Aircraft Surface Painting at GFK

Korissa’s Blog: Painting at GFK

Have you ever looked at a runway and wondered why it’s painted the way that it is? Runways, Taxiways, and Aprons all have different paint requirements including what type of lines, reflectivity beads imbedded in the paint, width of the spray, and the color. Runways markings are always white, taxiways have yellow paint, and apron paint markings differ depending on what needs to be marked and who needs to see it. Markings that can be seen here at GFK are runway identifier numbers, dashed centerlines, touchdown zone boxes, and fixed distance markings. We also have Runway Hold Lines, which are necessary because aircraft must obtain clearance before entering a runway. These lines are red boxes, with the runway number painted white inside. White and yellow markings have tiny glass beads imbedded in the paint so at night or in lower visibility, pilots can see the markings better when their aircraft lights hit the beads and reflect up to the cockpit. Pilots can differentiate taxiways from runways simply because taxiways have centerlines painted yellow. The terminal apron has lots of different markings because it serves commercial traffic and that area has a higher security clearance. We have a red and white line lining the perimeter of the terminal apron, signaling the Security Identification Display Area (basically, you need a special badge here) and we have yellow and black parking lines with boxes of the types of aircraft to indicate where certain sized aircraft should park in relation to their gate, like CRJ-900, 737, and Embraer 175. In the video, you can watch the maintenance staff paint the parking lines, the aircraft parking boxes, the centerline of Runway 35L/17R, the runway identifier number of 35R, and the centerline of Runway 35R/17L. You can see the machines spray paint in perfect lines and the glass beads dropping right behind the paint to get embedded. The new paint makes the runways look so clean and bright!