Weather Wise: Dense valley fog’s implications on travel

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In this week's Weather Wise, we see just how much impact the fog had at the Helena Regional Airport.

Despite Helena’s fast-changing weather, the Helena Regional Airport succeeds at turning flights out with minimal delay. And this foggy weekend was no exception.

Jeff Wadecamper, HLN Assistant Airport Director, stated, "We didn’t have any airline cancellations due to the fog. We were fortunate that all the airline flights were able to get in and out. We did have some private aircraft and some corporate jets that did have to divert to other airports that couldn't get in here."

In fact, Wadecamper has been at the Helena Regional Airport for 21 years. He says fog rarely disrupts flight schedules.

"You know the most delays probably not necessarily related to weather," stated Wadecamper.

Instead, hold-ups are more commonly from mechanical checks or postponed incoming flights from bigger airports like Salt Lake or Denver. Fog usually will inhibit planes that are landing more than planes that are taking off.

Wadecamper said, "You know our minimums here are such that we have to have a half mile visibility or 200 feet vertical visibility for the aircraft to land."

Flights taking off don't need as good of visibility, which works out perfectly for the Helena airport. He says flights usually land at night before the fog sets up.

"You know in the morning it's not as stringent for taking off as it is for landing so they are able to get out of here in the morning. And then by midday, when the arriving flights come most times the fog has burnt off," stated Wadecamper.
Wadecamper says travelers should be more worried about spring break and construction delays than the weather.

Wadecamper said, "Our daily passenger load has been up 300 passengers a day plus which is you know pretty good numbers for us so yea the last couple of weeks the spring break loads have definitely increased our numbers."

And now, you're a little more Weather Wise.


Story by Ellen Bacca, Beartooth NBC. 
Sponsored by Collision Pro of Helena.
Copyright ©2012 Beartooth Communications Company. All Rights Reserved

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Weather Wise, Helena Regional Airport, Jeff Wadecamper

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