Modern airport runways have to be capable of safely landing turbojet aircrafts with their greater weight and high landing speeds. Over a period of time and depending on the type of covering, aggregate, and the frequency of traffic, rubber marks left by aircraft tyres will gradually make the aggregate smooth and eliminate the macro and micro texture. Without this texture the covering no longer helps to drain the water from the runway and the film of water that then appears on the surface is responsible for aquaplaning.
Runway Surface Conditions
The condition of the runway surface is important when you are looking to improve airfield safety. There are many elements which can affect this such as: structure, materials used, surface type, snow, ice, water and contamination from various sources (especially from rubber deposits).
Regardless of the pavement type, runway friction characteristics will change over time depending on the type and frequency of aircraft activity and weather conditions. In addition to ordinary mechanical wear and tear from aircraft tyres, contaminants can collect on runway pavement surfaces which decreases their friction properties. Contaminants such as rubber deposits, dust particles, jet fuel, oil spillage, water, snow, ice and slush cause friction loss on runway pavement surfaces.
Accidents and near accidents can occur from planes overshooting or veering off contaminated runways. It is therefore essential to maintain the airports runways to the highest possible standards and to ensure adequate surface drainage and grip, especially in areas of takeoff and landing.
Reducing Braking Distance on Runways
Companies continue to develop technologies in order to reduce the braking distance of airplanes. Over the years they have developed different technologies and methods such as new braking mechanisms and methods to prevent the build up of snow, ice, water and contaminants on the runway. Also retexturing the surface by applying chemicals or blasting valuable drinking water have been a long used method.
Today, the use of enclosed Blastrac shot blasters to provide a clean skid resistant and free draining runway to land on, is well advanced and becoming the normal method at many International airports. This technology retextures asphalt surfaces on macro and microstructure levels and also removes debris and excessive bitumen.
The Benefits of Blastrac Shot Blasters
- Shot blasters are purely mechanical and therefore very clean
- There is no use of chemical substances or valuable drinking water
- There is no risk of underground deterioration by the process itself or by frozen water
- There is no risk of damaging the built-in lightning devices
- The surface can immediately be used after treatment
- If necessary, the machines are evacuated quickly from the airfield
- Permanent control can be made through grip testing devices / CFME
- Can prolong the life by a number of years without investing in a new top coat