Locating voids under airport runway with GPR

Locating voids under airport

incident avionThis is the time of year for travel and where airports need to start thinking about travellers safety by locating voids under airport runway. Since a problem with voids under a runway was confirmed after a Boeing 737 dropped through the concrete taxiway at the Mid Delta Regional Airport in Mississippi. It was reported the airplane sustained approximately $1.5 million in damages!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The necessity of ground penetrating radar to map any potential voids near the storm drain which crosses under a runway and a taxiway, had to be used. These subject areas were chosen due to the fact that geologists speculated the previous spring’s flooding of the nearby Mississippi River followed by current drought conditions may have caused the voids.

A geophysical firm based in Clinton, MS analyzed the GPR data and mapped the location of the void at a 40-45 cm depth slice and the pipe at a 95-100 cm depth slice beneath the void as shown in the images below.


In order to determine what caused the voids and if there may be other voids present, additional GPR surveys will be conducted in all other areas at the airport.

Subsurface voids under roadways can cause significant damage to property and possible injury or death to those traveling on those surfaces when they collapse. Fortunately this time the collapsed runway only resulted in a very expensive repair to the aircraft.

(Information and pictures originally published by Sensors & Software’s newsletter.)

We would love to here your comments on this post, do comment on the comment section below.