Jonne Sällinen from the Finavia maintenance crew at the Halli airport explains that in a test, a 300 hp tractor had been able to push through snow banks that had stopped a 500 hp truck.
The Halli airport has a runway of 2.6 kilometres. Cleaning the wide runway during a snowfall requires driving dozens of kilometres. The Valtra T254 Versu is equipped with a 5.6 metre plow in the front and a brush and blower in the back. The brush and blower work combination is relatively slow, so a truck’s higher top speed is of no advantage.
THE PLOW LEAVES A SLIM LAYER OF SNOW WHICH IS CLEARED BY THE BRUSH AND FINISHED OFF WITH THE BLOWER. RUNWAY SURFACES MUST BE PERFECTLY CLEAN TO ENSURE SAFE TAKEOFFS AND LANDINGS, EXPLAINS SÄLLINEN.
Besides being more efficient, the tractor is also more versatile and comfortable to use than a truck.
– The tractor cab provides good visibility of both corners of the plow, where as a truck leaves a blind spot to the right front corner. The operator seat in a tractor is in the centre of the machine and provides better overall visibility. The tractor is so comfortable to sit in and drive that there is almost a race in the morning to determine who gets to drive it.
During the summer months the airport has no use for trucks, they mostly stay parked up. However the tractor is versatile.
– The tractor is also used as a grass mower and dozer. As a tool, the tractor is clearly more versatile than a truck.