What happens when you can't get to your secondary tower?

On Friday 30 November a 7.2 Earthquake struck Anchorage Alaska, at the time the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport was in operational, Ted Stevens is the 5th cargo hub in the world, so as the tower evacuated they went to their secondary tower and realize it also was damaged by the Earthquake. So Supervisour Clint Blaszak came up with an idea. A mobile tower in a pick up truck. They parked the truck at the North end of the runway
“Most of our equipment is windows. We had a window in the truck,” Blaszak said in an interview atop the tower Saturday. “Everybody had a radio. Everybody had a phone.”
Blaszak, said the building swayed three or four feet, and he described watching transformers blow out around town during the pre-dawn earthquake. A coffee pot was knocked from its perch, and even Saturday morning, the platform was still missing some ceiling tiles.
While Alaska Airlines diverted two jets, one to Fairbanks, and the other back to Portland cargo aircraft still moved and flew into Anchorage.

“It was just stuff, everywhere. The contents of everything just thrown all over the floor,” he said.
Immediately afterward, the tower controllers aborted an imminent landing by a FedEx jet. Their dramatic radio transmissions – “FedEx, go around, FedEx, go around!”

The airport’s three runways needed to be inspected for cracks before they could reopen, which airport manager Jim Szczesniak said took about eight minutes.
Once the magnitude of the earthquake became clear, the controllers all evacuated. Blaszak headed down the spiral staircase from the observation deck carrying a pair of radios.
Inside the truck, he said, the three controllers split up their duties. One worked the runways and taxiing, a second worked with another group of controllers that handle planes farther from the airport and a third coordinated.


How amazing! What an ingenious way to still run the airport. Great job to those controllers! Thanks for sharing this, Mark. :)


Thought it was a real cool story!

1 Like

That’s genius and a smart move on the controllers move

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