Naval Air Station Whiting Field Runways To Receive Repairs
NAS Whiting Field has two main air fields: North and South. In the North field, they conduct pilot training for fixed wing aircraft, primarily the T-6 Texan. In the South field, they conduct training for TH-57 helicopters.
Two of the runways in their South field have been scheduled to have some repairs done to them, beginning in a few months.
Jay Cope, Public Affairs Officer for NAS Whiting Field, says the repairs are standard and to be expected after so many years.
“After time, you’re going to notice some cracks and some chipping and some erosion on the sides of the runways,” says Cope. “That’s just kind of a given.”
Cope points out that they’ll be taking a “two phase” approach to the project, splitting the runways into two sections in an effort to have minimal effect on the helicopter training conducted in the South field.
“They’ll be able to continue operating pretty much as normal, utilizing one half of the runway,” says Cope. “We probably won’t see much, if any, of a reduction in the 1,500 flight hours that we do per week out at South field.”
According to Ron Joyner, facilities management director at NAS Whiting Field, it’s typical for runways to get repairs roughly every 15 to 20 years. He says it’s been close to 18 years since the runways at Whiting have received any repairs.
The work to be performed includes repair of asphalt pavement and shoulder surfaces.
“It’s a method of taking the existing pavement, and grinding it up to make a new base and then put a 2-inch overlay on top of that,” says Joyner. “If you just pave over an existing paved surface, and there’s already cracks there, those cracks will actually reflect up through the new pavement, so your paving project won’t last nearly as long. We’re also going to be correcting some drainage issues to help with storm water flow.”
After issuing a request-for-proposals, Joyner says the Navy awarded the $14.4 million contract to Lagan Construction LLC, out of Woodbridge, VA.
“The contractors are graded on previous work that they’ve done and then also the proposal that they put forth to come up with the best value for the government.”
As for the benefits of the runway repairs, Cope says it all comes down to insuring Whiting’s long-term mission to train the nation’s military aviators.
“We do 100% of the Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard initial helicopter training out of Whiting Field. What this is going to do is continue to help us do that and primarily just ensure that we’re doing it well into the future.”
The repairs are set to begin in the late summer/early fall of this year and are expected to be completed by early summer of 2016.