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Published December 17, 2013, 06:37 PM

Process to keeping runways clear at Hector International

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - We've taken you up close to some of our area's most powerful snow-moving machines, responsible for keeping city and county roads clear during wintertime. But today, we hit the tarmac at Hector International.

By: Kay Cooley, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - We've taken you up close to some of our area's most powerful snow-moving machines, responsible for keeping city and county roads clear during wintertime.

But today, we hit the tarmac at Hector International.

After a plane slides off the runway at a Wisconsin airport.

Out here at Hector, winter cleanup is an everyday thing, with winter crews working to make sure runways are ready to go for takeoff.

When it comes to moving snow after a storm.

Henry Swedberg/Hector Operations Supervisor: “Seems like it's a necessary evil you know, haha.”

These guys have it down to a science, starting early, and staying late.

Swedberg: “Your average early morning snow, they'll call us about 3:20.”

But before any can be swept away.

A modified Saab- turned friction tester takes on the tarmac.

"Measures how slippery the runway is."

If it's too slick, the larger high-tech tools head out next.

Chris Sanders/Clearing Runway: “Basically we've got a high speed runway broom.”

These sweepers put our own snow removal efforts to shame.

Sanders: “Ah speed, you can go up to 40 miles per hour with these.”

Swedberg: “If you've got a driveway 9-thousand feet long and 150 feet wide, try to keep it clear of snow during the full event.”

The men call this long stretch their two-mile sidewalk.

Sanders: “They're pretty user friendly.”

And the guys behind the wheel can have it clear in an hour.

Sanders: “Up and down the runway, taxiways.”

Using the right combination of sweepers, salts and chemicals, or snowplows all so the planes don't slip.

Swedberg: “We try to make sure that doesn't happen, but it does happen.”

Sanders: “You don't want to have airplanes skidding around with hundreds of people's lives in jeopardy.”

An all-day process to guarantee passengers take off and touch down in Fargo safely.

Hector's clean-up crew consists of only five full time employees, and the area they're responsible for clearing measures about 200 acres.

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