Cost of having your own runway?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by wbarnhill, Mar 27, 2006.

  1. wbarnhill

    wbarnhill Final Approach

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    Out of curiousity, what would the general cost be to make an area of land suitable for personal flying use? Basically I'm wondering if I had an area of mostly flat ground, what cost am I looking at to ensure the turf is adequate for GA operations? And a step further, what would it cost to have a paved runway of your own? Let's say about 2500x75.
     
  2. Brian Austin

    Brian Austin En-Route

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    Very regionally dependent here.

    In some areas, a mow deck and roller on the back of a tractor, plus a few hours time will give you a decent runway.
     
  3. AirBaker

    AirBaker Pattern Altitude

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    75 seems pretty wide for your own use. Unless you've got a BIG plane. :)
     
  4. wbarnhill

    wbarnhill Final Approach

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    I just grabbed a number from a local airpark's airnav page.

    And maybe I want a BIG plane :p
     
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  5. SkyHog

    SkyHog Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I'm guessing whatever price you find can be cut in about 8 if you just do it yourself.

    It can't be that hard, seriously. Grass or asphalt, just do it. One day I'll own my own land, and there will be a strip there.
     
  6. wbarnhill

    wbarnhill Final Approach

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    That was my plan too, but I'm just curious of the costs. Was afraid there was a big issue with having the right kinda grass cut to the right height with a maximum of X degree change in ground level and if I dared to put down asphalt my costs would skyrocket, etc etc etc.

    But in any case, I pretty much demand a runway. If we live on a lake, I'll settle for floats, but otherwise... (I figure if my SO has already agreed to buying a new DA-40, it can't be too much trouble to convince her that we should keep our new purchase close to home ;) )
     
  7. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I'll let you know at the end of the summer. Of course, our will be covered with snow 4-5 months a year. So you'll have to almost double the cost.
     
  8. James_Dean

    James_Dean Pattern Altitude

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    2900 x 75 Concrete


    1. Dirtwork to include site treatment/preparation to include drainage, culverts, slopeage, and proper compaction - $250,000

    2. Materials to include concrete, stone, rebar, and sand. Calculated on 7" thickness reinforced to 12" in landing zones. - $500,000

    3. Labor to pour concrete - $100,000

    4. Auxilaries - Lights, Painting, Windsock, Hangar, Electrical - ??? $100,000



    WAG = $1,000,000
     
  9. tonycondon

    tonycondon Gastons CRO (Chief Dinner Reservation Officer)

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    my uncle just stopped farming a strip of land next to his house, bought some grass seed and borrowed a pull behind concrete cylinder to pack it down and smooth it out. has 1800 X 50 or so. also keeps a hangar at municipal airport, 4 miles away, for wintering and night flying.
     
  10. infotango

    infotango Line Up and Wait

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    Eggman any reason concrete?
    Asphalt should be cheaper, and eaiser to repair yourself. My rough guess for a strip 20 feet wide would be about 20 dollars per foot. 20 feet wide should be adequate, so figure about 50,000 for the paving. (?)
     
  11. Steve

    Steve En-Route

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    That's approximately what I got quoted to do my driveway. $7/ft for 10' wide, 3" thick asphalt

    I wonder if 3" would be thick enough for a runway, though, particularly if the substrate was not rock solid.

     
  12. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member

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    Y'know what?

    Every now and again, the government does something helpful, and here is one such example:

    ftp://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot-info/avn/avninfo/farm_ranch_airstrips.pdf

    Very interesting reading.

    My friend who built his own strip basically bought himself an old 'dozer, and set out to build using a laser level and benchmarks for proper drainage.

    He said that, on the wall of his hangar, right next to the shirt-tail from his first solo, was the soiled pair of drawers from his first landing at his own strip. As soon as the prop stopped, he grabbed the chainsaw and "improved" the approach.

    It took about a year before he was satisfied with the grass, but it is a fine strip.
     
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  13. ScottM

    ScottM Taxi to Parking

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    I would think the land would be the highest part of the cost.
     
  14. AirBaker

    AirBaker Pattern Altitude

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    I'm guessing that the $50k quoted earlier for paving would cover the down payment on a Husky/Supercub/Maule. You could then spend a little on grass and irrigation. :)
     
  15. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    2500' x 20' = 50,000 square feet
    50,000 ft * $20/ft = $1,000,000.

    So where's the advantage again?

    I do remember someone on the old AOPA board actually got a quote for a very small paved strip and it was pretty ridiculous. Something on the order of $200K+ for something like 1800' x 20'.

    For all the money you'd spend on a runway, buy an amphib and a house on a nice lake somewhere. :yes:
     
  16. alaskaflyer

    alaskaflyer Final Approach

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    Buy 27 inch bushwheels, then all turf is suitable for GA operations.

    No I'm not kidding. Much.
     
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  17. infotango

    infotango Line Up and Wait

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    Nope 20 dollars per foot long at 20 feet wide, not 20 dollars per square foot.
    Sorry I wasn't more clear.
     
  18. James_Dean

    James_Dean Pattern Altitude

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    Pay now or pay later. Substrate preparation is much more critical for asphalt, and it doesn't last anywhere near as long. I also question your cost estimate for asphalt. I did a 75,000 sq.ft. parking lot two years ago with a 3" top cover and the cost was $100,000. This was putting it over a concrete surface. If it were my airstrip I would keep it turf before I would do asphalt.

    I have no data to support this, but I also think you would have to observe temperature limitations for landing on asphalt. Beyond a certain asphalt temperature I would not care to land on it.

    James Dean
     
  19. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Depends on your underlying strata, drainage, and surface. If you have a nice reasonably flat (but still enough slope to drain) and smooth pasture, you could conceivably just work off that by just cutting it. If it needs to be smothed, depending on the amount, you can maybe get away with hauling in a few loads of sand and spreading it out and dragging it amoungst the grass and then mowing down to it, kinda like building a golf green. If it's real rough, you maky as well plow it and disc in sand down about 6 inches and then drag it with a heavy cable and seed and fertalize. Everything up to this point has been cheap and can be done with an ordinary 75 hp tractor though a FWA one with a front loader would be nice. When you have drainage issues is where you start running into time and money, because dirt work takes time and big machines. Best to just go ahead and buy an old D-8 or D-9 Cat, and a Mover/Grader. Due to the cost of buying and hauling fill dirt, I'd go ahead and dig a 6' deep 50' wide trench parrallel to and near the runway for the fill dirt I need. It allows me to raise the runway foundation level at the lowest cost, with the added benefit of creating a seaplane runway and creating a drainage pond for the rest of the property where I spread some of the dirt for amoung other things the buildings. Once the foundation is above grade your choice of what to do varies with the weight of the aircraft you intend to operate and how all weather you need it as well as the soil type. Good soil, I'd drag it smooth, fertilize and seed with both a winter and summer grass for your climate. The real low dense thatching grasses are the ones you want. You may though need to add several inches of gravel. If you can't quarry it on property, it starts getting really expensive here. After the gravel has been smoothed,you have the option of either completeing the paving with a hard surface, a grass surface (use a fine sand/topsoil mix to spread and get a roller to compact and smooth the surface after you seed and fertilize) or even a combo. So you see, it all depends on the piece of land and your local climate combined with the gross weights of the airplanes, could be the price of a lawn mower. If you have to move dirt, You'll end up needing $35,000+ for equipment, but it's saleable equipment when your done with basically the cost of repairs and fuel you owed it for doing the job. If you do your homework and treat your equipment well, you can even come out ahead, not to mention all the jobs you pick up locally just by doin your own. Any agricultural bank will lend on this kind of equipment on an annual payment or even fixed cost leases can be acquired for older equipment. If it was a complex job requiring engineering and landscapeing the entire property, contracted out would run into several hundred thousand dollars, over a mil paved with concrete and an apron & hangar pad.
     
  20. AirBaker

    AirBaker Pattern Altitude

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    Just think of the cool riding mower for that turf strip. :) Sounds like fun!
     
  21. AirBaker

    AirBaker Pattern Altitude

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    I've always wanted my own runway... Although I wouldn't mind finding a big enough piece of land and sharing the runway with 3 other parcels. My own mini-airpark. I would need the location to be large enough for some decent privacy though!
     
  22. bharris

    bharris Pre-Flight

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    Gives a new slant on the term, "soft field landing."
     
  23. waldo

    waldo Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I got a quote a couple of years ago for a go-kart track . . . it came out to $1 sq/ft for all the dirt work and asphalt. 2500'x50' should be very nice and $125,000 . . . . Your's would cost $187,500. I am really looking to find 10 acres of land that is narrow and deep :yes:
     
  24. HPNFlyGirl

    HPNFlyGirl En-Route

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    Just remember to keep your 747 on the centerline. :rofl:
     
  25. Bill Jennings

    Bill Jennings Final Approach

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  26. Dave Krall CFII

    Dave Krall CFII Final Approach

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    That, or you can trench the land 2-3 feet deep to desired length, line with plastic if needed, fill with water, land your amphib and then wheel taxi to hangar. There's a few like that out this way.
     
  27. Steve

    Steve En-Route

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    According to local reports the pilot put the gear down for landing, oops. He and his wife swam to shore, but the plane sank...

    IDENTIFICATION
    Regis#: 42685 Make/Model: EXP Description: SEAREY
    Date: 03/26/2006 Time: 2338

    Event Type: Accident Highest Injury: None Mid Air: N Missing: N
    Damage: Destroyed

    LOCATION
    City: VICKSBURG State: MS Country: US

    DESCRIPTION
    ACFT WHILE FIVE FEET ABOVE THE WATER, ENGINE POWER PULLED OFF AND ACFT HIT
    THE WATER AND FLIPPED UPSIDE DOWN, AND SANK, SOUTH OF LETOURNEAU LANDING,
    VICKSBURG, MS

    INJURY DATA Total Fatal: 0
    # Crew: 1 Fat: 0 Ser: 0 Min: 0 Unk:
    # Pass: 1 Fat: 0 Ser: 0 Min: 0 Unk:
    # Grnd: Fat: 0 Ser: 0 Min: 0 Unk:

    WEATHER: TVR 262353Z AUTO 00000KT 10SM CLR 16/M01 A3018

    OTHER DATA

    Departed: VICKSBURG, MS Dep Date: Dep. Time:
    Destination: VICKSBURG, MS Flt Plan: Wx Briefing:
    Last Radio Cont:
    Last Clearance:

    FAA FSDO: JACKSON, MS (SO07) Entry date: 03/27/2006
     
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  28. Pjsmith

    Pjsmith Line Up and Wait

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    Attached is a quicky spreadsheet that I did to estimate the runway cost making an asphalt rw. I'm a production builder and am considering trying a hand at a fly-in community. At any rate, I took a sq.y number from our latest street pave. The number includes the base with crushed limestone and two courses (not really necessary for a runway, though might want the total depth and therefore two lifts). YMMV.

    This does not factor in any unusual soil conditions, and does not include clearing, grubbing or rough grading (which change with the site).

    Also, used $15,000.00 per acre land basis. I used a 50 ft runway and used the FAA required side areas (this would be more than a private occasional use strip) in getting to 200 ft. You can adjust those numbers down to your requirements. Keep in mind that you may need to comply with the app/dep clearances to satisfy your insurer, even if you can get a skinnier strip. Pretty sure for a private you'd not need any real side seperation.

    I'd also like to build (i.e. daydream about) a private rw for myself when I build my next house, though I will almost certainly just do a grass strip. I'll contract out the grading to the tune of $7 or $8 thousand as a side job, then I'll rent the equipment to fine grade and smooth and seed (I have a connection to the crew chief at a local golf course, and his seasonal workers are always looking for side jobs). It'll take a whole season to get the grass established, and really two seasons to make it strong, and at that I'm still going to be treating it like a fairway when it comes to maintenance.
     

    Attached Files:

  29. infotango

    infotango Line Up and Wait

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    Pj,
    Your actual costs are far out of line with what I estimated.
    I wonder how thick the pavement was?

    I humbly eat my crow.
     
  30. The rogue

    The rogue Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Wow, I didn't know that a runway cost so much. I have a small family farm in central Illinois and have always wanted an "airport". I figured I'd buy six of those orange surveyors flags and mark out a runway and roll it out, then just cut the grass regularly. Lights are about a grand from Wag-Aero. So you're talking $1,001 (including the flags). The grass strip at home is not much more than a drainage ditch next to the runway, and should by all rights, be called a "Dandelion strip" because it don't got much grass at all, (and it's not an "official" strip anyhow).....

    What about a gravel strip? We have 2 of them here. One is 9-27 and is 1300 feet long, the other is something like 7-25 and 1300 feet, the good news is that they are connected so we have a 2600 footer! The regular pilots seem to like them, but you would need a concrete/grass pad to do a runup area....

    Doesn't anyone do it this way anymore? Is it the insurance requirements? Why do people hate grass strips so much? I found that it really smooths my landings so they are quite acceptable.

    --Matt
     
  31. The rogue

    The rogue Pre-takeoff checklist

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    double-posting deleted --MR
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2006
  32. jdwatson

    jdwatson Line Up and Wait

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    I've never done a grass landing. The rental agreement with the FBO prohibits them.
     
  33. ednowlin

    ednowlin Pre-Flight

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    A well packed grass/dirt field is O.K. to land on, but it's much harder on the airplane (ie:paint, prop, tires)... That being said, if I had the land I would probably go with the grass strip simply for cost of runway.
    My borther wants to build a runway in concrete... he works at a company that makes asphalt, and say's in the long run concrete will last twice as long with less maint. Now that I think about it, I'll let HIM build his runway and I'll just use his! Problem solved... FREE + concrete!
     
  34. woodstock

    woodstock Final Approach

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    I landed on a grass strip yesterday which had a big ass DIP on the one end - not even a bump, a big HOLE practically - the entire width and about 10 feet of the length. you definitely want to avoid that!
     
  35. gkainz

    gkainz Final Approach

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    Would that be NOTAM: RWY 11 - BAD* Approach End
    *BAD = Big Ass Dip
     
  36. finsjb

    finsjb Pre-Flight

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    A local in my area owned a 2400-2800 grass strip. Sorry I can't remember the exact length. He sold the house, strip, and the rest of his land to a guy from out of town. Money was no object and paving was in his future. Costs were $225,000. I'd stick with grass, slightly 'outa my range.
     
  37. Steve

    Steve En-Route

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    Grass is bad for tires?

    :dunno:
     
  38. Ken Ibold

    Ken Ibold Final Approach

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    Just for yuks, you can figure about $200 a square yard (plus design cost) for a runway capable of handling that G-V.
     
  39. 1600vw

    1600vw Pattern Altitude

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    A few folks in my area are talking about doing this. Being that a lot of small strips are being either closed or auctioned off due to the owner passing.
    As for building a strip make sure to put a good crown on it so that after a hard rain the field is not mud.
    Here at 3is5 this field is build this way. After a hard rain one could land on this field. I have flown off this field after a hard rain and no problems, water does not stand nor does it mud up.
    This field was built without one penny from the owners pocket going out to build it. Long story but it does happen. Its a 2200' field with 1000' runoff on one end and 800' runoff on the other.
     
  40. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I live on a 3000x75 (plus or minus) grass runway. I share it with the other 50 or so homesites (though there are only about 15 or so active flyers now (there are maybe a dozen more houses sans airplanes, the rest of the lots are vacant). The first 1500' was constructed by Zeke Saunders (VP of the old Piedmont Airways) this was extended a bit when the place was developed as an airpark. We're also on Lake Norman and has what is referred to in the development plans as the "seaplane" ramp (though it's used more often than not for boat launching). There is one cub on floats and one Seabee in the neighborhood.

    In addition to the grading and planting of the runway extension, there is some grade work to support the sides (the runway drops off on both ends) as well as an irrigation system and lighting to keep operational. It's mowed with a large width zero turn mower that we put a side car mower deck on. Takes 2-3 hours.