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What are the possible materials that can be used on a runway, so as to reduce the plane speed and certainly stop the plane while preventing skidding when the runway is wet?

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This question has kept industry awake at night for ages now. A good start is here.

TL; DR: In addition to grooving, some runways (e.g. London City) apply a special surface material that is called a Porous Friction Course.

An alternative to grooving as a means of facilitating surface water dispersal is the laying of a Porous Friction Course (PFC) which allows water to pass vertically through the surface layer and then move horizontally clear of the runway beneath, but essentially parallel to the surface.

The trouble with all that is that if you test it, build it and then calculate performance taking credit for it, if it doesn’t work for real for whatever unknown unknown, you are likely to find out by having to remove an aircraft from the Thames river which is kind of frowned upon by most. You want to be a bit conservative with runway friction.

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In Alaska where most GA pilots fly tail wheel bush planes, many airports have gravel runways because they work better in the snow and ice. In fact many Alaskan pilots prefer landing on gravel runways even in good conditions because they don't like the fact that tires tend to skid when they first make contact with a hard surface runway.

That being said gravel runways don't tend to work as well for nose gear or heavy aircraft. The bouncy nature of the gravel runway is bad for the nose gear and could result in a prop strike. Also Alaskan planes will usually be equipped with larger wheel base tires that are designed for bush flying and work well for gravel runways.

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  • $\begingroup$ Loose gravel can also be sucked up by the prop and thrown backwards, causing prop dings and dings on the tail. Large wheels on tail draggers keep the prop clear of gravel. Tail still takes a beating. $\endgroup$ – CrossRoads Oct 16 '18 at 17:58
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I believe the most that is done is to have grooves on the runway surface to help with water runoff.

Airports also use vehicles with large brushes to help keep the runways clean.

Plane tires do not have sipes (the cuts that go across the tire tread) to disperse water out to the sides that car tires have to help with hydroplaning.

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