Business

January 28, 2013

New runway rubber removal system debuts in Southwest Asia

Tags:
SrA. Joel Mease
Southwest Asia

A retrofitted Unimog with a TracJet attachment removes rubber from the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing airfield in Southwest Asia, Jan. 18, 2013. The cleaning head, which resembles a large shower head, puts out roughly 36,000 pounds per square inch of water pressure – enough to cut through steel.

The Air Force Civil Engineer Center in conjunction with the Air Force Research Laboratory recently introduced a first-of-its-kind runway rubber removal system for use at remote airfields.

The device, which uses a retrofitted Unimog designed for transport to airfields in austere areas of Southwest Asia, is the first rubber removal device designed to be transported by a C-130 Hercules.

Members of the 1st Expeditionary Civil Engineer Group took on this unique capability. Airmen from the group’s 577th Expeditionary Prime BEEF Squadron and 557th Expeditionary RED HORSE Squadron trained extensively over a two-week period on the operation and maintenance of the rubber removal equipment.

“This machine is one of a kind. In order to make it air-transportable, the manufacturers had to give it the ability to transform to a smaller version of itself,” said Capt. Kathryn Miles, U.S. Air Force Central Command’s A7. “The cab of the Unimog folds down and the windshield drops to make the overall height short enough to fit into a C-130.”

Taking rubber off the runway is important because every landing adds to the build-up of rubber, and that poses a risk to landing aircraft.

TSgt. Anthony Ashbeck, 577th Expeditionary Prime BEEF Squadron, receives training on how to remove rubber using a retrofitted Unimog on Jan. 18, 2013. The Unimog can be transformed into a smaller version of itself, allowing it to be transported in a C-130 Hercules to austere airfields in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.

“Each time an aircraft lands, when the tires make contact with the runway, they are super-heated by the friction between the tires and the runway,” Miles said. “This causes thin deposits of rubber to adhere to the surface of the pavement. Eventually, over time, the rubber builds up enough to cause a hazard to aircraft especially in wet conditions.”

Besides being the first rubber removal device that can be transported on a C-130, it also allows the Air Force flexibility on the airfield. The expeditionary rubber removal kit comes with two systems: one uses a detergent to dissolve rubber from the runway before being rinsed off; the other is the ultra-high pressure water system — the retrofitted Unimog. The 1st ECEG will now be able to deploy with both systems to any airfield in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility to provide this capability.

A retrofitted Unimog with a TracJet attachment begins to remove rubber from the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing airfield in Southwest Asia Jan. 18, 2013. The cleaning head, which resembles a large shower head, puts out roughly 36,000 psi of water pressure – enough to cut through steel.

“The advantage to having the (retrofitted) Unimog is that it’s a much more flexible system for airfield managers with busy runways,” Miles said. “The detergent process requires a six-hour uninterrupted runway closure. The Unimog, on the other hand, can be used between take-offs and landings and still effectively remove rubber.”

The Unimog uses an ultra-high pressure water system to take the rubber off the airfield.

“The TracJet attachment puts out about 36,000 pounds per square inch from the cleaning head which resembles a large shower head,” Miles said. “The water coming out of the shower head puts out enough pressure to cut steel.”

After the rubber is taken off of the runway, the system also takes care of the resulting debris.

An area of the runway is cleaned after a retrofitted Unimog with a TracJet attachment removed rubber from the concrete on Jan. 18, 2013. Every time an aircraft lands, it deposits thin layers of rubber on the runway. Over time the rubber builds up and poses a risk to landing aircraft, especially in wet conditions.

“The cleaning head essentially blasts the rubber off of the surface of the pavement and a vacuum system removes all debris and water left behind,” Miles said. “The water used to blast the rubber is stored in a bladder on the back of the Unimog and as that bladder empties, another bladder fills with the used water. The rubber solids are collected in two large filters.”

Although the ultra-high pressure water system does provide flexibility, it isn’t designed to be a complete replacement for using detergent to remove the rubber.

“While this machine is extremely effective at removing rubber, it is actually a supplement to the detergent system,” Miles said. “The detergent method is capable of removing 60,000 square feet of rubber in about six hours while the ultra-high pressure water system could probably only remove about 10,000 square feet of rubber in the same amount of time.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Air Force photograph by MSgt. Chuck Marsh

‘NORAD Tracks Santa’: Bringing him to a home near you

Air Force photograph by MSgt. Chuck Marsh Volunteers monitor phones and computers to talk with children while tracking Santa Claus at the North American Aerospace Defense Command Tracks Santa Operations Center at Peterson Air F...
 
 

Headlines December 24, 2014

Business: Boeing, U.S. Navy in talks about stretching EA-18G jet production - The U.S. Navy Dec. 19 said it was in talks with Boeing Co about slowing production of its EA-18G electronic attack jets to keep the St. Louis facility running through the end of 2017, after Congress approved funding for 15 more planes. Navy’s $2.5...
 
 

News Briefs December 24, 2014

Chinese military plane crashes; two deaths reported A Chinese military plane crashed in the country’s northwest Dec. 22 and a news website says at least two people were killed. The plane crashed at about 3 p.m. near the city of Weinan, about 600 miles west of Beijing, in Shaanxi province, according to the local fire...
 

 
LM-exoskeleton

Lockheed Martin’s exoskeleton wins design awards, honors

Lockheed Martin’s FORTIS exoskeleton received several accolades in 2014 highlighting its innovative technology design and its benefit to users in an industrial setting. This year, FORTIS was recognized with a Gold Spark Award...
 
 

DOD releases 2015 military pay, compensation rates

Dec. 22, the Department of Defense announced the 2015 military pay and compensation rates for service members, with most service members receiving a one percent increase in basic pay. The new rates for basic pay, basic allowance for housing, basic allowance for subsistence, and the cost of living allowance rates for the contiguous United States...
 
 

Astronics to scquire Armstrong Aerospace

Astronics Corporation, a leading provider of advanced technologies for the global aerospace and defense industries, announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Armstrong Aerospace for approximately $51 million. The agreement is expected to close in January 2015, subject to normal closing requirements. Armstrong Aerospace, located in Itasca, Illinois, is a...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>