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For example, the following white and orange striped ramp:

ramp

I've seen these at a couple large airports but I've never seen them actually used for anything.

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4 Answers 4

up vote 24 down vote accepted

Here in the United States these are called blast fences. They protect whatever may be behind them from the direct effects of jet blast by directing the blast upwards.

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Checkmarked by popular demand :) –  Billy ONeal Jun 18 at 19:13
    
Airports do have blast fences for the purpose that you mention, but the barrier in this picture appears to just be a barricade blocking a closed taxiway, not a blast fence. Blast fences are typically taller than that and, at least in the case of most of the ones I've seen, aren't painted (though they do often have red lights on the top to help pilot see and avoid them when landing or taxiing.) –  reirab Jul 3 at 18:47

Apart from blast fences, they also serve as wind breaks and to deflect engine noise away from the area behind them.
And of course they can (and the one you showed looks like it might be) intended to be a visible marker of a closed taxiway or runway.

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If you've ever watched an aircraft carrier launch a plane, you'll see such a barrier pop up (on hinges) right behind the jet exhaust to deflect it upward and away from other aircraft and deck crew behind the launch catapult.

These things (picture above) look pretty heavy, so they won't be blown over easily. I doubt they would use them to mark a closed runway, unless it's quite long term, as they would be difficult to move around. Does anyone know if they are in fact lightweight, and attach to the runway in some manner?

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likely concrete blocks that a forklift can move (of the same type you'd see during highway construction) –  ratchet freak Jun 17 at 13:16
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I wonder if skateboarders ever try to sneak in and do "quarter-pipe" maneuvers on them? Anyway, even if a forklift can move them (temporary runway closure), it would still be a hassle. Plus, they would be quite damaging if an aircraft were to accidentally plow into them while landing/taking off, or even just taxying. Aren't closed runway markers supposed to be lightweight and frangible? –  Phil Perry Jun 17 at 14:09

The following is speculation, as I have no specific knowledge on the matter, but searching a bit it seems that they are needed for deflecting upwards the engine blast

http://www.bdi.aero/

Also, it seems from that website that they also provide a minimum of noise abatement.

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