Thursday, February 24, 2005
Construction to shut airport in Redlands
Three weeks of runway work planned
By Leonor Vivanco
The San Bernardino (CA) Sun
REDLANDS – Starting early next month, pilots will not be able to fly in or out of the Redlands Municipal Airport for three weeks while the runway is repaired. The 250 tenants and three flight schools at the general aviation airport will be “slightly inconvenienced right now, but they’ll see long-term benefits,” Airport Manager Charlotte Kranenburg said Thursday.
The $1.4million project includes replacing the pavement and striping on the taxiway and on the 4,570-foot-long and 75-foot-wide runway. There will also be new taxiway lighting, a new windsock to show pilots wind conditions and direction, and a new precision approach path indicator to tell pilots how close they are to the ground.
Laird Construction Co. work crews will begin moving equipment to the airport Monday.
The airport will be closed only for runway construction. The construction is expected to start by March 7 and be finished in 21 days if weather doesn’t delay the work, Kranenburg said.
“It could use some repair. It is an old runway,” said James Ladue, a dispatcher for the flight school M.I. Air Corp.
Kranenburg said there are major cracks on the runway and very little work has been done to it.
The 180-acre airport was built in 1947 by a private owner and purchased by the city in 1962. The last major project at the airport was in 1997 when slurry seal was added to portions of the property for pavement maintenance.
Another flight school, Aero Tech Academy, is trying to work out an alternative training site for its students while their Federal Aviation Administration exam office stays open.
“It’s a big inconvenience and can become a hardship,” said Danielle Carrasco, assistant academy office manager. “If students are not willing to go with us to San Bernardino (International Airport) to meet us, we’re not going to make any money.”
M.I. Air Corp. expects to send its planes to the San Bernardino airport, and other pilots are welcome to do the same while the Redlands airport is closed.
The San Bernardino airport is offering Redlands airport users a place to park their aircraft for free, said Eric Ray, San Bernardino airport operations manager.
It’s the neighborly thing to do, he said. The airport is “extending a hand and offering to help another airport at a time when they’re going to be out of service,” Ray said.
Typically, the tie-down daily fee for general aviation aircraft is $5 for single-engine planes and $8 for multi-engine aircraft.
The Redlands airport will be open during the construction of the taxiway, which will be done in two phases so at least one end of the taxiway can be used by pilots, Kranenburg said.
The entire project is expected to be completed in 90 days. The city and state are each paying 5percent of the project cost, and an FAA grant will fund the rest.