Davis Field gets needed facelift


Jan. 05--Commercial pilot Randy Baumann likes what he sees when he lands on the freshly-repaired Runway 4/22 at Davis Field Airport.

"On the approach you can see the markings," Baumann said. "It looks like new, compared to what we had."

Contractors with Tonto Construction recently finished improvements to the deteriorating 4,500-foot runway that included clearing broken concrete from the sides, applying precision markings on the pavement and installing edge lights on the taxiway. Total cost of the construction was $194,187, with 95 percent of that funded by a Federal Aviation Administration grant. On Tuesday, the Muskogee Public Works Authority approved final payment of $9,709 for its part of the repairs.

The repairs are part of the airport's ongoing improvements, which include a proposed new terminal and proposed improvements to a main taxiway, where planes move to runways.

The Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission had said Runway 4/22 had such deficiencies as deteriorating sides and inadequate markings, Airport Manager Garry Lynn said. A Dec. 6 inspection by the BWR Engineering firm and airport staff showed all deficiencies had been corrected, Lynn said.

The runway, which is oriented northeast to southwest, is the airport's second largest runway and has about 6,000 take-offs and landings a year, Lynn said.

"Every take-off and every landing is considered an operation," Lynn said. "A flight lesson that makes three take-offs and three landings is considered six operations because it beats the pavement up."

That mainly was what had happened to the runway over the years. Lynn said the sides had broken up and deteriorated. Some edges had exposed six-inch chunks of concrete, he said. He said the airport has not had any accidents because of the deterioration, but officials wanted to be safe.

"If an aircraft ran off the runway at just the right spot and hit a piece of concrete six-inches long, it would be catastrophic," Lynn said, explaining that a small plane's landing gears are small and delicate.

The airport also installed long-lasting LED lights along the taxiway. He said an LED, or light emitting diode light, has a life of nearly 120,000 hours and burns much brighter than standard taxiway lights.

"At night, it looks like Christmas," Lynn said.

Airport officials are seeking an FAA grant to rehabilitate the airport's aging main taxiway, which is 7,200 feet by 75 feet. Lynn said the project would cost about $2.5 million. He said officials would spend 2011 designing the repairs and 2012 repairing the taxiway.

The airport also is planning a new terminal, funded by a $269,459 grant from the City of Muskogee Foundation and seed money from the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission.

Lynn said the Airport Board will seek requests for proposals on terminal construction and anticipates a ground-breaking within a year.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at 684-2928 or cspaulding@muskogeephoenix.com.