 3:55 PM, Updated: Wed, February 29 2012 at 4:08 PM
Keeping the ten thousand foot runway at the Klamath Falls Airport clear of ice and snow has kept crews busy today.
Keeping roads clear is one of Sam Pagan's duties...
"Snow removal here at the airport is quite a procedure. We've had crews here tonight for going on twelve hours."
Airport Operations Manager Bill Hancock agrees...
"It kicked in probably at about 7 o'clock last night, and we started plowing snow around 11 o'clock"
And they've been plowing ever since. Master Sergeant Dave Armstrong notes that the snow kept the F-15's grounded this morning...
"Makes it so that we can't fly, because the jets have to have a certain number before they can fly."
Bill Hancock explains that number is from a machine called a 'Bowmonk'.
"That measures the braking coefficient on the runway."
So, is it safe to land on a runway following a snow storm?
"I guess it depends on the plane, and the pilot." Notes Sam Pagan.
It also depends on how well the plows are able to keep up with the snow.
The snow did result in a cancellation of one commercial flight out of Klamath Falls, and a minor delay for another. A 9:30 United flight was cleared for takeoff at around 10.
The plows at Kingsley Field begin work any time there's a half-inch or more of snow on the ground, and Sam Pagan keeps going until the snow is gone...
"Job's not over. I'll probably be here for 10, 12 hours today, just trying to get things caught up so that when the next one hits, we're at some point where we can start fresh."
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.
Lyle's job history is quite colorful. He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.
Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience. "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".
When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.