May 1, 2018 – Using a salvaged aircraft, a mock up aircraft, dozens of volunteer victims, and strategically placed debris such as suitcases and airplane parts, the Westchester County Airport and Office of Emergency Management will stage a full-scale emergency drill to test the response to a catastrophic incident on airport grounds.

At 11:00 a.m. Saturday, a plane will “crash” at Westchester County Airport.  A simulation will take place and an aircraft will “strike” another aircraft, break into two pieces and spew debris all over a section of the airport – resulting in one section catching fire.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) mandates that all airports certificated to serve scheduled passenger-carrying operations of an air carrier aircraft with nine or more seats, like Westchester County Airport (HPN), must have and maintain an Airport Emergency Plan (AEP) designed to minimize the possibility and extent of personal injury and property damage on the airport in an emergency. 

The exercise, which runs until 1:00 p.m., will serve as practice for the emergency service agencies that would normally respond to an aircraft incident at the airport.   Police officers, fire fighters, other emergency workers and airport personnel will simulate the duties they would perform during a real emergency.

Included in the AEP are procedures for prompt response to airport emergencies including aircraft incidents and accidents, the FAA requires that HPN review the AEP annually and test the AEP through a full-scale exercise at least once every three years.  Westchester County airport conducts the full-scale exercise every two years.

Volunteer victims who have been dressed up with fake injuries will be safely extricated from the wreckage and carried to waiting ambulances.  Inside the airport, another scenario will unfold where airline employees and the American Red Cross will be dealing with relatives of the “crash victims” and making arrangements to send them to a nearby hotel for counseling.  A runway and several taxiways will be closed during the exercise. The airport’s main runway will remain open.

For more information about the exercise please contact airport operations at (914) 995-4850.