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Hernando company getting a grip on runway safety

Tim Neubert looks on as a truck pulls the friction testing machine and its demonstration gets under way at the Hernando County Airport runway.

CHRIS PRICE | Special to the Times

Tim Neubert looks on as a truck pulls the friction testing machine and its demonstration gets under way at the Hernando County Airport runway.

BROOKSVILLE — If Tim Neubert has his way, the friction-testing facility recently completed at the Hernando County Airport will provide standardized procedures for airport runway safety worldwide.

Weather, rubber build-up and such contaminants as lichens, snow and water affect the friction of a runway. Over time, data have been gathered and analyzed to help predict the safest conditions for aircraft.

Neubert, president of Neubert Aero Corp. and a board member of the International Friction Pavement Association, has invented two friction-testing products designed to improve runway safety.

Neubert hopes that education, product research and field testing can have a lasting impact. His company's new facility at Hernando Airport is part of that vision, and he hosted a conference this week that culminated Tuesday with demonstrations of his devices at the facility.

Pulled behind a truck, one device measures and sends information about the runway conditions electronically to a computer-monitoring station.

Among the 50 conference attendees, representatives from both public and private entities came from far and wide, including the Federal Aviation Administration, the Canadian Department of Defense, and the Mexican secretary of communication and transportation.

"The association is really dealing with the issue of runway maintenance," said John Gadzinski, association board member and Southwest Airlines captain. "It's been thrust into the spotlight by some very high-profile accidents."

Gadzinski and Neubert met several years ago and began talking about the need to bring all stakeholders together to share information.

"There was a lack of understanding between people who designed the airplanes and people who designed the airports," Gadzinski said.

Shary Lyssy Marshall can be reached at slmarshall.sptimes@gmail.com.

Hernando company getting a grip on runway safety 04/13/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 13, 2010 8:52pm]

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