The Isle of Man is a small island of only 588km² in the middle of the sea between Scotland and Ireland. There is a small airport called Ronaldsway, where Balfour Beatty Regional Civil Engineering, a UK and Ireland-based regional civil engineering business, recently completed a series of works. This included creating a promontory 200m long into the Irsh Sea to extend the runway end safety area to comply with latest international safety standards.
To complete the works, the head of the runway was fenced and protected with a fibre-reinforced polymer (FRP) fence designed and produced by FIBRE NET. The fence fully complied with the requirements pertaining to safety and security during airport operation, especially with regards to frangibility and radio-transparency in an environment featuring particularly harsh conditions in terms of chemical corrosion (the runway lies near the sea, in a brackish environment), wind load and temperature.
The fencing system manufactured by Fibre Net consisted of mesh, posts and accessories made of FRP composite material, whose mechanical and frangibility characteristics are compliant with ICAO standards – Annex14 Volume 1 “Aerodrome Design and Operations”. Also, the material guarantees the radio-transparency levels as required in the presence of flight assistance radar equipment (ILS or other).
In particular, the installation at Ronaldsway airport consisted of a stretch of fence corresponding to the airport sensitive area. It was partly installed on steep sloping ground and with different ground-anchoring methods. Each element was designed and sized depending on the plan and special needs of the customer. The fence colour too was chosen following the special characteristics demanded by the local airport authorities.
The design and production required great technical expertise, although the installation made by Balfour Beatty personnel was simple and extremely quick with an aesthetic result which was also appreciated by the builders and the customer alike.