Dirt VS concrete runways...

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Maestro, Mar 7, 2006.

  1. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member

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    Greetings ladies and gentlemen.

    As everyone knows, I'm a weirdo. But I was wondering, except for the financial factor, was there any difference between dirt and concrete runways in WW II ?

    I'm asking that because I noticed that most airfields having dirt runways were fighter bases while most airfields equipped with concrete runways were also used by bombers.
     
  2. plan_D

    plan_D Active Member

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    I don't quite understand what you're asking. But dirt runways would largely be fighter bases that were thrown up in the needs of war, the light frame of a fighter needs little support from the ground it's landing on compared to the heavy bombers. That is why bomber airfields are normally concrete or steel , and fighter bases can be anything. It's reported that some Russian fighters were operating off frozen lakes !!!

    It's just a case of the weight , where a Spitfire can land, a Lancaster might sink in - for example . The advantages of a dirt runway are obvious though - the build time is much, much, much shorter.
     
  3. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    In the Pacific, some of the airfields were built from crushed coral, which ended up having the same charachteristics as concrete.

    PSP was also used as the tropical deluges often flooded the runways with regularity.
     
  4. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member

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    Thanks Plan_D, that's exactly what I wanted to know. I was not sure if it was a matter of weight or if it was a simple coincidence.

    Thank you for your help.
     
  5. plan_D

    plan_D Active Member

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    The airfield on Adak was made up of steel , an extremely quick and easy way to make a bomber capable airfield. Since all the links are built beforehand, they're just linked together in the area.
     
  6. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Dirt runways usually increased take off distances by 10% (this could be seen in many flight manuals). It also decreased landing distances, again by 10%. Dirt runways are bad on aircraft, they tear up tires and are hell on propellers........
     
  7. Dogwalker

    Dogwalker Member

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    For places that were subjected to intense bombing, dirt runways had an advantage. The presence of a small airfield could be hidden.

    DogW
     
  8. R988

    R988 Member

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    I don't see that being a huge problem during the war as the aircraft were more likely to suffer from battle damage or being shot down before that became a problem.
     
  9. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Its a BIG problem - rocks and dust erode propellers and shorten their life and even cause them to fail - just becuase an aircraft is going to have a short life due to the combat situation its in, you don't want a maintenance issue to add to its demise.....
     
  10. the lancaster kicks ass

    the lancaster kicks ass Active Member

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    interestingly the Avro Manchester was, owing to the fact that the RAF had few large concrete runways at the time, designed to be launched by catapult, because of the stresses this involved, the subsiquent lancaster airframe was very strong........
     
  11. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Interesting..........

    Aside from the absolute need to operate from dirt strips, be rest assured any maintenance officer would prefer a hard runway. Its amazing what little rocks and pebbles could to to an aircraft....

    Believe it or not, the most stressed component on a recip or turbo prop aircraft is the Propeller........
     
  12. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    PSP in Adak would make for some interesting landings ice and fog on steel. i think Adak is noted for only having a single tree on the island reference the dirt strip every ding from a pebble or FOD would decrease the aircrafts performance the paint would chip or peal also degrading performance
     
  13. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Canton island on the air route between Hawaii and Samoa only had a single tree. Howland and Baker islands along the same route had NO tree's.
     
  14. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    I think Canton Island and Howland and Baker would be luxury postings compared to Adak
     
  15. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    My squadron used to deploy to Adak - they stopped the year I came on board! ;)
     
  16. 102first_hussars

    102first_hussars Active Member

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    I guess thats why the RAF simply chose to fly many of their planes off short grass feilds during the BOB
     
  17. the lancaster kicks ass

    the lancaster kicks ass Active Member

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    well we diden't have much choice, we didn't have a lot of tarmac runways, most were only bought in when we really needed them for the heavies.........
     
  18. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    They were also prime targets for the Luftwaffe early in the battle and so the ones we did have had lots of holes in them (which were repaired)...
     
  19. loomaluftwaffe

    loomaluftwaffe Active Member

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    :?: i dont get the takeoff thing, i see 109s and spits and tukas taking off side by side like world war I fashion, whereas i see others lined up on the runway being left in the dust by the plane in front of them
     
  20. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Even grass isn't that great on aircraft - dirt and rocks are still kicked up but its not as bad as dirt, the the same rules hold, take off distances are extended by 10%.

    As far as aircraft taking off simultaneously, that an operational thing. If there enough room a whole flight will take off in formation, it expedites forming up once in the air and as pointed out leave less dust behind if the field is dirt...
     
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