New Pavement Acceptance

Every new airfield pavement must meet a specific smoothness criterion to receive federal funding. There are two primary methods to evaluate a new pavement for smoothness acceptance; using 16-foot straightedge or a California Profilograph.  APR’s expertise in pavement analysis lends itself to these methods of evaluation.  More information about the FAA's smoothness criteria can be found on their website.  Section P-401 (beginning on page 29) relates to the specifications for asphalt pavements and Section P-501 (beginning on page 97) relates to pavements constructed with PCC.  Search smoothness to go to the relevant part of either document.


Runway construction using PCC.


While the current smoothness guidance produces acceptable ride quality (as long as grade control is achieved), the devices used to measure the smoothness are old, out-of-date technologies. New technology is available that will not only assess the pavement as discussed in P-501 and P-401, but provide the stakeholders with actual measured profile data. This concept we call "Flexible Data" reinforces the advantages of using a newer profiling device rather than older, legacy devices such as the straightedge or profilograph:

  • It provides the stakeholders with the familiar results long used for initial smoothness testing (profile index or deviation from straightedge).
  • In the event that out-of-spec values are produced, it provides the stakeholders with an opportunity to evaluate the profile data with alternative techniques such as aircraft simulation or Boeing Bump Index.  These alternative tests have proven useful when deciding whether or not a pavement should be subject to corrective action or accepted as is.
  • Finally, the same profile measured to assess the initial smoothness of the pavement will be a deliverable to the airport for use as the pavement’s baseline profile, an important tool for the airport’s pavement management plan. 

If you are a pavement owner and agree that it is better to actually measure the pavement’s profile, please contact APR and we can help you write a new pavement specification that provides you with the best benefit for the life of your pavement.


If APR can help you with new pavement acceptance, please contact us to discuss your needs.