Friction values

There are two main principles for measuring friction: dry and wet measuring. Dry measurement is used in winter or any other situation when friction values can be expected to be lower than normal. These situations can be for example rain, snow, slush, dust, etc. Wet measuring is called runway calibration and it’s used for checking the rubber build-up on the runway.


Winter / dry friction measurement


How often:

Measure when the meteorological service expect ice or snow. Hourly reports as a minimum and certainly whenever
there is reason to believe tlere has been change in the runway state. (A decelerometer or a diagonal braked vehicle should not be used in deep loose snow or slush as each can give misleading friction values)


Where to measure:

Measurement is done with a long line on each side of the center line, approximately 3m or that distance from the centre line at which most operations take place. Test speed 65km/h or 95km/h or lower when necessary.


Friction values in braking action:


Mu ICAO value ICAO code Measured snowtam decode
more than 0.40 GOOD 5 95
0.36-0.39 MEDIUM TO GOOD 4 94
0.30-0.35 MEDIUM 3 93
0.29-0.26 MEDIUM TO POOR 2 92
less than 0.25 POOR 1 91


Summer / wet measurement (runway calibration)


How often:


Number of daily turbojet aircraft landing per runway end Minimum friction survey frequency
Less than 15 Annually
16-30 6 months
31-90 3 months
91 – 150 Monthly
151 -210 2 weeks
Greater than 210 Weekly


Friction level classification:


Measuring speed New Runway level Maintenance level Minimum level
65km/h (40mph) 0.82 0.60 0.50
90km/h (60mph) 0.74 0.47 034


If the measuring results are:

  • Below maintenance level 152m (500ft) or longer –> more frequent monitoring.
  • Below maintenance level 305m (1000ft) or longer –> corrective actions and more frequent monitoring.
  • Below minimum level 152m (500ft) or longer –> immediate corrective action.
  • New runway average should not be below new runway level shown on the table.
  • Painted areas: Below minimum 30m (100ft) or more –> immediate corrective action.
  • Difference between dry and wet measurement greater than 40 –> immediate corrective action.

If you have any questions regarding the friction values, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


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