More Saab friction testers – from Norway

My thanks to Olav – who always takes the long road home – for sending in this information on some friction testers used in Norway. The original article is here, but Olav has very kindly provided a translation.

I’ve gotta say – I love the paint schemes on these vehicles. It’s a bit like the standard colors Saab used back in the 1970s. Cool.


The new friction test car arrived Vaernes just before Christmas 2006 and is a 2002 SAAB 9-5 3.0 V6. The old Friction tester is also a SAAB, and this older one (a SAAB 900) is 23 years old and has gone four times around the globe. The new SAAB is a lot more powerful and secure amd the test crew very rapidly can get the appropriate 96 km/h which is the correct speed when it comes to friction testing. Fire Dept Manager Reidar Hansen in Avinor (The Norwegian Aviation Authority) says that they are very pleased with the new SAAB friction tester.

Saab Friction Tester Click to enlarge.

The runway length at Vaernes is 3 kilometers, where the landing part is 2.3 kilometers. It’s the 2.3 kilometers that are being tested, and that means that the test crew has 350 meters in each end of the runway to accelerate and brake. The new 9-5 with it’s 200HP V6 is off course doing this with a lot more confidence than the old 900 test car, as it should because this new testcar costs around NOK 750 000,-.

A small wheel back in the SAAB is lowered down onto the runway for braking and the onboard computer receives messages about the friction level.

All friction test cars on Norwegian Airports are SAABs. Norway’s main airport Gardermoen outside Oslo has 4 SAAB Friction Test Cars. ‘It’s only possible to use FWD cars as Friction Testers, and SAAB is specially well fitted for the modification needed in the back of the car. The old 900 as mentioned earlier has travelled approximately 160,000 km, and performed flawlessly all the time’ says Fire Dept Manager Reidar Hansen in Avinor.

As Fire Dept Manager Reidar Hansen in Avinor also says it: SAAB is perfect as a ‘tool’ within the aviation business, they are after all built by the Svenska Aeroplan Aktie Bolaget.

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  1. So, when does “Saab Friction Tester Yellow” become a regular production colour? It sure beats the many shades of beige and grey that are currently available in Canada. Other than laser red and arctic white, they are all boring pastels.

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