If you are at or around Piedmont Triad International Airport (PTIA) on Friday, April 9, and you see balls of flame and what looks like a terrible disaster –well, sit back and calm down. 

It’s only first responders conducting a practice run at handling airport emergencies. 

On Tuesday, April 5, PTIA put a press release warning that, Friday morning, “Smoke and fire may be seen on the southwest side of the airport.”

On that day, the airport will be the scene of an emergency disaster exercise from 9 a.m. to noon. 

Airport officials are also warning that this exercise will cause a good deal of added traffic in the area during that three-hour period.

According to the press release, the emergency response exercise “is designed to reinforce training tactics used during firefighting, rescue, and security operations.”  It added that Friday’s training “will prepare everyone to perform their duties as a team under true emergency conditions.”

COVID-19 remains a threat so those taking part in the exercise will be adhering to coronavirus precautions such as maintaining social distancing where possible and wearing masks.

PTIA Executive Director Kevin Baker and his staff know very well that the public is keenly aware of the goings on at the airport. 

One time, years ago, the Rhino Times even got numerous calls about eight huge military transport planes landing at PTIA one right after another.  The callers wanted to know if there was some sort of emergency. 

 It turns out it wasn’t an armed government takeover of Greensboro.  Instead, a single large military aircraft was using PTIA’s runways for practice landings.  The plane would land, takeoff immediately, circle around and land – over and over again.  To those people with a limited view of things, that practice looked like a squadron of planes landing.