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July 22, 2013 at 8:27 PM

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Where the rubber meets the runway


MIKE SIEGEL / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Rich Coutu, of the Port of Seattle airfield-maintenance crew, uses a pressure-washing tool to remove rubber left by the tires of landing planes from the center runway at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport recently. An Alaska 737 is seen taking off in the distance. Removing the rubber, using pressure of 40,000 pounds per square inch, gives planes more traction when landing. The maintenance is performed three to four times each year. The runway closures do not affect flight schedules.

MIKE SIEGEL / THE SEATTLE TIMES

A plume of smoke from tire rubber hitting the runway is seen as a plane lands at Sea-Tac. Rubber is left on the runway by each landing.

For more photos, visit the gallery.

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