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Viscous hydroplaning can occur with only a very slight amount of moisture. One of the most slippery materials one might encounter is the runway paint. Sailors have used non-skid paint for many yrs. All it takes is moving in a bit of sand, yet it does not appear to be a part of government specifications. Can friction on painted areas of the runway be increased? When I used to inspect airports as a part of air carrier management, officials at salt lake city told me that they had no problem with rubber buildup and did not need to groove their runways since they used a 'popcorn' or porous surface. They indicated that the cost of surfacing and the durability of the runway were comparable to standard methods. Can rubber buildup be avoided by adopting a porous surface? We hear a great deal about communications errors in aviation safety, yet nothing seems to be said about the quality of our audio signals. It appears ironic that what we must depend upon is little better than when alexander graham bell said, 'watson, I need you' when for 20 dollars we can purchase a sony stereo that has across- the-room quality. Callback conversation with reporter revealed the following information: reporter states he feels strongly about these issues as no changes have been made in runway surfaces for many yrs. As an air carrier captain his experiences have been wide. When most runways were originally built, knowledge about hydroplaning and rubber buildup was non existent. Now that we know, he feels safety should be primary and changes made. Hopes we can get the word to higher level management who set the standards for runway construction and maintenance. A bit of sand certainly makes a difference. A porous surface eliminates rubber buildup and also drains water well. The quality of radio equipment causes many a safety problem due to mishearing a clearance, or having a readback misheard. Much better quality is used in cars or walkman or even telephone equipment. Again he believes someone needs to get information to people who establish standards for 'quality' of communication. He asks please put these items on the agenda at a level where someone can take proper actions.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: ACR PLT CONCERN REF RWY SURFACES WHERE HYDROPLANING AND RUBBER BUILDUP OCCUR. CONCERNED ALSO ABOUT QUALITY OF COM EQUIP.
Narrative: VISCOUS HYDROPLANING CAN OCCUR WITH ONLY A VERY SLIGHT AMOUNT OF MOISTURE. ONE OF THE MOST SLIPPERY MATERIALS ONE MIGHT ENCOUNTER IS THE RWY PAINT. SAILORS HAVE USED NON-SKID PAINT FOR MANY YRS. ALL IT TAKES IS MOVING IN A BIT OF SAND, YET IT DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE A PART OF GOV SPECS. CAN FRICTION ON PAINTED AREAS OF THE RWY BE INCREASED? WHEN I USED TO INSPECT ARPTS AS A PART OF ACR MGMNT, OFFICIALS AT SALT LAKE CITY TOLD ME THAT THEY HAD NO PROBLEM WITH RUBBER BUILDUP AND DID NOT NEED TO GROOVE THEIR RWYS SINCE THEY USED A 'POPCORN' OR POROUS SURFACE. THEY INDICATED THAT THE COST OF SURFACING AND THE DURABILITY OF THE RWY WERE COMPARABLE TO STANDARD METHODS. CAN RUBBER BUILDUP BE AVOIDED BY ADOPTING A POROUS SURFACE? WE HEAR A GREAT DEAL ABOUT COMS ERRORS IN AVIATION SAFETY, YET NOTHING SEEMS TO BE SAID ABOUT THE QUALITY OF OUR AUDIO SIGNALS. IT APPEARS IRONIC THAT WHAT WE MUST DEPEND UPON IS LITTLE BETTER THAN WHEN ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL SAID, 'WATSON, I NEED YOU' WHEN FOR 20 DOLLARS WE CAN PURCHASE A SONY STEREO THAT HAS ACROSS- THE-ROOM QUALITY. CALLBACK CONVERSATION WITH RPTR REVEALED THE FOLLOWING INFO: RPTR STATES HE FEELS STRONGLY ABOUT THESE ISSUES AS NO CHANGES HAVE BEEN MADE IN RWY SURFACES FOR MANY YRS. AS AN ACR CAPT HIS EXPERIENCES HAVE BEEN WIDE. WHEN MOST RWYS WERE ORIGINALLY BUILT, KNOWLEDGE ABOUT HYDROPLANING AND RUBBER BUILDUP WAS NON EXISTENT. NOW THAT WE KNOW, HE FEELS SAFETY SHOULD BE PRIMARY AND CHANGES MADE. HOPES WE CAN GET THE WORD TO HIGHER LEVEL MGMNT WHO SET THE STANDARDS FOR RWY CONSTRUCTION AND MAINT. A BIT OF SAND CERTAINLY MAKES A DIFFERENCE. A POROUS SURFACE ELIMINATES RUBBER BUILDUP AND ALSO DRAINS WATER WELL. THE QUALITY OF RADIO EQUIP CAUSES MANY A SAFETY PROBLEM DUE TO MISHEARING A CLRNC, OR HAVING A READBACK MISHEARD. MUCH BETTER QUALITY IS USED IN CARS OR WALKMAN OR EVEN TELEPHONE EQUIP. AGAIN HE BELIEVES SOMEONE NEEDS TO GET INFO TO PEOPLE WHO ESTABLISH STANDARDS FOR 'QUALITY' OF COM. HE ASKS PLEASE PUT THESE ITEMS ON THE AGENDA AT A LEVEL WHERE SOMEONE CAN TAKE PROPER ACTIONS.
Data retrieved from NASA's ASRS site as of July 2007 and automatically converted to unabbreviated mixed upper/lowercase text. This report is for informational purposes with no guarantee of accuracy. See NASA's ASRS site for official report.