Ready to Roll On

The new main runway at Edwards AFB, Calif., home to the Air Force Flight Test Center, is now up and running after a ribbon-cutting ceremony Oct. 31 and subsequent first flight from it that day. The 300-foot wide, 15,000-foot-long runway will be the primary strip to support the extensive flight test activities at the base. It will also serve as an alternate landing site for the space shuttle. “At the time the first paved runway at Edwards was poured over 50 years ago, people could not have imagined the rich history and flight test heritage that would follow,” said Maj. Gen. David Eichhorn, AFFTC commander. He added, “Today, it’s inspiring to know, we can only imagine what this runway will see from hypersonic vehicles and beyond.” Eichhorn piloted one of the two F-16s that made the first operational flights using the runway. A joint venture of CH2M Hill and Interstate Highway Construction, both of Denver, built the runway under a $118 million project managed by the Army Corps of Engineers. According to a Nov. 6 release, the two companies completed the project three months ahead of schedule. The previous runway suffered from chemical reactions that weakened the concrete. To keep flight tests going while construction was underway, a 12,000-foot-long temporary runway was built. (Includes Edwards report by A1C William O’Brien)