Wind Rain and Slick Runways

Once again the winter cold water season approaches and I wonder how many airlines are training their pilots to recognize the safety hazard of a runway which is not grooved, combined with wind across the runway and water making the runway slick? “Slick” is not an engineering term, but the word describes well the loss of friction between the tires and the runway.

Remember that pilots need lots of grippy friction to both stop the airplane, once it has put its tires on the runway and to also control the airplane directionally to keep it on the runway center.

Slick, non-grooved runways are a severe hazard to commercial aviation whenever the conditions also include rain water and winds across and or along the flight path of the plane as opposed to a nice facing head wind.

When will ICAO Airfield Engineering Section finally endorse runway grooving? When will hydroplaning mishaps off of the end and off of the side of the runway become a mishap of the past for commercial aviation?

Published by Capt. Paul Miller

Aviation safety expert with 43 years in the sky

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