Airport Express by Fieldmaster

Airport and Airfield Grass Mowing and Control

The importance of grass control at airports.

Bird and other wildlife strikes to aircraft annually cause well over $700 million in damage to U.S. civil and military aviation alone. Furthermore, these strikes put the lives of aircraft crew members and their passengers at risk: over 250 people have been killed worldwide as a result of wildlife strikes since 1988. Globally the cost is $1.4 billion, and 90% of birdstrike incidents take place near or on airports.

A fundamental part of bird control at airports is keeping the grass at the right length – long enough to deter birds from landing, but short enough not to tempt them with seed or insects attracted by flowers.

Additionally, the soil cannot be damaged or exposed at any time, because this attracts birds to eat worms, nor can windrows be left as they attract rats and mice and can blow to the terminal areas.

A flock of the common starling was enough to kill 62 people in Boston!

Company Profile

  • The Difficulty of Grass Control at Airports

    • The area is enormous – Auckland Airport in New Zealand, alone has two million square metres of grass to mow.
    • The ground is flat, often low-lying with poor drainage, making areas impassable to traditional tractors.
    • Mowing at higher heights (200mm) through a mixture of grass types is technically challenging.
    • There can be no accumulations of cut materials and cut grass must mulch down very quickly.
    • Access to the areas is brief and infrequent (2.5 hours a week for the runway area at Auckland airport).
    • Vehicles must be able to move at speed in the event of an aircraft emergency.
    • Vehicles must not eject debris because loose stones are a lethal threat to aircraft.


  • How Does it Work?

    The Airport Express is built around a base unit of the Reform Metrac H7X, a 70hp slope tractor. Being built for alpine use, it is light (2.3tonnes base weight) with four broad, small- diameter driving wheels.

    The Airport Express has a ground loading of 7psi, the same as a man, which allows it to access the boggiest areas.

    The Airport Express suspends the cutting decks from frames, with 95% of the weight of the decks taken through the wheels, avoiding any form of ground damage.

    In order to reduce overall weight (and weight at the extremities), the decks are made of carbon-fibre (interwoven with Kevlar) with hydraulic drive.

    The decks use a (patent pending) ground-following system which instantly adjusts to fluctuations in the ground height as felt at the front of each individual cutting deck.

    The cutting heads use advanced high-speed cutting technology which ensures 5 passes over each area of the cut width, which uses lift to ensure a perfect cut and which finely threshes the cut material.


  • Additional Benefits

    Operator comfort – the machine has outstanding visibility, low operator movement due to vehicle motion and all functions are located with the ergonomics of the driver in mind

    Operator accuracy – the machine includes cutting head rpm displayed via a HUD, and a large/small scale GPS for optimal track following (essential when cutting a 40mm difference in the dark) and hazard logging.

    Speed to vacate – the machine has a road speed of 40kmh, and in the event of emergency it takes only a couple of seconds to be clearing the scene at maximum speed.

    Speed to change cutting height – Cut heights from 80 to 200mm (or more) are available, and changing each deck takes less than one minute with a spanner.

    Low running cost – the economical Austrian machine uses a 70 Hp engine and the cutting system has few consumable parts.

    Asset management – the servicing data and the system is managed via a touch screen controller in the cab, providing usage and parameter information.


  • Summary

    • Can cut 66,000 sq m per hour
    • Cuts at over 20km/h
    • Chops finely leaving no windrows even at speed
    • Can go anywhere a man can (7 Psi ground loading)
    • No damage from ground contact
    • Designed for operator efficiency

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Airport Express by Fieldmaster
68 Adams Drive
New Zealand
  • +64 (9) 237 1500
  • 0800 500 275