Why is airport runway grass important?
Moline, Ill. (KWQC) – FAA requires a certain length of grass level to help maintain rodents, birds, and wildlife off the runways.
Officials say that the length of grass needs to be five to eight inches. With the amount of snow and ice during the winters at the Quad Cities International Airport, maintaining the grass levels are just as important to fly in and out of the airport.
“Birds, fox, deer, raccoons, skunks,” said Airfield Maintenance Supervisor at the Quad Cities International Airport, Mike Hixson about the animals the airport is trying to keep out. “If it gets taller than eight inches, those mammals come in. If it’s shorter than five, the birds come in. Airplanes and birds; we don’t want birds inside the fence.”
Birds flying around airports can be dangerous to flights coming in and out of the airport. According to the FAA last year, there were 17,000 bird strikes at nearly 700 different airports.
At the Quad City Airport, Hixson says they average 40 to 50 bird strikes annually, with at least one of those causing damage. Bird strikes occur 53% during July to October.
Paving the entire runway could be an option to most, but that would require more work.
“There would be more pavement. and more painting,” said Hixson. “Every time you have a piece of pavement where there’s supposed to be grass, we would have to paint that entire pavement green. Then we would have to add taxi-way edge lines on everything.”
Another way to keep wildlife out of the airport, Hixson says they built a 10-foot wall on the Southside of the airport.
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