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Dedication Ceremony For Runway 16 Improvement Project

06/10/2011

June 22 at 1:30 PM

The Dedication of the Runway 16 Safety Area Project at the Fayetteville Executive Airport, Drake Field, will be on June 22, 2011, at 1:30 p.m. at the Fayetteville Executive Airport.  Please come on out and celebrate this new improvement at Drake Field.  Parking is available along Ernest Lancaster Drive, which is located north of the airport runway.

The Runway 16 Safety Area Improvement Project began with Strategic Planning sessions of the Airport Board in the summer of 2005 concerning the future of the airport for the next 20 years.   In 2006 we contracted for the Master Plan Update with Bernard Dunkelberg Airport Consulting. The Master Plan identified the Runway 16 Safety Area as the most critical investment needed and determined that the most cost effective means was to realign the roads that intrude into a standard safety area boundary.  Following a trip to Ft. Worth, Texas in early 2007 to visit the Southwest Region of the FAA, permission was granted to proceed with the project.  The initial FAA Grant paid for the extensive planning. McClelland Consulting Engineers determined the new roadway alignment and received approval from AHTD.  Phase II was funded by the second FAA Grant and included the Environmental Assessment Study and preliminary plans and specs for bidding by McClelland Consulting Engineers.  The third FAA Grant for Phase III included the property acquisition, final design and engineering and construction.  Sweetser Construction offered the low bid for the project and was selected to do the work.  Total project cost was $4.13 Million.

Several parcels of property were required to accommodate the new safety area.  Standard Register, Coulson Oil and Kearney National/Cooper Power sold us the necessary land for the appraised price.  Several years ago, Kearney National experienced contamination of a portion of the property not including that needed for the project.  Our purchase precipitated finalization of the remedial actions that allowed ADEQ to issue the Certificate of Completion to Kearney National under the Brownfields Program

The FAA standard for runway safety areas is 1000 feet past the runway end at a width of 500 feet.  A standard Runway Safety Area is proven to be a significant airport safety asset.  Aircraft that overrun the runway end due to brake failure or other malfunction have an unobstructed area in which to stop; minimizing damage and loss of life.  The area is surrounded by security fencing which keeps vehicles and persons from entering the runway environment.

With the standard Runway Safety Area, obstructions on the final approach to the runway were eliminated.  With a final approach clear of obstructions, we were able to apply for lower minimum descent altitudes which allow pilots a better opportunity to acquire the runway for landing under instrument meteorological conditions.

Additionally, should the airport need to add additional runway or other major infrastructure in the future, the FAA requires that there be no safety deficiency on the airport.  Our non standard Runway Safety Area although waivered, was considered a safety deficiency by the FAA.  Now there is no impediment to future Runway development.

The Runway 16 Safety Area Improvement Project is the most significant Airport Improvement Project undertaken at Drake Field in more than 20 years.  The $4 million project was funded by the FAA/AIP Grant program and the Department of Aeronautics State Airport Aid Grant program.  There are many to thank for the success of the project:  Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan and Administrative Staff; the Fayetteville City Council; The Fayetteville Airport Board; Ed Agnew, Manager Southwest Region FAA; Don Harris, Senior Program Manager FAA;  John Knight, Director Arkansas Department of Aeronautics;  Senators John Boozman and Mark Pryor; Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department; McClelland Consulting Engineers; Sweetser Construction Company; The Standard Register; and Kearney National/Cooper Power.

This project supports the many users of Drake field including the more than 100 based aircraft, the University of Arkansas, Superior Industries, Sunrise Aviation, Flying Investments, Devol Aviation, Wings Avionics, SkyVenture Aviation, Executive Aviation, Million Air, and our two Museums, The Arkansas Air Museum and the Ozark Military Museum.  Drake Field is the Aviation Front Door to the City supporting charter, corporate, medical, military and a host of cross country visitors flying to Fayetteville, and all the citizens of Fayetteville, Washington County and Northwest Arkansas.