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Making Change

By Donna Speidel

    One year ago, Sightline traveled to Bahrain as consultants to the Civil Aviation Affairs for the Kingdom of Bahrain. Last month, Sightline returned to Bahrain International Airport in route to a speaking engagement in Dubai (see "What's New"). The return visit was to observe first hand the changes that had occurred in the practices of marking application as well as to observe the results of test materials applied the year before.

    Upon my return, what was immediately apparent was the quality of the 6-inch (15 cm) markings that had been applied by the airport contractor using waterborne (Type III) paint and high index (Type III) glass beads. The difference was astounding. The year before, the airport contractor was using chlorinated rubber paint and very fine grade, low index glass beads; and the markings were rated poor to fair in the Marking Condition Index (MCI). During the consultancy, contractor personnel were trained to calibrate their equipment, shown ways to achieve uniform application of paint and glass beads, introduced to waterborne paint and high index glass beads, and shown the results during both daylight and darkness.

    Distance recognition is an objective in improving situational awareness. Markings that can be seen further during darkness or low visibility are safer and more effective. The brighter the markings, the further they can be seen.

    The contractor learned, accepted the challenge, and made the changes necessary to achieve the desired result. Bahrain's Civil Aviation Affairs was willing to commit the resources to improving marking performance in order to reduce marking maintenance cycles, reduce maintenance costs, improve the appearance of their markings, and enhance safety.

    Have all the problems been solved? No, not yet. But it takes time to develop the issues; it takes time to solve them. With some more time, more attention to areas still in need of improvement, and a few more resources, Bahrain International Airport will become an example of quality markings that will shine throughout the Middle East and perhaps the world.

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