CES Airmen remove runway rubber, ensures aircrew safety

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Breanna Klemm
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

The 97th Civil Engineer Squadron Dirt Boyz removed rubber buildup on the runway left by aircraft tires during takeoffs and landings September 12, 2020, at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma. Altus AFB is the only installation in Air Education and Training Command where Airmen conduct rubber removal themselves.

The process is required every three to six months for safety reasons. If there is too much rubber buildup on the runway, landings and take-offs can become slick. The rubber removal process takes an average of 12 hours total to complete with each end of the runway taking six hours.During the rubber removal process, the runway is first coated with a layer of Avion50, an eco-friendly solution used to dissolve the rubber buildup on the runway. The 97th CES Dirt Boyz then use a plastic and metal brush attached to a vehicle to scrub the solution off the concrete. Water is then poured on the runway and is scrubbed for three hours or until all the excess solution, debris and rubber are gone.

Since it is done manually, the 97th CES saves approximately $107,000 each removal and can safely continue the mission of training exceptional mobility Airmen.