Beast to feast on airport snow

Corry-Lawrence Airport Manager Dick Sorenson, who stands 5 feet 10 inches tall, is dwarfed by the “beast,” the airport’s refurbished snowblower. The 31-foot-long vehicle is parked in the airport’s new snow-removal equipment building. Journal photo by Stephen Sears

The “beast” is finally ready to be unleashed.

And that’s bad news for the heavy snow that no doubt will fall at Corry-Lawrence Airport this winter.

In 2005, the city of Corry purchased the “beast,” a behemoth, 31-foot-long snowblowing machine, from the Erie International Airport to remove snow from the runways at Corry-Lawrence Airport.

At only $1, the price was right for the yellow 1982 Norland Idaho that weighs more than 18 tons — when its 375-gallon diesel-fuel tank is empty, that is.

But the mammoth snowblower, which uses giant augers to scoop snow into a fan that can shoot snow more than 50 feet out of an adjustable blower, has been out of service most of the time — parked either on the airport runway or at the city garage on East Smith Street.

The city’s airport authority recently spent about $900 in replacement parts to repair the machine, airport Manager Dick Sorenson said. Mechanics at the city garage did the repair work.

“It’s only been used three or four times,” said Dean Johnson, the city’s head mechanic. “Hopefully, it will be OK.”

The refurbished machine is parked in the airport’s newly built snow-removal equipment building at the intersection of Spring Street and Airport Road and awaiting the coming of winter.

The 9-foot-wide beast shares space in the three-bay garage with the airport’s other snow movers, a John Deere tractor equipped with a loader, plow and a small blower, and a Ford F-550 truck equipped with a plow.

Johnson said most of the beast’s problems most likely stemmed from inactivity, as the machine was parked for a couple of years in Erie before the city of Corry bought it for a buck.

City mechanics replaced an air dryer and a bad air-compressor motor on the beast’s blower engine — one of two diesel-fuel-powered engines on the vehicle. The other engine runs the vehicle itself.

See the Journal's Thursday, October 22nd edition for full story.

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