Airport Drag Racing

The Rubber Issue

The Rubber Issue
Pavement Issue
The Garbage
The Message
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The big difference between the rubber found at large airports and yours, is that at a large airport, the rubber will be on both sides of centerline in a touchdown area. In your case, the runway will be on one side only in the area used for braking. Rubber is VERY slippery when wet. The inconsistency of braking friction of one wheel versus the other, can promote a skid and accident.

Large airports spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to have their rubber removed twice annually. This rubber is relatively easy to remove. A solvent is applied to the rubber to soften it, and then it is blasted with high pressure water in the 5-6K PSI range, or shot blasted with small steel balls. This water must be kept in motion as it would otherwise damage the surface.

After the rubber is removed, the co-efficient of friction in the affected area must be 90% of an unaffected area on the edge of the runway.

The problem with drag racing is the rubber that gets left behind from the heated spinning tires has vulcanized itself to the surface and is next to impossible to remove. Even if you can get the rubber off, the surface will still be slippery.


The amount of rubber will increasingly get worse with every event. Count on that! You won't be able to clean it, and the event will attract more cars each year compounding the problem. Racers will try and sneak a "tire spin" anywhere they can, so expect to see tire marks where they shouldn't be. If the organizers promise there will be penalties for persons doing burnouts where they shouldn't, don't believe it. It happens, and they won't do anything about it.

SANDBLASTING will not remove the rubber. This will free some small areas, and while trying to remove the rest of the rubber in the target zone, the sand will erode the pavement now exposed. Trust me, it doesn't work.

BURNING AND SCRAPING also does not work. This has been tried unsuccessfully.

Using a CHEMICAL PROCESS is very expensive and labor intensive. This was not a feasible option.

Pilots will ask, what happened to your runway? They are not accustom to seeing such a sight.