Back to Webletter

Five Minutes with Mike

By Mike Speidel

    I recently set up a Q&A session with a client in airside operations to interview him about his experience with the Airfield Marking Audit we conducted at his airport. Right before the scheduled interview he received word from his legal department that as a government entity he could not participate in an interview that could be perceived as an endorsement... blah, blah, blah. So, there I was, by myself at the "interview". Do you think that stopped me from interviewing myself? I'll answer that.

Mike: "Hi Mike, thanks for taking the time to talk with me today."

Mike: "Absolutely."

Mike: "For the record, would you tell me what it is that Sightline does?"

Mike: "This is ridiculous, but sure. Sightline improves airport marking systems. That is, we work with airports to enhance the safety, economy, and efficiency through various services like the audit."

Mike: "It seems they have a consultant for everything these days."

Mike: "Is that a question??"

Mike: "..."

Mike: "Stop looking at me in that tone of voice. Let's just get this over with."

Mike: "You referred to the Airfield Marking Audit - what exactly is it?"

Mike: "It's an assessment of how effective the markings are. It's like a Pavement Condition Index only this is focused on markings. It's based on several criteria that you probably couldn't begin to grasp."

Mike: "Isn't the FAA responsible for making sure markings are effective?"

Mike: "It's the responsibility of the airport to know how effective their markings are. The FAA generally inspects airports annually, but does not evaluate the markings the way we do."

Mike: "Are the audits finding airfield markings to be in good condition?"

Mike: "We always find markings ranging from "excellent" to "poor" in quality. Most airfield markings and airports fall into the "fair" range overall."

Mike: "How large is your typical sample size?"

Mike: "It depends on the size of the airport. The largest audits approach 1,000 individual marking samples."

Mike: "*Ahem* - How does an audit help an airport?"

Mike: "Like any audit, it identifies deficiencies; they may be due to poor visibility at night, or thick paint producing FOD, or non-compliance with the governing standards."

Mike: "How do they fix those things once the audit indentifies them?"

Mike: "We synthesize the data we collect to produce a prioritized maintenance plan detailing where the issues are and how to fix them. We also quantify how much maintenance is needed and create a budget for them - a lot of airports use the long-term budget to justify the cost to buy new equipment."

Mike: "Are the markings at airports improving?"

Mike: "Yes. I see progress being made as more airports implement our recommendations into their procedures, but it takes time."

Mike: "How would an airport get you to audit its markings?"

Mike: "The easiest way would be to click my name in the byline of this article."

Mike: "I think we're done."

Mike: "Mercifully."

Back to Webletter

Visit Sightline's Website Send us your comments, suggestions and inquiries! Type