For example, the following white and orange striped ramp:


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


4 Answers 4


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.

  • 7
    $\begingroup$ 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.) $\endgroup$
    – reirab
    Commented Jul 3, 2014 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.


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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    $\begingroup$ likely concrete blocks that a forklift can move (of the same type you'd see during highway construction) $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 17, 2014 at 13:16
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    $\begingroup$ 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? $\endgroup$
    – Phil Perry
    Commented Jun 17, 2014 at 14:09
  • $\begingroup$ @PhilPerry these things are. They're basically steel frames with metal sheeting bolted on, they're not solid. $\endgroup$
    – jwenting
    Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 6:58

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


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

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    $\begingroup$ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jet_blast_deflector $\endgroup$
    – ChrisW
    Commented Jun 16, 2014 at 18:04
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    $\begingroup$ +1 I can't understand why your answer provided in the 10 minutes after the question was published has not been selected/upvoted more. The currently selected says less and was written 24 hours after... $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 15:21
  • $\begingroup$ Link-only answers are not good, can you at least expand on their point here onsite? Is it only when taxiways (esp. with small planes) pass near start of a large runway (with large planes)? (How near, what size plane on the large runway, how much thrust?) Is it mainly for safety rather than noise pollution? Does it depend if there's populated land or water in the direct path behind the large runway? etc etc. $\endgroup$
    – smci
    Commented Oct 2, 2019 at 21:24
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    $\begingroup$ @smci this is not a link only answer and those extra points are separate questions. $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 11:00

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