Airport Pavement Surveys


Sampling of Equipment Used in Airport Research Surveys (Click to Zoom)

Left: Walk-Behind Road Profiler, Center: Walking Road Profiler, Right: California Profilograph


The nondestructive testing (NDT) equipment used at the FAA’s National Airport Pavement Test Facility (NAPTF) is normally housed on-site for ease of access to the enclosed pavement test area there. However, the majority of the FAA’s NDT equipment is mobile, and can also be used for field testing. “Field” locations are real-world sites that serve a purpose rather than being solely dedicated to research. For FAA pavement engineering, field sites consist of active airports, including pavement areas such as runways and taxiways. Field testing has an advantage over controlled testing by having real loading and climate conditions, including precipitation, which is not present in the NAPTF. Obtaining field results is imperative to achieve the FAA’s research objectives.


Testing with the NDT Van at Cape May County Airport (Click to Zoom)


Field NDT performed by the FAA includes the examination of pavement structure, roughness, texture, and other characteristics. The equipment available for transport to field sites is listed below, which includes nearly all equipment used at the NAPTF:


To promote mobility and simplify transport, the devices are made as compact and lightweight as possible, and heavy equipment is wheeled for ease of movement. If the site is within driving distance from the NAPTF, the NDT Van can be used, which houses an inertial profiler, imaging equipment, and GPR equipment. To date, the FAA has performed field pavement surveys on airports throughout the US, including Cape May County Airport in New Jersey, Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, Columbus International Airport, and Detroit Metropolitan County Airport.


For more information on the facility and devices mentioned on this page, follow the links to the detailed FAA webpages.


NDT Technologies




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