Ohio State elevates emergency exercise at John Glenn Columbus International Airport

Posted: September 24, 2020
Image of mock emergency at John Glenn Columbus International Airport
Visual and thermal images from the mock emergency scene

Emergency responders recently descended on runway 10L at the John Glenn Columbus International Airport. Flames billowed and passengers were counted. But it wasn’t for an emergency and they weren’t real passengers – this was for an exercise required by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Participating in the drill were The Ohio State University Airport’s UAS pilots. Flying above the mock scene and equipped with a high-quality camera, the Ohio State drone provided valuable visual and thermal footage to inform response tactics.

Airport Director Adam Wolf and Assistant Director Airfield Operations Dale Gelter each piloted the UAS during the full-scale triennial exercise on September 9, as well as during practice sessions with the Columbus Regional Airport Authority (CRAA) team.

Wolf was appreciative of the opportunity to collaborate. “I would like to thank Chris Pollock and Luke Curtis from the CRAA team for coordinating with us for this event,” he said. “We are excited to expand the use of our UAS platform through collaborative efforts such as these.”

Image of drone flying and UAS pilot on the ground
UAS pilot Dale Gelter

The use of UAS for airport safety and facilities management is a new application of the technology.

“This collaboration not only strengthened the emergency response effort of John Glenn International, but also allowed us to expand the use of our UAS,” said Gelter. “State-of-the-art UAS technology continues to develop and we are happy to share our experiences utilizing it for airport safety.”

Ohio State Airport is one of the only airports in the region to utilize the UAS technology in required airfield operations and safety protocols.

“We are now using the drone in almost every aspect of airport operations, which enables our team to conduct our work more efficiently than ever before,” shared Wolf.

View a video of footage collected during the full-scale exercise below.