A: An Info Photo.
Some of the photos we make we make for art. Some are to preserve memories. Others are meant to inform.
This one certainly isn't art, nor is it much for a memory. But it will inform and may be something you've never thought about much.
When a large commercial airplane lands it does so at speeds upwards of 130 mph (209 kph) with a set of wheels
turning at exactly 0 mph/kph. In a matter of seconds those wheels absorb the full weight of the aircraft and come up
to a speed matching the passengers inside. That process create a lot of noise , a lot of blue "smoke", and debris in the
form of deposited rubber from the tires on the runway surface. It's been documented that a large airplane the size of a
Boeing 747 with its complement of 16 main gear tires and 2 nose gear tires can deposit as much as 7 lbs (3.2 kg) of
rubber with every dry runway landing! It's a wonder they don't blow out more often than they actually do!
After a short time the primary landing area of a runway begins to look a lot like the starting line of a drag strip with solid
black marks everywhere. Unlike a drag strip however airport runways are used whether they're wet or dry, and it's the wet part
that makes a huge difference. Rubber on rubber in dry conditions creates a lot of friction resistence. And that means short
stopping distances. Rubber on rubber in wet conditions reduces friction conditions to a point where operations can become
dangerous. For this reason friction conditions on runways have to be monitored and maintained at levels high enough to ensure
safe operating conditions. This means that when rubber builds up too high on a runway it has to be removed.
What you see here is a settling pond where the rubber materials removed from the Kona International Airport are being
dewatered. This material came from approximately 300,000 sf of the main touchdown areas and was collected using
ultra-high pressure water blasting and vacuum equipment over the course of several weeks. There are no toxic
materials to worry about here, all of it will eventually be taken to a landfill for disposal once it dries out in the Kona sunshine.
As Paul Harvey used to say, "And now you know the REST of the story".