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380AEW Article

577 EPBS removes rubber from ADAB flight line

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Darnell T. Cannady
  • 380th AEW/PA

The 577th Expeditionary Prime Beef Squadron traveled to Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates to perform a rubber removal project for the runway Dec. 15, 2018.


Whenever an aircraft touches down on the runway, it leaves a trace of rubber on the surface. Over time, excess amounts of rubber reduces aircraft braking, creating a landing hazard.


“This process allows for better traction on the runway, increasing safety for pilots and aircraft landing on the runway,” Tech. Sgt. Tyler Isherwood, 577th Expeditionary Prime Beef Squadron.


Using a four-step process, the 577 EPBS applied Avion onto the runway. Avion is an environmentally safe, non-destructive detergent used to remove rubber buildup from airfield runways.


“First is the application of Avion onto the runway, followed by agitation where we run tool cats or John Deer machines up and down the runway for a set amount of time,” explained Isherwood. “Next is the foaming step where we continue to add water to activate the Avion even more to then lift the final rubber off the runaway. The final step involves the firefighters where we use a lot of water to remove all the rubber and Avion off the runway.”


The rubber residue and build up can cover up many of the important paint markings on the airfield that are necessary for safety and act as a visual cue for pilots when landing.


“Excessive rubber accumulation obscures runway markings and causes the surface to become slippery, which can cause damage to equipment and/or endanger the lives of aircrew, said Senior Master Sgt. Katherine Hardy, Airfield Manager. “The removal of rubber is critical to flight safety to support the DoD."


To support the requirements of every base in the AOR, the 577th EPBS works as a team to complete their various projects.


“It’s not just us, we use a lot of different elements from every base we got to,” added Isherwood. “We get support from everyone ranging from the Fire Department spraying down the runway to the Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron moving our equipment around and getting the Avion shipment everywhere. We’re a specialized flight but it involves coordination with different parts of the Air Force and it’s truly a team effort to get this job done.”