AURORA, Colo. – The Colorado Air National Guard’s F-16 fleet headed 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 Air Force Base underwent heavy construction. The operation went as planned and the jets were able to start flying back over the July 12-13 weekend.
“The transition to and from DIA was seamless,” said Col. Floyd Dunstan, commander of the 140th Wing. “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 sixty-thousand cubic yards of concrete, according to Lt. Col. Tom Niichel, construction manager of the 140 CES.
“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 Air Force Base Friday, July 11.
Niichel is hopeful that after this runway overhaul, the airfield will be operational with only routine maintenance for the next fifty years.
Coverage of the initial transition to DIA: http://www.dvidshub.net/video/328648/140th-wing-f-16s-fly-out-denver-international-airport
http://co.ng.mil/facebook | http://co.ng.mil/Twitter | http://co.ng.mil/Youtube | http://co.ng.mil/Flickr