Trail Airport volunteers Michael Whitehead and Gordon Cook did some training on the new sweeper

Trail Airport volunteers Michael Whitehead and Gordon Cook did some training on the new sweeper

Airport lands runway sweeper

Trail airport volunteer Gordon Cook was more than willing to put in a couple hours of training Thursday, if it meant the retirement of an old runway sweeper.“It’s tired and worn out,” he laughed about   the airport’s old 1968 sweeper that’s now been put to rest since the arrival of a new one which finishes cleaning the runway down to bare pavement after it’s   plowed.About five volunteers attended the training session Thursday afternoon, where the crew got familiar with the new addition.The airport picked up the machine last week, a much-anticipated moment after the federal government granted $216,000 in funding last summer to purchase the modern unit.The former sweeper operated on a fixed speed while the new hydroelectrically operated piece of equipment gives a controller the power to adjust the speed to meet snow conditions.“It’ll make the plow truck driver’s job easier and it will lower operational costs because we won’t have to spend as much on maintenance,” said volunteer Phil Molloy.Molloy, who is also president of the Trail Flying Club and a mechanic, had to bring the old sweeper back to life on many occasions, adding there have been only a few times where the machine broke down and flights were cancelled as a result.“It’s reached its end of life,” he said.The old sweeper was purchased about five years ago when Pacific Coastal started flying out of the industrial area in Trail.Next on the wish list is a new plow truck, said Molloy, adding that the current one is over 25 years old and has had a few breakdowns, too.“It’s an ongoing program so we’re currently in application for a new snow plow but won’t hear back for the next couple months,” he said.