Each spring, the airfield at Winnipeg Richardson International Airport receives a much-needed facelift to make sure critical markings for flight are visible from the sky.
To support aircraft landings day and night at YWG, the airport's two runways are painted by a team of trained airfield maintenance specialists in a specific fashion over the course of approximately 60 hours. First, fast-drying traffic paint arrives by the 1,230-litre drum in one of four colours: red, white, black and yellow. Next, the EZ-Liner YWG paint truck, purchased in the fall of 2017, is stocked up with paint quantities and a full tank of microscopic glass beads. Onto the runway they go.
All runway markings are white in colour and need to meet standards outlined by Transport Canada. As a plane comes in to land, a number of indicators are essential for pilots including aiming points, touchdown zones, threshold markings and, of course, the runway centreline. All of the markings are re-painted once a year with the exception of the centreline, which is refreshed twice annually. The entire process requires extreme care and technique.
One team member is responsible for driving the paint truck at a slow but steady speed in a straight line, which is easy in theory but not as simple in practice. At the same time, another airfield maintenance specialist sits in the control area in the back operating the paint carriage. This person monitors the pressure systems and steers the carriage to evenly disperse the paint and glass beads. The fresh coat of white paint brightens up the runway and the reflective glass beads illuminate the surface to increase the visibility of each line.
With the runways boasting a renewed shine, the airfield maintenance team pivots to complete all other painting jobs at YWG. This includes the red safety lines around the bridges, the gate numbers where the planes pull up to the terminal, the yellow nose wheel lines on taxiways and much more. It takes a full season to complete all of the painting at Winnipeg Richardson International Airport, taking into account challenging weather conditions like wind or rain.
Luckily, the EZ-Liner YWG paint truck helps speed things along with improved performance measures and the ability to heat the paint on colder days. These factors, paired with a tremendous amount of teamwork, help get the job done to an impressive standard each year at YWG.