A Tradition Spanning Over 40 Years
A heavy snowstorm can easily cost a major airport a quarter of a million dollars for snow and ice removal alone. Associated operating delays commonly multiply the cost, and the value of the time lost by air travelers is practically incalculable but very real, nevertheless.
Fortunately, these costs and delays can be minimized by sound strategies, effective equipment and efficient techniques for coping with snow, slush and ice. These elements are exactly what the annual International Aviation Snow Symposium is all about.
The International Aviation Snow Symposium (I.A.S.S.) was first held in April 1967 in Allentown, PA under the General Chairmanship of Wilfred (Wiley) M. Post Jr., Manager of Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton Airport (ABE), and founding Honorary Chairman Col. Bernt Balchen USAF Ret. The purpose of the symposium, then and now, is to provide a forum for dialogue on the numerous aspects of winter operations at airports.
A battery of runway snow removal equipment in use.
Early discussions focused on equipment, technique and shared experiences. Today, over 40 years later, topics include the use of chemicals, advanced communications and weather reporting systems as well as environmental, security, legal and financial considerations.
The first symposium was attended by 200 individuals from the US and Canada. In recent years, as many as 800 attendees participated from countries around the world, which included Russia, Scandinavia and Canada. Currently, the International Aviation Snow Symposium is the largest gathering of its kind exclusively focused on winter airport operations.
About Bernt Balchen
Col. Bernt Balchen, USAF Ret., is the founder and honorary chairman of the International Aviation Snow Symposium. The son of a country doctor, he was born in Tveit, Norway near Kristiansand.
Balchen was an expert navigator, aircraft mechanic and aviator as well as a Norwegian-American polar and aviation pioneer. His service in the United States Army Air Force during World War II was tied to his Arctic expertise and helped the Allies in Scandinavia and northern Europe. Postwar, he continued to be an influential leader in the United States Air Force as well as in private consulting.