May 31, 2018

Gilbreath discusses airfield maintenance techniques at OAOA conference

Megger testing measures the resistance of an airfield’s cable insulation and is necessary to determine the integrity of that insulation. Garver Aviation Electrical Leader Bart Gilbreath recently presented to attendees at the Oklahoma Airport Operators Association annual conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma about the ins-and-outs of the technique. Gilbreath also touched on why it is best used for airfield maintenance and to preserve integrity of infrastructure.

Gilbreath has presented on similar topics at several conferences around the country by comparing electrical theory to a water distribution system. Gilbreath, while being assisted by Garver Aviation Team Leader Adam White, created multiple experiments to illustrate how electrical voltage is similar to water pressure, electrical current is equivalent to water flow, and electrical resistance is equal to drag.

“Everyone knows the phenomenon and effects of how performances decreases in the flow of water in your garden hose when you get cracks or leaks in it,” Gilbreath said. “The airfield cable is very much the same. I had one commercial airport director approach me afterward to tell me that even with decades of airfield experience he had never fully understood the concept until this presentation. Those types of comments are very rewarding.”

While attempting to keep the presentations light-hearted to assist with a somewhat dry topic, Gilbreath’s experiments utilized two buckets of water and a vinyl hose connecting them. Different hoses had different-sized holes indicating different magnitude of leaks, and thus different megger values.

Such testing is integral when updating airfield electrical systems, as Garver showed in a series of projects at Richard Lloyd Jones Jr. Airport in Tulsa. There, Garver replaced airfield signage, the airport beacon, construction of a new electrical vault, and new precision approach path indicators (PAPIs).

To watch the presentation in its entirety, click here.

To learn more about Garver’s Aviation Team, visit our Aviation services page.

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