Touching Bases: Artifical turf for runway shoulders

 - May 21, 2008, 10:52 AM

FieldTurf, a Montreal-based manufacturer of artificial turf surfaces for sports arenas, is branching out into airport applications for its products. The company claims that its synthetic grass, Air-FieldTurf, is safer than natural dirt or grass for runway and taxiway shoulders, infields and any other area where wind or jet blast could stir up dust and debris that could damage aircraft. By reducing soil erosion and engine-intake ingestion, the company claims its product could save jet operators significant maintenance costs. The turf is also expected to improve visibility in high-wind conditions and reduce airport maintenance and insurance costs. An added safety benefit, according to the company, is the visual distinction between the artificial turf’s bright green color and surrounding terrain. Pilots would, therefore, have less difficulty distinguishing borders of runways and taxiways.

Also, FieldTurf said its Air-FieldTurf will not support vegetation, making it unattractive to birds and rodents. The product is guaranteed for 15 years and is expected to last as long as 30 years, according to the company. Air-FieldTurf is designed to meet all requirements set forth by the FAA, JAA and Transport Canada for airside operations. The requirements include flameproofing, drainage, durability and resistance to ultraviolet radiation. FieldTurf offers Air-FieldTurf on a turnkey basis, and has installed its other products at some 300 locations worldwide. Distinguished by the company’s proprietary sand-and-rubber infill system, other products include NovaCourt, a synthetic grass for tennis courts, and NovaTee, designed to minimize wear on golf practice tees.