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Sudbury airport using new technology to better assess and report runway conditions

The technology will help measure and report the effects of contaminants such as snow, slush and water

CROSH will be conducting an evaluation over the next eight weeks of the new technology at the Sudbury Airport. (Marina von Stackelberg/CBC Sudbury)

The Greater Sudbury Airport is working with a company called Team Eagle to use new technology to assess runway conditions.

It is called Breaking Availability Tester, or BAT.  It will accurately measure and report the condition of the runway in terms of snow, slush and water and the effect it could have on aircraft anti-skid braking.

“Pilots are able to make better decisions as they come in for their approach,” says Jean-Mathieu Chenier, director of marketing.

“What this device actually does, what’s the most important part of this I would say, it provides objective scientifically base data, versus some subjectivity.”

Chenier hopes this new technology will help change the industry.

“Because there are still planes every year around the world that have excursion which is basically an airplane that skids off the runway. Basically they’ve run out of runway and so they may have got a measurement stating that they had enough time and space to move, however it may not have been as accurate as this new technology coming out.”

The airport will be working with Team Eagle and Laurentian University’s Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health (CROSH) on this project.

According to airport CEO Todd Tripp, it has the potential to change the way airports around the world inspect, report and communicate runway conditions for aircraft landing and take-off.

According to the news release, in 2020, Transport Canada will implement new rules that will require airports to comply with stringent details when assessing and reporting runway surface conditions. Tripp says this new advanced technology is designed specifically to help airports around the world respond to the new global reporting standards.

CROSH will be conducting an evaluation over the next eight weeks at the Sudbury Airport in order to suggest improvements to the system.

Officials hope the airport becomes a hub in northern Ontario for training operators, especially since northern Ontario has perfect conditions to test this technology.

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