'Heat island': Pease airport workers battle extreme temps on the runway during heat waves
PORTSMOUTH — Madeline Tate looks down the runway at Portsmouth International Airport at Pease, squinting her eyes and a bead of sweat running down her temple, as a plane taxis to Port City Air for service and refueling.
In the distance under the midday sun, the 11,321-foot-long runway and accompanying tarmac looks flooded — it’s a mirage of the mind as temperatures rise and beat down unobstructed on the acres of concrete and asphalt.
“The sun is definitely not your friend out here,” Tate said, as she checked gauges and set levers beside the large fuel storage tanks, known as the fuel farm, to prepare for a refueling.
Tate, 26, of Newmarket, is one of the many line service technicians at Port City Air, whose job is to keep the planes that fly in and out of the airport fueled, maintained and ready to fly.