enter image description here

This SUV is flashing yellow lights at the top.

  • 46
    $\begingroup$ Because if it pulled out ahead of the jet, it would get run over :-) $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Commented Dec 7, 2021 at 5:55
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Does this answer your question? How is a runway inspection carried out? $\endgroup$
    – CGCampbell
    Commented Dec 7, 2021 at 12:16
  • 14
    $\begingroup$ If it were a takeoff instead of a landing, I'd say it's the last scene from a 90's rom-com... $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 7, 2021 at 13:46
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ That's highway patrol performing a traffic stop. It's probably Will Smith or Tommy Lee Jones behind the wheel. $\endgroup$
    – zedmelon
    Commented Dec 7, 2021 at 23:40

1 Answer 1


That's a runway inspection, which is carried out at regular intervals throughout the day (depends on the airport).

More: How is a runway inspection carried out?

So, the vehicle wasn't following the plane, but was waiting for it to land so the runway inspection can be carried out.

The surfaces of all movement areas including pavements (runways, taxiways and aprons) and adjacent areas shall be inspected and their conditions monitored regularly as part of an aerodrome preventive and corrective maintenance programme with the objective of avoiding and eliminating any foreign object debris (FOD) that might cause damage to aircraft or impair the operation of aircraft systems.

— ICAO Annex 14

Some videos:

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    $\begingroup$ The absence, or more accurately the unfortunate timing of such an inspection not being done, is what directly led to the end of the Concorde program. Runway FOD is a very real and very nasty danger. $\endgroup$
    – PcMan
    Commented Dec 7, 2021 at 11:14
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @FreeMan a runway is a very flat, very boring, very predictable artificial construct. It should be a trivial task to make an automated surface scanner (a pretty simple task for a Lidar) that continually scans the runway surface, at least at the busier airports. $\endgroup$
    – PcMan
    Commented Dec 7, 2021 at 19:06
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    $\begingroup$ @PcMan: it exists but still needs to be car-mounted, as its range is ~100 m, unless airports are supposed to install and maintain 30 of those per runway :) $\endgroup$
    – user14897
    Commented Dec 7, 2021 at 19:20
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @ymb1 instead, let's just strap the sensors to the bottom of the planes. They're landing anyways, may as well collect some data! $\endgroup$
    – BruceWayne
    Commented Dec 7, 2021 at 19:22
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Runway inspection is not only about FODs plus runways are not flat which makes it hard to use immobile technology as parts of the runway might be obscured. Finding spills on or damage in the surface would require very sensitive equipment - which might also "overreact" (e.g. report pollen dropping from the skies). Runway inspection requires more than just "finding odd things", it also requires very quick judgment on whether those things are a threat or not. Something a human brain can do in fractions of a second way more reliable than any computer. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 8, 2021 at 12:46

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