Never forget that we are an all volunteer club, so work days like this one are vital to the club’s survival.
Not too many years ago, the concrete containment structure for the fuel tanks with associated wooden steps and deck were the project for a major Green Castle work day. Recently, the steps have started to become rickety, and the plywood platform between the tanks flexed more than it should when you walked on it. One crew replaced the stairs and platform.
Club members Leroy Wullmer and Joe DeMaria put the finishing touches on the new railing.
Another major project was our runway. As everyone who has used the runway recently knows, the cracks in the runway were getting pretty noticeable. Aside from making a few extra bumps in your landing, these cracks are dangerous because they allow water to get under the asphalt surface. Add a few freeze/thaw cycles and you are talking major surface upheaval.
A few months back, club member Andy Carpenter came to us with a proposal. If a few others would share in the investment, he would obtain a used machine to allow for sealing these cracks with hot tar. The club’s only direct cost ends up being the price of the blocks of tar.
Although it will end up making a smoother runway, the main object is to reseal the surface and keep the water from destroying the runway altogether.
Ryan Story leads off for the crew, using compressed air to blow debris out of the cracks, leaving clean asphalt to adhere to the hot tar.
While cracks are being cleared out down the runway, Andy’s boiler is being heated by propane. Solid blocks of tar (taken from the cardboard boxes in the picture) are placed carefully into the boiler. You do not want to splash hot tar.
The idea is to keep ahead of what you are pouring into the runway. If the level of liquid gets too low, you might get a little flame when you lift the lid.
Liquid tar from the boiler exits through a hose into a device that is basically the same kind of thing you see bakers use to put frosting on cakes, only bigger, hotter and much dirtier.
The crew works their way down the runway, all 2400 feet of it, plus the taxiway.
Here, Andy dispenses an initial layer of tar into the cracks.
Right behind the tar man comes Chris with a sort of squeeqee, pushing as much as possible of the tar into the crack while it is still molten. For big cracks, there is almost no need as the tar tends to vanish quickly into the depths.
For the wider cracks, the first application of tar is followed by an application of granular material (sand, cat litter, oil-dry etc) by Dave to fill up some of the space and conserve hot tar. A second layer of tar is added on top of this fill to seal the whole thing.
To see a brief video clip of the crew in action, click HERE:
Thanks to these guys, the runway at Green Castle is preserved for another year, and we can all get back to flying. There will certainly need to be similar activity in future years. Hopefully, our Club will continue to inspire this kind of spirit.