F-16s return to new runway at Buckley AFB
By Capt. Kinder Blacke, 140th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published July 14, 2014
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The Colorado Air National Guard's F-16 fleet is heading back ahead of schedule to the newly reconstructed runway at Buckley Air Force Base after spending three months at Denver International Airport.
Personnel from the 140th Wing relocated their flying mission to DIA back in April, with the intent to stay 90 days while the runway at Buckley underwent heavy construction. Fortunately, the operation went as planned and the jets were able to start flying back over the weekend.
"The transition to and from DIA was seamless," said Col. Floyd Dunstan, 140th Wing commander. "Thanks to the huge amount of planning and effort that went into this move, and the tremendous support we received from all of the agencies at DIA, we were able to maintain our 24/7 alert mission and sustain routine training flights throughout the relocation. Now we are excited to return to a much-improved runway."
The 140th Civil Engineer Squadron spearheaded the runway construction project, which involved pouring approximately 60,000 cubic yards of concrete, according to Lieutenant Col. Tom Niichel, 140th CES construction manager.
"We lowered the northern end of the runway a little over seven feet and we put new concrete on both the north and south landing zones," said Niichel.
In addition to leveling the runway, the team also replaced the concrete on a large portion of the taxiways and apron due to the effects of alkali-silica reaction, a chemical reaction that had cracked and degraded the surface of the concrete over time, Niichel explained.
While the entire construction project will not be complete until September, the airfield is fully operational and the first jets touched down at Buckley on July 11.
Niichel is hopeful that after this runway overhaul, the airfield will be operational with only routine maintenance for the next fifty years.