INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey --
Flying operations on the runway at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, ceased from May 24 to June 2, 2018, in order to make necessary repairs. Multiple organizations from across the installation came together to plan and execute the repairs on approximately 101 spalls, or holes, and to complete other necessary flight line construction projects.
“CE has been advocating for some time to allow a closure to make permanent repairs,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Matthew Akaydin, 39th Civil Engineer Squadron quality assurance flight commander, “The runway has not been closed since 2011, which means that any repairs that were made could not use concrete [which takes several days to cure]. Instead, temporary repairs had been made using fast drying material.”
Using fast drying material is a challenge for several reasons. If not placed and finished correctly, poorly executed repairs can pose significant damage to aircraft from debris of moving tires, wind, or jet blast. These hazards can also result if the temporary material fails.
Fast-drying material not only has a higher probability of failing, but it is not designed for long-lasting strength, like concrete, according to Akaydin, which is why CE advocated for permanent repairs.
“For the last 7 years, CE has been replacing ‘Band-Aids’ continuously with new ones instead of making permanent repairs,” said Akaydin. “Temporary repairs have a higher probability of failing which can cause foreign object debris or holes in the runway, dangerous to aircraft.”
With assistance from 39th ABW safety office, who identified potential issues with the runway’s condition, 39th CES was able to collaborate with Vectrus and 39th Operations Support Squadron to plan and implement the repair project.
“Airfield management was paramount in scheduling the runway closure with the host nation and civil engineering executed the repair plan flawlessly and ahead of schedule,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Micah Sampson, 39th ABW risk management advisor.
The mission cannot be successful without the collective efforts of people, resources and dependability to ensure unwavering air power operations on base.
“Ensuring the safety and reliability of the runway impacts our host nation partners as much as us. In repairing the runway, we ensure the safety of their aircraft and operators as well,” said Sampson. “It is very important every aircraft taking off and landing on Incirlik Air Base can do so safely, this is why the repair was so important.”