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2023-06-14 19:27:49

Why 10,000 Pounds of Rubber are Stripped From Runways _ Cars Insider

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Every time a plane lands , each tire leaves around £1.5 of rubber on the runway tires are stationary until touchdown .

When sudden contact with the ground causes friction quickly , bringing them up to speeds of more than 150 MPH and producing temperatures around 500 degrees Fahrenheit .

That temperature makes the tread rubber melt and bond to the runway and lights that guide pilots .

The Airbus A 3 80 is the largest passenger plane in the world and it has 22 tires .

That's over £30 of rubber lost per landing equivalent to the amount of rubber in two of your car's tires .

So how does all that rubber get removed ?

And what's so dangerous about it building up on runways ?

There is two things you need to consider .

When you we're talking rubber removal from the runway , there's the rubber removal from the actual tarmac itself .

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But the other process is to remove the rubber from the lights at London's Heathrow Airport where Mohammed works an average of 650 planes with 10 tires each touch down every single day .

That's £10,000 of rubber daily .

A build up in rubber can make the surface of a runway smooth , decreasing the friction needed to land .

This can impact braking and control and increase the risk of hydroplaning in wet conditions .

And runway lights used to guide take off landing and taxiing especially at night and in low visibility conditions are dimmed by the melted rubber bonding to them .

Within the United States .

The Federal Aviation Administration recommends that rubber deposition be checked weekly for any airport with at least 210 daily landings .

The process for checking rubber build up isn't as simple as checking for skid marks and it requires the use of specialized tests and instruments .

So for the runway , we have something called the friction test .

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It's like a machine that has a wheel and someone will drive down the runway and that wheel will come down and they'll actually measure how much friction there is on the runway .

The key to a runway is you want it to have a lot of friction .

You don't want it to be slippery at all .

So that measurement of how much friction that wheel feels on the surface of the runway will tell our teams when to go out there to remove the run .

Now to do that , we have specialized machinery which is like a massive truck with a hoover on top of it .

And so it's high pressure water basically , but very hot and it blasts the tarmac and then it just sucks up everything that comes off it .

And then there's a removal of rubber from the lights .

Landing technology alone isn't enough for pilots to bring planes in safely .

Of course , they use I L S systems , they use the instrument landing system when coming in to land , but they still need a visual reference .

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So from a safety perspective , the pilots physically won't be able to see those lights .

And I once spoke to a pilot who was flying in from Scandinavia .

And I remember I always go to the pilots and speak to them about this stuff afterwards because I want to get their perspective .

And I said to him , what is it like to fly a plane at an airport and land a plane at an airport which doesn't maintain its lights very well .

He said it's like trying to fly a plane into a black hole .

So for the lights themselves , we do a test where we measure how much light output comes out of the lights .

So we have this trailer that hooks onto the back of a car and the sensors on the back of this trailer will tell you exactly how much light is coming out of every single light .

And then you get all that data and you can tell which lights have rubber on them .

So the lights are really important and they need to be bright .

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So to do that , we have another machine which uses dry soda and it has somebody on the back with the lance and they go from one light to another and they point this thing at it and they shoot powder , this soda powder at the actual lens of the light and they get rid of all the rubber that is on those lights .

From when the last plane takes off at night to when the first plane takes off in the morning , there's a small window of time .

Our runways need to close .

So we need to wait till the last plane departs .

And then after the last plane departs , that's when our teams can come on .

So if you want to clean every single light on the runway , you can't really do it all in one night because there's that many of them .

So for the lights themselves , uh we remove it at least twice per week .

This is something that people don't ever really think about , but there's a whole team of people whose responsibility is to make sure that these runways are cleared .

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And actually people benefit from this job all the time because the only way that they're able to go on holiday and enjoy the world is by using these strips of tarmac called the runways .


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