B-52's Prepare For Reconstruction Take-Off - KMOT.COM - Minot, ND - News, Weather, Sports

B-52's Prepare For Reconstruction Take-Off

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In less than a week, the runway at Minot Air Force Base will be closed to complete the final phase of its runway reconstruction project. 

The engines are warming up and the aircrafts are being fueled, as the B-52's were preparing for take-off Wednesday morning at Minot Air Force Base. But, with 27 bombers using the runway non-stop, conditions are far from perfect.

"Gross weights for take off can be almost 500,000 pounds for B-52's that take off and land here, and it causes a lot of stress and strain," says Lt. Col. David Gordon.

Several years ago, the Air Force conducted a survey at Minot Air Force Base and determined it was the worst runway in the entire Air Force.

Since 2012, the east and west sides of the runway have been re-done. And, now the final part of the $67 million reconstruction project will start on April 1.

"That's going to involve the center section, the center third of that runway, and re-paving it.  They're going to demolish the concrete that's there and repave that concrete as well," says Gordon.

During the shutdown, approximately 300 airmen from Minot Air Force Base will travel with the B-52's from the 23rd Bomb Squadron to Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota for maintenance and operation of the aircrafts.

"To be able to train on a daily basis with the B-1 bomber crew that are stationed at Ellsworth gives us an opportunity to interact, to cross talk and compare notes on how we employ and to potentially make each other better," says Gordon.

About six to seven aircrafts will stay at Minot Air Force Base in case a situation would arise.

"We'll be able to continue to maintain those in a ready status if we need to use them for any reason, and we'll actually have several aircrews that will still be here as well in a ready status if we ever need to use those aircraft," says Gordon.

The third-phase of the project is expected to be completed by October 1.

While the runway will be closed, the airfield will remain open, so the 91st Missile Wing can still carry out all of its duties.

 

 

 

 

 

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