wikiHow to Build a Grass Landing Strip

Four Methods:Site SelectionSoilMinimum DimensionsPreparations for Construction

Building your own airstrip is complex and would ordinarily take more space than is normally available in a wikiHow article, so this article will limit itself to the basics only, while giving links to more in-depth sources below.

Method 1
Site Selection

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    Consider the following factors:
    • Flatness and/or the amount of work required to level the area.
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    • Direction of prevailing winds and/or seasonal cross-winds.
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    • Drainage of area. Slight sloping (2% maximum grade) is okay.
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    • Cost of construction.
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    • Access to buildings and or roads.
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    • Local, State and National guidelines governing private airstrips.
    • Crosswind strip if crosswinds are common in your area.
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    • Safe, barrier free approaches, even if strip will never be used at night.

Method 2
Soil

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    Stability especially in poor weather.
    • Note: The suitability of the soil to grow grass often correlates with the suitability of the soil for a landing strip. Too much clay will produce a soupy mess when wet, for example.
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Method 3
Minimum Dimensions

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    Dimensions:
    • 75 feet (22.9 m) wide in open grassy areas
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    • 200 feet (61.0 m) wide in wooded areas
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    • 3,200 feet (975.4 m) in length.
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    • Note: You must take altitude and average maximum temperature at the hottest time of the year into consideration when planning landing strip length to allow for diminished engine power under conditions for your area. Consult a runway and landing strip nomograph for your area.

Method 4
Preparations for Construction

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    Clear entire area.
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    Completely remove roots of trees and shrubs.
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    Fill in low areas.
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    Eliminate any breaks in grade or surface mounds as well as any ditches.
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    Fill in and compact the soil in any animal burrows.
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    Remove any obstructions at the ends of the strip. Power lines, trees, etc should be removed, lowered and/or lighted.
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    Grade the strip 6 inches (15.2 cm) higher in the middle to improve drainage. Stabilize with topsoil and grass seeding if necessary.
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    Mark airstrip boundaries in such a way as to be visible from the air.
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    Install a wind cone or tetrahedron and mark a circular area around it to draw attention to it from the air.
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    Create a tie-down area away from the airstrip.

Tips

  • The applicable Federal Aviation Regulation is FAR part 157. It states that anyone proposing to build a personal or private use airport (used solely under VFR conditions, located more than 20 nautical miles from an airport for which an instrument approach procedure is authorized and located more than five nautical miles from any airport open to the public) must submit FAA form 7480-1 at least 30 days before work is to begin. You may at the same time request that your strip be shown on the FAA sectional chart with a notation as to the nature of the strip... private... cattle on field, etc.
  • Any person proposing to establish, alter or deactivate a landing strip or area is required to give prior notice to the Federal Aviation Administration. This notice is accomplished through the submission of FAA form 7480-1.

Warnings

  • This information is gleaned from multiple web sources. (see below)

Things You'll Need

  • Flat, barrier free, acreage in line with prevailing winds.
  • Money
  • Earth moving equipment
  • Windsock or tetrahedron
  • Access to local roads and buildings.
  • FAA permission
  • Possibly State and Local permission.

Article Info

Categories: Aviation