Sunday 20 September, 2020

Cayman Airport gets new aircraft jet blast deflector

The Cayman Islands Airports Authority (CIAA), which operates the Owen Roberts International Airport (ORIA) and the Charles Kirkconnell International Airport (CKIA), announced today that construction work on the new blast deflector at Owen Roberts International Airport has begun as part of the next phase of continued improvements in operations and safety standards at the Airports.

Due to the extension of the runway, the new takeoff aircraft positioning is now much closer to the Old Crewe Road fence line. Therefore, a blast deflector was designed to mitigate air turbulence at ground level by “deflecting” air upwards for departing aircraft to protect passing pedestrians, cyclists and vehicular traffic using the road adjacent to the fence line.

The blast deflector is made of galvanized steel panels that are powder coated and painted orange and white for easy identification. The panels are mounted on a light weight steel frame and fastened to a monolithic concrete foundation to prevent uplift. The blast deflector will extend from the south side of the extended runway and continue around the perimeter fence line. The assembly and installation of the blast deflector is scheduled for completion by the end of August 2020.

Additionally, as part of the Airfield Upgrade Project, the new runway and runway extension will be “grooved” to enhance water shedding during heavy rainstorms and increase friction coefficient and safety factor for aircraft landings and departures during extreme wet weather.

The new runway strengthening with additional layers of asphalt has increased the camber of the runway to a 2% slope to aid water runoff, and the grooves will act as a channel for water to shed more efficiently and decrease the ability to create water pooling on the runway.

The grooving works will be performed at night to avoid aircraft traffic movements and is scheduled to be completed by the end of August 2020. The grinding process can be noisy; however, this is unavoidable to add this very important safety feature to the new enhanced runway.

Once grooving is completed, runway paint markings will be added and enhanced with reflective glass beads to increase visibility. This enhancement will increase safety during night time landings and low visibility weather events. This work is expected be complete by mid-September 2020.

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