Airfield pavements are intended primarily for airplane traffic in stationary, taxiing and takeoff/landing modes.  HMA is a durable, high-strength pavement material that is entirely appropriate for use at all types of airports, from general aviation to international hubs.  In fact, over 90 percent of the paved airfields in the U.S. are paved with HMA.

Figure 1: Bellingham International Airport

Figure 2: Paving at King County Airport

Assumed Traffic

Airplanes.  A methodical and reasonably accurate estimation of the type and number of airplanes is essential in determining the proper pavement structural design.  As with vehicular roads, heavy loads (e.g., jet liners, cargo planes) will control the design.

Design Considerations

Airfield pavement design is dominated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  The FAA has its own pavement specifications and design considerations.

Construction Considerations

Airfield pavement construction can be markedly different than vehicular roadway construction.  Although these differences are too numerous to list here it should be noted that FAA compaction requirements are typically more stringent than State DOT, city or county requirements.  This is because HMA paving by the FAA is generally intended for airport pavements, which experience less traffic and have different operating requirements (e.g. up to 60,000 lb. wheel loads, grooving and rubber removal) (Rapol, 2001).  Generally the FAA believes its aircraft pavements need 1 to 1.5 percent more initial density than vehicular pavements to meet their functional requirements (Rapol, 2001).


Recommended Reference

  • Federal Aviation Administration Airport HMA specifications – FAA AC 150/5370-10H  AC 150/5370-10H:  Standard Specifications for Construction of Airports
    • P-401 HMA for Surface Course
    • P-403 HMA for Base Course
    • P-601 Fuel Resistant Asphalt
  • Federal Aviation Administration Airport Pavement Design and Evaluation – FAA AC 150/5320-6G