Back to Squawk list
  • 46

Airport to be repaved after planes sank in asphalt

A 30,000-pound Bombardier Challenger and a 15,500-pound Cessna Citation XLS sank into the asphalt ramp in June on days when the temperature reached only into the 70s. ( More...

Sort type: [Top] [Newest]

Sounds more like someone at the city government level selected the lowest bid contractor. You get what you pay for.
paul gilpin -5
same with spacewalks.
Highflyer1950 11
So the Challenger and Citation owners sued the contractor........yes? You pay peanuts you get monkeys.
sharon bias 9
Cost me $2000 just last month to ripe out a replace a bad spot in my asphalt driveway, then recoat the entire top. Size of driveway was 20' by 50'n
john doe 1
yatesd 13
Retired Air Force civil engineer here. I've got an awful lot of pavement experience on aircraft operating surfaces and still do pavement assessment all over the US. What most don't realize is that the single most important factor in aircraft pavement design isn't the overall weight of the aircraft, but rather the tire pressure. A Cessna Citation has a nose tire pressure of 120 psi. That is very hard on asphalt and is probably something the pavement designer didn't take into account when selecting the pavement mix.
joel wiley 5
The Herald article links to another by the Elkhart Truth linked here:
More details and lots of local comments that are worth a cursory read
Doug Parker 0
"...lots of local comments..."

Troll fights!
joel wiley 1
Take popcorn ;-)
Viv Pike 9
There is more to it than "just" asphalt. Asphalt is only the thin black top, a sealer. What about a well-prepared foundation capable of carrying the weight.
djames225 2
I would not say 6-8"+ is thin. You can have a great weight base, but use a non-binding wrongly configured asphalt mix, and weight will sink though it to the good gravel base.
linbb 0
The mix is also a problem like I pointed out above there they used too soft a rock trying to save and the contractors insurance paid for that gaff.
djames225 9
Dear Elkhart
No you cannot cheap out and use road grade hot mix to pave a parking ramp for aircraft.
At least the media didn't refer to "the tarmac."
Either what was specified in the original contract was incorrect or the QA for the contract was not followed. Sounds like for what was paid originally ~$50k was what you might pay for a small parking lot at a convenience store. Heads should roll.
djames225 2
You could get a smaller airport parking ramp paved for $50K...using road grade hot mix.
boughbw 2
Or it was not specified at all in the contract. The city may have simply accepted proposals for the paving project expecting the bids to specify relevant requirements. If you just look at the price, you might assume that all the bids are the same.
James Simms 1
Or that the higher bids reflected the requirements of paving an aircraft parking area & that they took the lowest bid w/out investigating further.
James Simms 5
Sounds like the contractor skimmed off the top thinking he could get by using a cheaper type of asphalt
ToddBaldwin3 8
A few years ago, quite a few, my organization built a new set of hangars and ramps specifically for 747s. After extensive mods to the aircraft, it was towed out for it's first "green" fueling, to include the in-flight re-fueling systems. About half way through the fueling, we started to hear cracking noises and finally noticed cracks coming from under the MLG. We stopped the fueling but by that time it was too late, the MLGs hand sunk quite a bit into the broken and cracked concrete. It was later determined that the contractor had skimped on the rebar, as in not even putting it in.
An 18 wheel semi with tires putting 5,000 lbs. each on the road would be far over the legal weight limit.

A Challenger, with a smaller tire footprint, might be putting 12,000 lbs. down per tire and be loaded completely legally.

Is the contractor expected to know this? Or even the Elkhart City Council?? But the guy they hired to run the airport should know this...
linbb 3
Had to repave the Klamath Falls OR airport after the contractor used the wrong grade of rock which was too soft. The fighters there were blowing the pavement off. No QC on things and this is what happens. Had a friend that kept the new Denver Airport closed for six months because of problems.
jthyland 2
Same. Billings, MT. KBIL DC-9-30 (C9B). Navy.
Runways and taxiways fine but the FBO parking for RON aircraft was weak. FBO had us park on 4x8 sheets of 3/4 inch plywood. Worked fine but taxiing out we blew those plywood sheets across the FBO parking lot.
bobinson66 2
About 20 years ago, they replaced the two parallel runways at SJC (San Jose, CA). They are 11,000 feet long and it was said that there is enough concrete in the runways to form a city sidewalk from San Jose to San Diego. It looked like the concrete and rebar was about 4 feet thick.
ToddBaldwin3 4
Look at the cost differential between what they paid and what they are now paying
E. Page 3
It sounds like this project was not engineered properly, or not at all. Most of the strength of a ramp or runway is not the asphalt, but the sub-grade and base material; many heavy aircraft do not need asphalt, like C-130's, C-17's and some civilian aircraft. Also, road grade asphalt will work, just not as long or as well over a period of decades. It takes a lot of testing (soil composition prior to the job, base material meeting engineer's specifications during onsite delivery, compaction densities in limits during construction, etc.) to determine what's needed and then to insure that the job is constructed properly. In other words, good engineering before the job and a good inspector during the job.
Ken Riehl 1
Had this happen with our GII at Maclaren Field in Las Vegas. (After fueling to near max)
Had to have the FBO locate some 48x48 inch x 1.00 inch thick steel plates as we were going to be there for three days...
alex hidveghy 1
KLAS is MCCARRAN International Airport, not Maclaren! The later is a F1 race car and to the best of my knowledge, faster than a G2!! 😎
M. R. 0
Richard Haas 1
In June of 1974 my orders were "mis-filed" and I ended up at Great Lakes Naval Training Center Transient Personnel Unit. At morning muster our collective feet would sink into the asphalt while the illiterate Postal Petty Officer tried to read our names and nobody saw anything wrong with that. We were at parade rest which possibly put additional stress on the asphalt.
Larry Marting 1
Sounds like the Nave I was in!
Larry Marting 1
Should have been Navy.
Jim Hackman 1
We used to call them Sabreliner tracks. The early 40s and 60s were single main tire. You could see where they parked even on normal ramps in summer!
R T Sands 0
Children, all airport paving projects are awarded to organized crime fronts.Elkhart is pretty damn close to Chicago. Next lesson. All Airport managers are on the take. Nothing new. Welcome to real aviation.
joel wiley 2
Hmmmm, I have to take your 'all airport managers' comment with a grain of salt.
I recall hearing 'the acts of 99% of the lawyers has spoiled the credibility of the rest of us".


Don't have an account? Register now (free) for customized features, flight alerts, and more!
Did you know that FlightAware flight tracking is supported by advertising?
You can help us keep FlightAware free by allowing ads from We work hard to keep our advertising relevant and unobtrusive to create a great experience. It's quick and easy to whitelist ads on FlightAware or please consider our premium accounts.