Wednesday, August 6, 2008

TOP STORY >> Assault zone strip re-opens for business

By Staff Sgt. Juan Torres
314th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The Little Rock Air Force Base’s assault zone strip reopened Monday after completing a nearly $2.1 million construction project.

“The repairs that were conducted on the assault zone were to fix structural issues, improve the usability and bring it up to standard with new regulations,” said Phillip Thompson, 314th Operations Support Squadron airfield manager.

The assault zone, located on the north side of the main runway, is designed to simulate short landings at a “bare” base. The top surface of the assault zone was milled down 4” to 6” and new asphalt was laid in response to structural issues. Three-hundred foot overruns were also installed on the ends of the assault zone.

“We had problems with ruts and places where the seams were coming apart,” said Mr. Thompson. “We also extended the length of the strip due to problems where aircraft have ended up in the grass at the end of the strip.”

The assault zone also received improvements to include threshold and edge markings and 10-feet- wide paved shoulders. The assault zone previously had no shoulders, causing problems on the threshold with erosion and foreign objects and debris, said Mr. Thompson.

“New electrical and lighting systems have also been installed on the assault zone,” said Mr. Thompson. “The new systems will also improve the training mission by enabling crews to fly night time missions.”

While repairs were going on, short-landing training missions were simulated on the main runway using markings that were 500 feet long and 60 feet wide.

Next planned is a nearly $9.8 million airfield maintenance project to be started to the main runway beginning this November. The project will conduct slab and spot repairs, mark shoulders and reduce aircraft obstructions and hazards in response to new regulations.

“While we do expect some impact to flightline operations, the training mission will continue on,” said Mr. Thomson.


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