Paul Fraser-Bennison - Articles and news items
Issue 2 2013 • 4 April 2013 • Paul Fraser-Bennison, Policy and Strategy Officer for Aerodrome and Air Traffic Standards, UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)
Paul Fraser-Bennison, Policy and Strategy Officer for Aerodrome and Air Traffic Standards at the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) assesses the CAA’s latest winter operations trialAirline operators require information about factors which affect their aircraft take-off and landing performance. Much of this is readily available; the runway length; the height above sea level; the air temperature and pressure on the day; and local weather conditions. However, what is difficult to provide is an indication of how well the runway surface will perform if contaminated. When precipitation falls as snow, sleet or rain heavy enough for deposits more than 3mm deep a runway is termed ‘contaminated’ and revised performance calculations have to be used.
On 6 February 1958, an aircraft crashed whilst making its third attempt to take off from Munich's Reim Airport. Twenty-three of the passengers and crew on board were killed. After a lengthy investigation, the cause of the accident was identified as slush on the runway. Fifty years later, this event lingers in the public consciousness because some of the casualties were star players from Manchester United Football Club. It is also remembered in the aviation world for the important part it played in the study of contaminant drag and its effect on aircraft tyres, as well as in the wider context of the overall assessment of runway friction, work that still continues today.