From shell sweepers to helicopters, open house pulls back curtain on Groton airport operations

21 Aug 2023

Economic Development

Maintaining an airfield near a coastal reserve means quickly becoming familiar with the diets of various seabirds.

At the Groton-New London Airport, crews make multiple daily tarmac sweeps with an industrial mobile blower — dubbed “Air Forced One” — to clear oyster, quahog and scallop shells from the two runways.

“The seagulls pick them up from the Bluff Point area and drop them down from the sky to crack open the shells and get at the meat,” said Brian Simon, a worker at the Tower Road airport. “If they don’t get swept off, they can pop plane tires or get sucked into jet exhausts.”

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