Bobcat machinery helps airline ground crews comply with FAA standards

For the last two years, the 10-person maintenance staff at the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport in Bentonville, Arkansas, has relied on the Bobcat A770 All-Wheel Steer Loader to perform a variety of grounds maintenance tasks.

Maintenance crews use the loader to accomplish daily activities when air traffic is lighter.

“The best time to get many jobs completed is from 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.,” Thane Seeley, airport operations specialist, said. “If you miss that window, you have to wait until midnight when the airport shuts down.”

Because of this, the window of opportunity to keep the airport grounds and taxiways safe for passengers and aircraft is often compressed. With limited time to complete the work and do the best job possible, the high-production A770 — along with six Bobcat attachments — can, at times, replace other equipment designated for a specific job.

“The Bobcat loader is so much easier on the ground surface than using our backhoe,” David Cravens, lead maintenance technician, said. “We have a really high water table and the heavy backhoe causes groundwater to swell and create deep ruts.”

The all-wheel steer loader is lightweight and maneuverable, so it can travel through mud without leaving a mess behind. Not only are ruts unsightly, but, more importantly, they create situations and hazards that are against Federal Aviation Administration regulations  

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