Maintaining Skid Resistant Runway Surfaces

With the introduction of turbojet aircraft, braking performance on pavement surfaces became more critical. Under certain conditions, hydroplaning, or unacceptable loss of friction can occur, resulting in poor braking performance and possible loss of directional control. To address this concern, a number of research programs were conducted by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), FAA, United States Air Force (USAF), and various foreign governments. These efforts concentrated in two major areas: high skid-resistant pavement surface design and evaluation and application of proper maintenance techniques and procedures.

FAA Advisory Circular 150/5320-12B, titled 'Measurement, Construction, and Maintenance of Skid-Resistant Airport Pavement Surfaces'; provides guidelines to airport operators on how to locate and restore areas on the pavement surface where friction has deteriorated below acceptable limits for aircraft braking performance. The material contained in this circular summarizes the findings of past research efforts. Efforts are continuing to find effective and more efficient means of removing pavement contaminants and assessing modern techniques for possible pavement damage.

Research is also on the horizon for evaluating improvements in runway grooving technology.  Runway grooves enhance the skid resistance of a runway pavement surface by channeling water off of the operational surface and effectively reducing the risk of hydroplaning due to accumulated water.

Contact Project Lead  Nick Subbotin

Last Update: 02/23/12