Mostly, this is because the grass areas we reconstructed last year are still comparatively new and therefore easily damaged by intensive aircraft activity. This increased wear is very obvious at the intersection between RWY14-32 and RWY 06-24, where the area has become worn through repeated aircraft movements. As the intersection does not have a crossfall (ie; a gradient to aid runway drainage), much of the work has been designed to improve water run-off from this area.
The work is far less intrusive than we did last year, so we're expecting the recovery time to be much quicker. As the runways continue to stabilise over the coming weeks, supported by improved drainage at the intersection, reseeding, fertilising, rolling etc, we will see a continuously improving situation with runway availability.
In the short term, however, the primary impact of the work is that it closes our two principal runways until the 26th February whilst the groundwork is completed. During this period we will only have RWY10-28 in use for fixed wing movements. Rotary movements during this period will be utilising a circuit pattern to the south of the aerodrome (centred on the RWY32 numbers), with all fixed-wing circuit activity to the north of the aerodrome. This gives us the safest possible operation in terms of segregating traffic in the air and also reduces noise impact on any one particular area.
From the 26th February, there will be construction activity (Members Meeting event build-up) in the undershoot for RWY10, which means that RWY10-28 cannot be used for a number of weeks We are, however, planning to have RWY06-24 open for fixed-wing traffic.
For the GAC members who are pilots, check NOTAMs for the most up to date operational status of runways, or feel free to call the Air Traffic team who can advise on runway availability and surface condition.