Why Are Airport Runways Surrounded by Grass?

If you have traveled a lot, you must have spotted and marveled at the green, well-trimmed grass field at the airport that stretches miles away. You might have also wondered why airports do not use concrete everywhere in the airfield, which typically makes landing easier and safer. There is a perfect explanation for that, which makes the grass a vital component of the airfield. Aside from handling foreign object debris (FOD), grass guides pilots and helps maintain safety during take-off and landing. Here is why even the smallest airports will have several acres of regularly mown grass.

Grass Keeps the Aircraft Safe

Apart from creating a beautiful natural habitat for birds and insects, grass builds a safe environment for planes to land safely. To avoid imposing too much noise in the neighborhood, many runways are built far away from residential areas in unused land near wet bodies and other sound dampeners. This creates a dust-free environment free of fod and other foreign objects in the airfield. The short grass makes it easier to clean the runway while absorbing flying debris.

Absorbs Noise and Harmful Gases

Airports are generally overcrowded with machines for various purposes. Some of these machines may emit harmful gases to the air. As with all the vegetation, grass does a good job absorbing toxic gases in the atmosphere leaving pollution-free air. The grass is also known to be a good noise absorber and helps keep the environment quiet when aircraft engines run during landing and take-off. This is quite essential, particularly for small airports closer to other buildings, offices, or homes.

Guides the Pilot When Landing

If the entire airfield was filled with concrete, how would pilots know where exactly to land? How would they distinguish between taxiways and runways from the surrounding areas? Sometimes their visibility is poor due to sunset, rain, or fog. Pilots rely on the well-trimmed green land separated by concrete to determine where they will land. The grassed space acts as a watering point to run off where the planes will be taking off and others taxiing, which has a significant effect on pilot control. The grass also keeps the temperature low, which benefits planes by lifting them off during take-off.

It Is Okay To Land on Grass

While the runway was essentially created to land and take off, the grass also offers a soft surface for the same purpose. The grass is generally considered safe for landing in case of emergencies. Grass fields have less fod and, if evenly and smoothly trimmed, can offer safe landing. The pilot can clearly see through the short grass and safely land on grass without getting hurt or injuring the passengers on board. However, under high pressure, uneven grass can cause unpredictable movements causing structure formation problems due to unequal bouncing and pressure.

Grass provides solutions to many problems facing airports and runways. It is not only critical for the atmosphere but also makes the airfield safer.

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