Newcastle International Airport’s Multihog has been used for mowing the 200 acres of grass within the perimeter since it was delivered in the spring of 2013. The upkeep of the critical areas at either end of the 2,365m runway is vital as Senior Airside Operations Manager Andy Wallace explains: “The grass in both of these 6-7 acre areas needs to be kept at a very specific height so as not to impact on aircraft Instrument Landing Systems – we are in the highest ILS Category III – so the ability to mow at all times is crucial. Last year’s summer was wet and at times it was difficult for our tractor mowers with rotary attachments to work on areas of waterlogged ground.”
The Multihog’s 4-wheel drive, low centre of gravity and very low ground pressure combined with its hydraulic drive train for powerful grass cutting avoids any risk of the base unit getting bogged down in muddy and uneven terrain, enabling easy access to the critical areas whenever needed.
The equipment gives the Airside Operations Department at Newcastle a much greater degree of control and avoids the worst case scenario of potential flight diversions due to a combination of long grass, fog and winds. A daily mowing schedule ensures quick coverage of the rest of the grassland with the front mounted flail attachment, allowing all areas to be kept under 8” high to deter birds and therefore reduce the risk of bird strikes.
Thanks to the Multihog’s extreme versatility it will swap its mower attachment for winter kit when bad weather sets in, to provide an all seasonal service. “The Multihog is unique for us in that it is designated for year round use,” says Andy. “Most of our pieces of specialist equipment are deployed for a few months at a time and then have to stand idle so its ability to switch seamlessly from grass cutting to clearing snow from the stands is of great benefit.”
“We are an innovative operation and one which makes careful use of our expenditure. Thanks to Multihog’s favourably priced range of attachments we can enhance our remit in future if required to include applications such as patch planing in car parks, the removal of rubber deposits on the runway and weed killing.”
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4th October 2013, 8:30