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Building an airstrip

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Old 03-04-2003, 08:20 PM
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Backwing
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Default Building an airstrip

Anyone have any experience in this? I assume a grass strip would be built similar to a golf green.
I have access to a few areas on one of our farms that has wide open spaces, and enough room for about a 400' strip(along with a dozer, backhoe, and farm equip. for construction).
Is this long enough? I see some places have 800-1200' strips. There are no trees, power lines, obstructions, etc... and is pretty flat.

Also thinking about using it for a club flying spot.
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Old 03-04-2003, 09:02 PM
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MinnFlyer
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Default Building an airstrip

I doesn't have to be as nice as a golf green (although I wouldn't complain if it was!). A fairway will do. And God knows, I've seen much worse!
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Old 03-04-2003, 09:06 PM
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Default Building an airstrip

Grass is nice, 400 foot is good. Thats what ours is. If you get any shorter, the fast pattern and big birds have some problems. If you can get grass to grow it is nice. All we gould get is clumps. Just had a gravel clay mix put down and rolled. Now it is like asphalt. I like it. Works well.
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Old 03-04-2003, 10:07 PM
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Default Building an airstrip

at my old club the grass was cut about once a month and that was even in summer! after about 2 weeks most planes could not take off from the ground so many were hand launched. At the local school field theres a little cricket pitch made of astro turf and personally its the best surface i've ever landed/ took off on.
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Old 03-05-2003, 07:30 PM
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mulligan
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Default Building an airstrip

Good advice above. If you do create your own grass runway, make sure to get it level and roll it with a HEAVY roller many times to ensure it stays reasonably level for awhile.

- George
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Old 03-05-2003, 08:32 PM
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Default Building an airstrip

Make it as big as you can!
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Old 03-05-2003, 10:41 PM
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Default Building an airstrip

Our field is 100' X 400' grass field and it is fine for everything we fly. However no one in our club flies jets.

We keep the grass short as it is cut weekly.

You should also consider the prevailing winds when laying out your field. In our area, the wind is usually from the west. So in that case, the optimum runways would run east-west.

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Old 03-05-2003, 11:31 PM
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Default Building an airstrip

the best grass i've ever seen was when i was in scotland. I was visiting a town whilst on holiday and there was a little area for playing bowls, and the grass

I LOVED THAT GRASS!!!!!!!

it was like something out of a dream, it was so short and was cut absoloutley perfectly, also extremely green, i must hand it to the guy who looks after that grass that he is truly an excellent artist

that grass must have been maintained at least every 2 days.

I was tempted to demand my mother make the 4 hour journey home, and then back again to collect my plane, then again though, i couldnt ruin a work of art just like that.
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Old 03-05-2003, 11:56 PM
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Default Building an airstrip

Our flying surface is kind of unique (I think). It is made out of what the old timers call dryer belts. I guess this is some kind of farming equipement but is getting hard to come buy. It is about 20 or 30 feet wide and I don't know how long but as long as the ground underneath has been rolled flat the surface is similiar to asphault.
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Old 03-06-2003, 04:09 AM
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Default Grass is cheap-- works fine

We poured a concrete runway.

A tiny one-- 750' long and 50' wide.

It only cost us a little over $175,000 dollars.

Rediculous IMO. But the club voted, the club decided and we all got stuck with a $200 assessment-- weather we liked it or not.
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Old 03-06-2003, 04:54 AM
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Default Re: Grass is cheap-- works fine

Originally posted by Rcpilet
We poured a concrete runway.

A tiny one-- 750' long and 50' wide.

It only cost us a little over $175,000 dollars.

Rediculous IMO. But the club voted, the club decided and we all got stuck with a $200 assessment-- weather we liked it or not.
WOW you guys must have like 800 members to cover that.
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Old 03-06-2003, 05:16 AM
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Default Building an airstrip

Heck, Id pay more than $200 for a strip like that anyday!
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Old 03-06-2003, 05:26 AM
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Default Building an airstrip

Wow, as long as you take care of it, that 200 bucks should give you a fantastic flying playground! Grass can be very limiting sometimes, but when it looks good, I'm a happy guy!
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Old 03-06-2003, 05:37 AM
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lavneet
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Default Building an airstrip

Hi Back wing,
I have experience in turning a farm land into a runway and flying field. I have posted all our trials and tribulations in trying to build it at our Indian RC portal....here is the link......


http://www.indiarc.com/cgi-bin/yabb/...num=1036995626




we measured it at 215 X 32 feet.
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Old 03-06-2003, 07:35 AM
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Default Building an airstrip

ours is 800 and I don't ever use 1/2 of it

and I would settle for a fairway. A green takes too much maintenance
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Old 03-06-2003, 01:33 PM
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Default Building an airstrip

Some years ago, we put 2 runways on a farm (both grass strips).
The main runway was 600 x 50, and the crosswind was 500 x 50.
The runways were aligned to face into prevailing winds. The farmer's father was a weatherman, so he knew the site well.

It was smoothed with a roller after working the soil with farm equipment several times. In our case, the field had a slight natural "rise" right at the crossover of the two runways. This really seems to help getting airborne sometimes, and is a bit of a natural "brake" for slowing on landing. It also helps with drainage after heavy rain. And, each runway had a slight crown which also helped keep it dry. The ends of the main runway had an "overrun area" of taller grass.

We planted what is called "runway grass" available from a farm supply store, using lots of seed and rolling it. It came out very nice, and we used that (excellent) field for a number of years.

Regards,

Al
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Old 03-07-2003, 02:08 AM
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Default Building an airstrip

The concrete is definetly nice. It's hard to use it all-- but I manage sometimes

We had some pretty heated arguments about this runway; due to the costs involved. We spent months at club meetings discussing the pros and cons of the expense.

I was a very persuasive advocate for grass, but its a democratic club and majority rules.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. The concrete is REALLY nice. But we are leasing this property in 5 yr intervals. We've been there less than one yr as of today 03-06-03. My argument was that we could loose the lease in 5 yrs and we'd be SOL. The club decided to gamble on the renewal of the lease---and the concrete runway was born.

I got my fingers crossed.

As for the number of members-- we've got about 400 now. I believe that we may be almost the largest club in the lower 48. But we only have members from one state. There is a club on the Northeast coast that has more members-- but they have members from several states combined.

We had about $75,000 in the treasury before we got started on this runway. All of that went to the runway and then there was the $200 assessment. We also had a few charitable contributions from members. Some of these contributions were in the $5,000 to $10,000 amount. Those people all chose to remain anonymous.

Pretty good bunch of guys overall. I chipped in my $200 and it was worth it.
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Old 03-07-2003, 02:54 AM
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Default Building an airstrip

RCpilet I can see why you would be apprehensive with the lease situation. I only wish we had concrete. Seems like asphalt would have been cheaper but I imagine you guys checked into all of that. Oh by the way are there any problems running r/c engines 1 mile up?

It might have been cheaper to buy the old denver airport
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Old 03-08-2003, 03:41 PM
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Default Building an airstrip

Given the economy at the time-- concrete was the same price as asphalt. But-- concrete is maintenence free-- whereas asphalt needs to be sealed and messed with every few years. The sun is so hot here at 6000' that the asphalt really takes a beating. It buckles up and cracks a lot. Our old runway was asphalt and it was a pain in the rear.

One of our members owns the concrete company that did our runway. That $175K was COST!!! If we'd had to actually pay full price for the runway-- I think it would have been around $250K

As for engines at 6000'---they lose about 15% or 20% power because of the thin air.

We always put AT LEAST the biggest recommended engine on a plane. I usually put twice the engine recomended---if you want unlimited vertical and ability to pull out of a hover with authority-- then you'll need about a 91FX on a 4*40. For the guys flying the 40 size Something Extra-- they need about a Saito 91 or a 91FX for hoverability and good vertical out of the hover.

With a plane like that-- the wing loading goes up pretty good. We already have to land fast here. Lower air density requires more speed to generate the same lift. With high wing loading-- landings get up in the Mach 2 or Mach 3 range.
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Old 03-09-2003, 11:08 AM
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Default Building an airstrip

runway size will depend on the size and type of planes you fly. for 80% of planes a 400 foot strip is ok. but if you get into some larger warbirds then you will want 600-700 feet. of course the approach areas have some to do with this too. if you have ckear/open approaches then you can touch down closer to the start of the runway. also the time when you want more runway is when you are flying a plane for the first time or so, when you are learning how it flies and how it lands.

here in ohio the best rc runway is a rolled grass runway, unless you want to fly jets. then you probably want a paved runway. the rolled runway will need to be rolled every so often to keep it fairly flat. i would say at least every other year.

the runway should be into the prevailing winds. if you a can do it set up a cross runway.

ed
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Old 03-09-2003, 01:38 PM
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Default Building an airstrip

Admittedly our club has only a marginal runway, but landowner lets us use it for free and there aren't many other options. It's about 350' long, but the problem is that the last 50-75 feet of it is sloped somewhat. We have a few smaller runways oriented in other angles to make it easier for the new guys to deal with the wind (which is a problem at our club).

Most of the birds we fly at the club do not have any issues at all landing on the 350' runway. The club pres does have a 25% extra 230 that takes a little more room to get off the ground, but he manages quite well.

We just live with what we've been dealt. The comradery makes up for any dificiencies in the runway
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Old 03-09-2003, 03:53 PM
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Default Building an airstrip

Coomarlin - Was that grass already established, or did you guys redo the strip?
I also have another area that I can use with established grass, but it's kind of rough, but level. So I'm trying to figure out how to apply some sand and roll it to smooth it out.
We have very sandy soil so maybe a good watering and a really heavy roller.
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Old 03-10-2003, 01:12 AM
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Default OUR FLYING FIELD

We fenced in an area 1000X1000Ft and created an all bermuda grass field shaped like a pie plate.900 ft in Dia.Took an area out to create a staging area pilot stations, a shed and 33 ft travel trailor w/ac ,heat and set up area plus a 30 ft used shipping container . We have about 2000 ft more of fly over area in all directions. We have the opportunity to fly 270 degrees in any direction. We just watch the wind tell out on the fence line staight ahead to see the takeoff and landing direction.. NO accidents in 4 years. We just hosted the 2nd JR CHALLENGE at our field and flew 4 pilots at a time all day for 4 days, 70 in all.We also fly jets off our field..Our dues are 60.00 per year & we have 90 members.AND we can fly 360 days each year..Membership is not limited..Enough said..Jim McClary VP
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Old 03-10-2003, 01:28 AM
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Default Building an airstrip

Our strip was built on a reclaimed strip mine that was mined back in the 70's. The field sat for what I believe was about 10 years before it was converted into a RC field. The field was basically a hay field. The original people who started the club spent a lot of time clearing out rocks and getting the grass to a managable level. As you can see from the picture we mow a pit area with small entries onto the runway. The rest of the area we let the grass grow a little high to act as a boundary. We've brought down several dead sticks in the high grass and it actually can help pad the crash landings to some degree. But on the flip side it can also sometimes cause more damage than a cut field. The landowner cuts the hay twice a year. The field has a barbed wire fence around it's perimeter with No tresspassing signs to keep out hoodlums. This doesn't always work. Twice now some rednecks drove up to the field to party in their trucks. Sometimes leaving craters and doughnuts in the field. The landowner is keeping a better eye out for the vandels now. Our field is not asphalt smooth, but it's not too bad for grass. We haven't tore up any planes on it yet.

Originally posted by Backwing
Coomarlin - Was that grass already established, or did you guys redo the strip?
I also have another area that I can use with established grass, but it's kind of rough, but level. So I'm trying to figure out how to apply some sand and roll it to smooth it out.
We have very sandy soil so maybe a good watering and a really heavy roller.
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