At long last, I have some real news that I can pass on about the runway. Following a very lengthy wait to resolve whether we would get a grant from Sport Scotland, we were turned down on the grounds that it would not benefit enough people. This was a very disappointing result which set us back for months. We had some hope for a second grant from the RAF Charitable Trust as well but the amount they could offer would not have made a material difference to the project and may have held us up further with no guaranteed results. Therefore, we will not be pursuing that for now. That’s the bad news.
The very very good news though is, thanks to Robbie Mackay’s support, we are now powering ahead with our backup plan. That is a single articulated lorry load of Perfo which will give us a runway of approximately 300m length. We will decide if it is best to go for 6m or 5m width shortly as the wider the better for all of us! The material is being ordered this week coming and at the moment, they are quoting a 4 to 6 week lead time. We hope to improve on that if we can.
The 300m of runway will be laid in the centre of the newly ploughed strip, starting at the East end at the bottom of the take off ramp and running parallel with the tractor track. It will be just long enough to get all the two seaters airborne in nil wind conditions and will also make take off for the Falke and other powered aircraft safer as well. It will have a white dashed centreline and runway number 26 at the east end.
Our objective is to try and get this laid before the winter sets in so we are likely to need your help when the time comes. It will be all hands to the pump to lay it, probably over a single weekend, so expect a plea from me in the near future asking if you will be available to help out. Everyone can help in some way or another with this project so don’t be shy! I will update everyone as soon as I know better what sort of timeframe we will be working to. Expect a parallel project to mark out the Aerotow strip at the West end to be part of this if we can get enough people involved. More on that later.
Once we have the project completed, I will approach everyone who kindly offered to loan the club money to make this project happen. We may yet need some financial assistance but I want to bed down the final project cost before doing that. I can say it will be well below the amount we were offered in total.
The next update will be as soon as I have fixed a date for the installation. We will be bringing up professional help from Perfo for a day’s training to ensure we lay the runway as level and as smooth as possible so it will have to tie in with their availability.