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Thread: Question related to grass airfields

  1. #16
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    Default Re: Question related to grass airfields

    I've seen a lot of ex-WD lawnmowers over the years - many of them were still going strong on grass airfields in the UK in the 80s. They were usually a single row of rotary mowers (not overlapped that the photo above) - 5 or 6 if memory serves - towed by a tractor or light vehicle.

    Most grass airfields have the usual two- or three-runway pattern mowed in. The rest of the grass is also kept reasonably short - mainly to keep bird numbers down.

    Long grass can cause a remarkably large amount of braking on an aircraft and this is often a BAD thing. I've seen a glider catch long grass on one wing-tip and then spin around in mid-air and land sideways! Not good and the aircraft was a write-off...

    Grass airfields are often a lot less stressful on airframes than concrete. There are still a great many grass airfields in the UK and many have closely-mown landing strips running parallel to the hardened runways, so that older aircraft can have a softer landing.

    Hardening an airfield was more about preserving the surface than making it easier for the aircraft - hence why 'heavy' airfields hardened their strips. Fighter stations often just stuck with grass unless they were in a wet & muddy region, while virtually all tactical airfields in Europe were also grass or packed earth. If it got soggy, they'd cover them with XPM mesh, but that was quite slippery when wet and deeply disliked.

  2. #17
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    Default Re: Question related to grass airfields

    Thanks for the info,
    Weather in england being what it is...
    How often would they have to do this to keep the grass at correct lenght?
    Did every airfield had this equipment ?

  3. #18
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    Default Re: Question related to grass airfields

    Quote Originally Posted by windrider View Post
    Thanks for the info,
    Weather in england being what it is...
    How often would they have to do this to keep the grass at correct lenght?
    Did every airfield had this equipment ?
    I don't know the weather in England beyond the stereotypical "London fog," but I suppose the climate could be ideal as the best time to plant grass in the Northeastern US is in late April/early may and late September/early October as grass likes moderate temps and not too much sunlight...

  4. #19
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    Default Re: Question related to grass airfields

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    I don't know the weather in England beyond the stereotypical "London fog," but I suppose the climate could be ideal as the best time to plant grass in the Northeastern US is in late April/early may and late September/early October as grass likes moderate temps and not too much sunlight...
    Having spent several years flying off an ex-WW2 grass airfield (although admittedly one that was concrete during WW2 - Gransden Lodge), I can with some degree of safety say that it isn't exactly perfect. We had resident ducks on the runway in wintertime (with parts being 6 inches underwater) and landing across a runway in summertime was painful - the ruts that built up over the winter bake hard in summer. A well-built and maintained prewar grass airfield (such as the one at Bicester) is however a joy to fly off.
    I have neither the time nor the inclination to differentiate between the incompetent and the merely unfortunate - Curtis E LeMay

  5. #20
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    Default Re: Question related to grass airfields

    was there any hardcore under grass runways or is it just grass as we know it

  6. #21
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    Default Re: Question related to grass airfields

    The grass strips I have worked on (including RAF Conningsby's present operational grass strip) were just grass but usually on firm drained existing soil.

    Advanced airfields were initially grass during WW2, if they were going to be used for any length of time drainage and an all weather surface (Pierced Steel Plank 'PSP', Sommerfield Trackway, etc) would be used.

    Using purely grass strips limits the all weather capability of aircraft, even those with hard surfaces and drainage put in were still subject to periodic flooding as they were purely temporary.
    IN the days of lace-ruffles, perukes and brocade
    Brown Bess was a partner whom none could despise
    An out-spoken, flinty-lipped, brazen-faced jade,
    With a habit of looking men straight in the eyes
    At Blenheim and Ramillies fops would confess
    They were pierced to the heart by the charms of Brown Bess.

  7. #22
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    Default Re: Question related to grass airfields

    thanks for that just what i wanted to know

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