Runway Options?

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KC135DELTA

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Aug 1, 2006
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I live in kansas and I am planning on owning a plane (piper cheyenne 400ls). I was looking into buying some land and laying down my own runway. Until I saw the price. It would be several million dollars just to lay down a thin asphalt one that wouldn't last very long due to the fact that winters and summers around here can be quite harsh. So are there any other cheaper options?

Gravel - 400ls only has an 8inch blade clearence and would get lots of chips and nick in the props, in other words the whole runway would be a FOD field.

Dirt - I wouldn't be able to operate after a rain, and it would require constant repacking due to erosion.

Paved - Too expensive

any other options? I remember seeing somthing on the history channel about marson matting being used in the pacific by the B29's. Any more info on this? Did it work well? Is it expensive? what does it look like?

totally open on this one.

thanks,

drew
 

KC135DELTA

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Oh yea, I forgot to mention grass dosn't grow here naturally and laying sod would be extreamly expensive too, also the ammount of maintence looks high for such an area.
 

Captain_John

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KPYM
Reprocessed asphalt is an alternative, but it is coarse and has a consistency similar to gravel, but packs down with time and tends to shift less.

Try some on the road coming into your property and see if it fits your criteria.

:whistle: CJ
 

Norman

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Grand Junction, Colorado
Ironic that turf grass doesn't do well on the prairie. I was just on a reprocessed asphalt road a few days ago. It does pack down and stay in place better than gravel but I could still hear pebbles tapping the body.
 

KC135DELTA

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The reason why grass dosn't do well is if you cut it hardly at all it just burns up in the sun, not to mention we have dry spells lasting month or so at a time. Also if it gets wet it gets extreamly slick causing pretty long roll outs.
 

Peter V

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May 24, 2006
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What? no one has heard of Dirt Glue? :eek:

Spray-on polymer, makes the dirt hard as rock for up to 10 years. Only costs 12 cents per square foot. :D

http://www.polypavement.com

There's a lot of companies in the field, just Google 'dirt binder'
 

Midniteoyl

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Use to have a link to a 'mat' system that just goes down over dirt/grass. Mostly used to convert fields into parking lots w/o damaging the field.
I'll try to find it again.

Jim
 

Craig

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Jan 30, 2003
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Jupiter, Florida
Marston Mat

Drew -

I flew off Marston Mat in the Phillippines - pretty good stuff over dirt. The stuff is heavy gauge steel, with perferations. All the holes are chamfered, and the chamfer side goes down.

It ocmes in about 10' x 2' pieces. Has hooks on one side and one end, to match the eyes on the other side and end.

Gets fairly slick in the rain until it's been used a bit and some of the dirt underneath comes through to provide some traction.

I would check with some of the golf course people in your area, and find what types of grasses are best. Soem have been created that do well under your conditions.

Soil cement is a good altenative - the soil is tilled with what looks like a farrow, then the soil cement is sprinkled on and mixed in with the same equipment. The area (in my experience, a road) is leveled and rolled. Holds up well in weather. Probably some of the road construction guys in your area can tell you more aobut costs.

Good luck with your project.
 

CAB

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Build a Bearhawk and land it anywhere!:gig:

Sorry, couldn't resist.

CAB
Bearhawk#862
 

KC135DELTA

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Originally posted by CAB
Build a Bearhawk and land it anywhere!:gig:

Sorry, couldn't resist.

CAB
Bearhawk#862
show me one with 8 seats and 350knts, and in the mil area. I'll buy it.

but seriously, I am most deffinatly checking out that dirt glue, never heard of it before.

I an curious to see how it holds up to 12,500 pounds of cheyenne.
 

orion

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If it's what I'm familiar with, the "dirt glue" is a chemical binder that works primarily with the clay in the soil. The result of the mix is a surface that is nearly as hard and tough as concrete. The product is most commonly used by construction and minimg organizations in establishing roads, building sites and in some cases, berms.

My dad's company (Bechtel) commonly used it in constructing encasing berms around petroleum tanks. In one instance they built the berm but realized that they failed to install the necessary piping and drains. Going back in, the backhoe was unable to break it so a diamond drill (like used for drilling petroleum shafts) was used to try to punch a hole through the side. It took three drill bits to penetrate just one hole. They ended up blasting the berm and rebuilding it.

We used the chemical down in San Diego to coat a small mesa where we used to fly RC airplanes. We had problems with local kids (and adults) who liked to do doughnuts on the runway with their motorcycles and ATVs. After the treatment we found that several of the motorcycles left sizeable chunks of their tires behind - the pavement was so tough it peeled the knobbys right off the tire. That took care of that.

For best application, the material needs to be mixed in with the soil - 18 to 24 inches is generally recommended. This means you'll need a buldozer with a tilling attachment and preferably a mixer (the big truck that scoops up the tilled soil and mixes it internally before laying it back down). This then needs to be leveled and rolled.

I've seen one case where the contractor then put gravel down over the top and rolled it in before it set - great road.

This process needs to be done right, right from the start. If it gets goofed up, it's very difficult to go back in to fix it.

The problem though is that I seen it used and seen the results, but I've never ordered it or used it personally. As such, unfortunately I don't know the product name nor where you might get a hold of some.
 
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Peter V

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May 24, 2006
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139
Originally posted by orion

...but I've never ordered it or used it personally. As such, unfortunately I don't know the product name nor where you might get a hold of some.
Well I did include a link in my original post! :D

The polypavement folk seem to be a the top of the field. They claim to be the only such product to pass army testing.
 

KC135DELTA

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I'll have to check into the details later, work is overwhelming me beyond belief. I am loosing sleep rapidly.

It should all be over in about a year though, thank god.
 

orion

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Sorry Peter, I missed your link on my original read-through. It certainly does sound like the same stuff, or at least very similar.
 

Midniteoyl

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Marston Mat
One I was thinking of is similar, though made from recycled tires (I think) and was totally safe in the rain. Cool thing was, the grass grew through it, so it always looked like just another grass strip.
 

coltfarmer

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Feb 28, 2006
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Hogeland, MT
I live in N. Central MT, a very dry climate. I have a grass runway on my farm, which I planted about 20 years ago. The grass is Fairway crested wheat grass, a variety which matures and produces seed very early in the growing season, a characteristic of grasses which will survive in climates with short and/or dry growing seasons. We had a very dry summer (no rain from about June 20 until last week, daily temps in the 85-95 range) and I mowed the strip twice, compared to 3 or 4 times in a normal summer. The grass is crispy and brown now, but will come back nice and green next spring.

The local county airport, Hogeland (6U6), is three miles east of me. Last year, the state Aeronautics Commission "stabililzed" the dirt runway there, as an experiment. A dirt binder was plowed and mixed into the runway with an industrial-strength roto-tiller (self-propelled, with tines about 3 ft. in diameter and 8 feet wide) to a depth of about 18". I don't know what material was used, although I could possibly find out. The stuff looked like dry nitrogen fertilizer (small, white pellets). As part of this experiment, the surface of the runway was also sealed, using a pine resin based product. Mass quantities of this stuff were applied, approximately 30,000 gal. on a 60 X 3700 ft. runway. It took about 3 days for the solvent to flash off, and the whole area smelled like the Great North Woods during that time. Unfortunately, the sealer didn't bind to the substrate. After a week or two, the sealer had crumbled into small fragments which blew away like dry leaves in the wind. The engineer from the Aero. Commission theorized that the binder and the sealer were chemically incompatible, which prevented the sealer from penetrating the surface and binding with the stabilized dirt.

Even without a sealed surface, the runway is very hard, although not tire-shredding hard, as Orion described. I own the land surrounding the airport, and this land is used for growing wheat. We move 40,000 lb. tractors and 60,000 lb. semis across the runway on a regular basis with no ill effects . The surface of the runway has a very thin (approx. .5") layer which is comprised of very fine particles of dirt, sand and very small bits of gravel. Heavy traffic will leave a tire track in this thin layer, but does not effect the stabilized base. This thin surface layer also becomes very slick after a rain. The greasy-when-wet surface and the small debris present when dry would probably make this a surface from which one would not want to operate an aircraft such as a Cheyenne on a regular basis.

Mark
 

KC135DELTA

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Aug 1, 2006
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ok if I don't want to operate a cheyenne from somthing like that *I take your word for it*. Are their any other options?
 
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