Bangkok, Thailand is home to the world’s tallest air traffic control tower, the largest commercial aircraft hangar and, as of June 2011, the world’s largest ground run-up enclosure (GRE).

The 11,000m² facility, constructed at the Subarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok for Airports of Thailand (AOT) by Blast Deflectors (BDI) is designed to accommodate aircraft up to the A380 and is intended to reduce the impact of ground run-up noise on the communities surrounding the airport. The primary users of the GRE will be carriers with maintenance operations at BKK.

“High power ground run-ups are an essential part of most aircraft maintenance and particularly engine maintenance,” says Don Bergin, director of technical sales for BDI.

“Run-ups create significant noise levels and can last for extended periods of time. At an airport with as many MRO operations as BKK, a GRE is the best way to satisfy the needs of both aircraft operators and the communities surrounding the airports,” says Bergin.

AOT recognised this necessity and commissioned the building of the three-sided noise enclosure. The facility incorporates a number of acoustic and aerodynamic features that aid operators during the run-up process.

BDI’s patented aerodynamic Stabile Flow™ technology and acoustic Noise Blotter™ panels line the facility, creating a sophisticated and technologically advanced run-up facility. A BDI jet blast deflector behind the aircraft redirects high velocity engine exhaust up out of the facility, preventing dangerous recirculation of deoxygenated air into aircraft engines.

The AOT facility required several additional features. “The Subarnabhumi MRO area is quite spectacular when you look at the buildings and hangars around the airfield, and we knew from the beginning that this GRE would need to meet a high aesthetic standard,” says Mark Boe, president of BDI.

According to Boe, the GRE is equipped with steel cladding around the entire facility. This type of cladding is an option BDI offers when visual aesthetics are a requirement. The colour and style of the cladding can be customised to match surrounding buildings and hangars. This feature covers the exposed structural frames that support the facility, giving the GRE a visually pleasing finish.

AOT not only incorporated steel cladding into the facility design, but also took advantage of the marketing opportunity the enclosure presented. “The exterior of these facilities are seen by tens of thousands of passengers daily. They can be equipped with lighted signs or logos, providing the airport, airline or user with an excellent branding opportunity. A large name or logo mounted on the side of a GRE can greatly increase community awareness of the facility and the airports effort to be good neighbours,” says Bergin.

The BKK facility, located near the end of runway 01L, is equipped with a lighted logo sign on both of the lateral walls that not only branded the facility for AOT, but also explains to the public the purpose of the facility.

The AOT facility also features an automatic logging system that records and logs data associated with each engine run-up. The logged data includes noise levels (Lmax), time, duration and wind condition. A real-time camera is linked to a web page with GRE scheduling information, weather information and user instructions.

“Features like these mean that the GRE is not only usable from an aerodynamic standpoint, but also user-friendly and easy for the tenants of the airport to incorporate into their maintenance procedures.”