Runway grass improvements for Airbus A380
During preparation meetings for the Farnborough Airshow 2006, there was much discussion over the fact that the new A380 was making its debut entrance to the show that year.
Whilst studying the technical aspects of what this new Airbus would bring upon its arrival, one major obstacle to overcome was the fact that the Airbus A380 has an impressive wingspan of 79.75 meters with an engine thrust of 72,000 lbf per engine. The runway is 46 meters wide, so we had an overhang of 2 of the 4 engines (total 144,000 lbf|) onto the grass.
At that time the runway edges and grass sward would not withstand that thrust level and would result in debris being blown everywhere, making the situation potentially dangerous. This was not an acceptable situation to our clients or ourselves and we quickly got to work to devise and implement a solution. To minimalize the effect we introduced an intensive grass management regime to improve what was already there, and introduce specific new grass varieties. We were looking to improve the airfields tolerance to drought and intensive maintenance.
This gave us a grass sward alongside the runway that significantly reduced the amount of exposed soil and subsequently less air borne debris on the landing and take off for the Airbus A380.
These improvements are constantly on going and we are constantly introducing new grasses to find the optimum mixture to suit the local soil conditions. This solution also works in harmony with the environment as nature helped us provide a solution.