The 49th Tactical Fighter Wing, based at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, has maintained an enviable record of never having had the runway closed because of ice and snow the past three winters and at times, being the only airfield open in Europe.
Base Operations with sign welcoming you to Spangdahlem, Germany.
Zippo process in action on taxiway.
Series of shots of Zippo in action.
Taxiway s Zippo ice remover goes by burning ice off.
Flame thrower rolling over taxiway.
Sweeper going by sweeping up the water.
F-105 take off.
Two F-105s take off.
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Background: The 49th Tactical Fighter Wing, based at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, has maintained an enviable record of never having had the runway closed because of ice and snow the past three winters and at times, being the only airfield open in Europe.
As part of the NATO counter forces, equipped with the world's most powerful fighter bomber, the F-105 Thunderchief, it is imperative that taxiways and runway remain operational.
The winter weather in this are normally involves nocturnal groundfog and freezing temperatures resulting in the accumulation of rime ice on paved surfaces.
To decrease the maintenance woes on the Sicard sweepers and the man hours spent preventing and removing ice, CMS Jack A. McClung, NCOIC of the Maintenance and Repair Section, devised and fabricated a trailer towed heat producing device appropriately dubbed "Zippo." This apparatus consists of seven boiler burners, burning atomized pressure mogas. Each burner is capable of producing 200,000 BTU of heat. The ice removal train consists of a trailer mounted compressor and fuel tank, followed by a Wayne vacuum sweeper or a front and broom tracor depending on the thickness of the accumulation. Heat application is controlled by adjusting the angle of attack of the flame, and also by adjusting the speed at which the train moves.
Zippo was further modified by the addition of a heat box which prevented the heat loss in an upward direction. With knowledge gained from Zippo #1, a new modified two burner version was modified and dubbed Zippo #2. The chief difference being that only one fuel pressure regulator and fuel filter were installed on Zippo #2 in lieu of one regulator per burner on Zippo #1. Ignition for each burner on Zippo #2 is provided by a spark plug energized by a magneto and distributer, controlled by the truck driver.