Spring’s coming … airparks need work!

With Spring just around the corner, maybe it’s time for you to take a good look at the condition of the runway and taxiways and other related facilities at your residential airpark.

Far too often maintenance and normal upkeep is put on the back burner during the winter months. That’s especially true in areas where the property gets buried in snow or other inclement weather. With that time situation, flying is often down and the net result is that problems with the runway and taxiway are missed.

Here’s a quick checklist to get your airpark into top shape for the upcoming increase in flying weather and related flying activities:

  1. Paved runway – Has foul freezing and thawing created bad spots on the surface? Have cracks developed in the asphalt or concrete? Can you see any depressions on the surface, indicating a possible failure of the base under the pavement ? How about moss – this can seriously reduce braking ability if present? If you plowed the runway, were any reflectors knocked loose or lights damaged? Did the plow create any gouges in the pavement?
  2. Unpaved runway – Is the turf too soft now for safe operations? Is a NOTAM needed to make sure no one tries to takeoff or land on a very soft strip? Have rocks protruded onto the surface? Are puddles of water standing on the runway or taxiways? Do some area need to be reworked to make sure they have a proper crown to allow water to drain properly? Are there bare spots in the turf that need to be reseeded?
  3. Runway lighting – Are all the lights working properly? Are the covers clean? Have reflectors disappeared? If they are pilot controlled, is the control mechanism working properly? If on auto timers or photo cells have those survived the winter weather to function adequately?
  4. Surrounding area – Have trees or shrubs grown into the approach corridors to the runway? Is there a need to prune bushes along the taxiway areas? Have neighbors erected new towers that should be noted? Are there any new buildings that should get special attention, ie, schools, churches, hospitals, etc.?
  5. Signage –Are the airpark entry signs clean and neat appearing? Do they need updating? Are there warning signs that should be replaced, such as no trespassing or watch for airplanes, etc.?

The main thing is that you become aware of your residential airpark and its environs. Make a walking tour of all the areas that planes and cars might travel and make sure everything is in good order.