Typically when the temperature drops below freezing, the airport brings out a device called CASPER, a helium-filled balloon that uses crushed dry ice to aid visibility. Last year, it was out of commission due to a shortage of helium. Instead, the airport has two carbon dioxide cannons that load on one of its vehicles to disperse the freezing fog.
The airport said this alternative method is more affordable, time-efficient and just as effective as CASPER.
“Typically what we see here in Medford is not freezing fog, it’s a warm fog and that’s just you know nature has to take its course, Debbie Smith, Deputy Director with Rogue Valley International Medford Airport said. “If there’s a freezing fog way below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, that’s when other methods would come into play like the Co2 cannons.”
The airport said the solution only works for a few minutes and allows one plane to land at a time. Smith said last year, the airport didn’t need the cannons.