You read it first in this week’s The Factory in Guide magazine.

The Plane Truth  Every time a large plane lands, each tire leaves about 1.5 pounds of rubber on the runway.  All that rubber reduces the friction planes need to land, and must be regularly removed with specialized equipment. –

You read it first in this week’s The Factory in Guide magazine. 

Can you imagine nine pounds of rubber ending up on the runway each time a plane lands?! The average large plane, like a 737-800, has a total of six tires. So every time it lands, it leaves about nine pounds of rubber on the runway. It does this because heat is generated due to the speed of the plane, the weight of the plane, and the friction required to stop the plane when it lands.

Because there are many different kinds of large planes, the amount of tires they have will vary.  There are even commercial planes that have 22 tires, like the Airbus 380. The Antonov-225, which was built to move cargo, has 32 tires!

Approximately 650 planes a day land at Heathrow Airport in London. With 10 tires each, they lay down about 10,000 pounds of rubber in a single day! Most commercial runways are made with concrete, which has a rough, crusty surface. Essentially the rougher the surface on the runway, the better for safe landings.

As all the rubber is building up on the runway, it cuts down on the friction the aircrafts need to grab the ground and land safely. It makes it especially bad if it is raining because the chances of a plane hydroplaning on all that slippery rubber are much greater. 

So how does all the rubber get cleaned off? Well, some airports spray on different chemicals to melt the rubber and break it down. Then they can use high pressure washers to spray and clean it off. Not only do they need to clean the runways, but the lights on the runways are also affected. So cleaning the lights on the landing strips is also very important for safe landings at night.

The runways are kind of like our hearts. Sin can build up there and we need something to clean it away. Thankfully we have a Savior who is able to make us clean, we just need to ask Him everyday! Psalm 51:7 says, “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” NKJV Scripture taken from the New King James Version, Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Learn More About This Fact

Blue Birdie is a De Havilland Beaver aircraft;  it can have tires for airstrip landing or use floats for water landings.

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