Gravel runways are vital to remote airports across North America. Midwest Industrial Supply Inc.’s Fines Preservation Program ensures they are properly maintained.
Gravel runways make up a significant portion of the North American aviation infrastructure, with almost 8,500 airports using unpaved runways. The majority of these are in remote locations, and serve as a critical lifeline for the small communities and mining operations that depend on them for survival.
The importance of well maintained gravel runways in these locations can therefore not be overstated; but because they are remote, they face unique maintenance challenges. These unpaved runways must stand up to extreme weather conditions and temperature fluctuations. Precipitation and spring thaws can quickly compromise the integrity of a runway, leading to heavy damage — including soft spots, depressions, marbling, and potholes — which makes for dangerous takeoffs and landings.
Tamp Down on Fine Dust
An early sign of a deteriorating gravel runway is the presence of dust. The more fines that are emitted, the weaker the runway becomes. This increases the risk of foreign object damage (FOD), not to mention compromised visibility for landings and take-offs. To avoid prohibitively expensive retroactive repairs and maintenance, consider Midwest’s Fines Preservation® Program.
This system captures and traps escaping fines, locking them into place — up to 90% of would-be fugitive gravel and dust is preserved. The result is not only a reduction in dust, but also an increased CBR, which in turn eliminates the 15% performance penalty typically associated with gravel runways — when we say pavement-like strength, we mean it! Our program dramatically reduce the risks to pilots and equipment alike, as a smoother runway leads to more efficient braking, limited rolling resistance, and minimal rutting and marbling.
Because Midwest’s program preserves much of the gravel and fines already in place, the need for expensive gravel sourcing and equipment is substantially minimized or even eliminated. Costly damage to aircraft from airborne gravel is similarly reduced, assuring safe and affordable operations. This means big savings for small airports.
These cost-saving and maintenance-reducing benefits ultimately extend runway surface life by 7 to 20 years. It may come as no surprise, then, that more than 100 airports across the continent rely on Midwest’s solutions to keep their runways dust-free, stable, and safe.