Aircraft overruns are always damaging and sometimes disastrous. Skidding on contaminated surfaces is the most common cause of such incidents. The most effective way of preventing them is to carry out regular surveys with a recognized runway friction tester and act promptly on the results. If an overrun does occur, a timely friction survey report can be used to establish the airport’s due diligence.
Measurement of surface friction and contaminated runways is at the forefront of airport safety. Low friction can result in hydroplaning and aircraft overshoots with potentially catastrophic results
Mandated by the FAA, regular monitoring of runway friction, turning areas and taxiways is essential in order to enable the planning of maintenance. By measuring friction in accordance with an established regime, reduction in friction caused by polishing of the runway surface material or by the build up of contaminants can be tracked.
The FAA has determined that visual inspections cannot determine the degree of contamination and the need for rubber removal. Friction testing with the GripTester (CFME Continuous Measuring Friction Equipment) will identify the areas that require cleaning saving thousands of dollars in maintenance expense. Tests results that show adequate friction values meet the requirements of Part 139 Annual Inspection and can be substituted for runway rubber removal operations. Airports that test friction regularly, report that rubber removal costs drop drastically.
Friction measurements help identify loss of micro-texture due to tire wear and destructive rubber removal methods such as hydro-blasting. The loss of macro-texture can also be evaluated and tracked. The FAA requires a pavement management program to qualify for capital projects. The GripTester is AIP fundable and an economical management tool for pavement evaluation.
Runway water, ice or snow was a factor in more than 100 airplane accidents between 1958 and 1993. Most of those accidents involved fatalities. Quick accurate evaluation of the braking action of a runway under winter conditions is the key to a safe landing during a winter event. Winter weather airports must deal with slippery runways from huge amounts of snow and ice quickly.
FAA Advisory Circular 150/5200-30A, titled “Airport Winter Safety and Operations” provides guidance in the development of an acceptable airport snow and ice control program and field condition reporting procedures. In addition to the usefulness for snow and ice removal, field condition reports can enhance aircraft safety when provided to pilots during winter operations. For this reason, many airports use runway friction measuring equipment to provide an indication of the braking action on runways contaminated by snow or ice.
The GripTester provides a quick and accurate means to verify the safety runways during winter operations. Its accuracy has been validated through participation in the Joint Runway Friction Measurement Program. Is dependability has been proven through the years by its deployment in such places as Norway and Alaska. Quickly deployed behind any type of vehicle, Airport Operations Departments can determine the condition of a runway in just minutes. Unlike decelerometers, the test is continuous, requires not stopping on the runway and provides instantaneous results.