Apron repairs smooth the way home for the Snowbirds

Ongoing repairs to the Belle Plaine Apron at 15 Wing Moose Jaw are smoothing the arrival of the Snowbirds aerobatics team each time it returns to its home base.

The ramp was built in the 1960s, and the 540 6.1-m2 concrete pads (arranged in a 60 by 9 grid) have suffered considerable wear and tear over the years—mostly due to aircraft and vehicle traffic, and the cold Prairie winters. Surface deterioration, cracking and flaking, in turn, damage not only the Snowbirds’ CT-114 Tutors, but also the aircraft of the Canadian Forces Flying Training School and the NATO Flying Training in Canada (NFTC) program located at 15 Wing.

Every few years since 2005, DCC has identified which pads require immediate attention. Once funding is in place, contractors come on site to break up the existing concrete and pour new pads.

Minimizing the disruption to operations while working in a restricted area requires careful scheduling, says DCC’s Gerry Partridge, Coordinator, Construction Services, who manages the various contracts on the $3.5-million project. “Our goal is to get as much of the work done as possible while the Snowbirds are away.”

With two thirds of the work now complete, the final phase of the project in 2018—replacing the remaining 180 to 200 pads—will not only require getting that timing right, adds Team Leader, Programs, Carrie Seman, but also working closely with the flying training partners to reroute their contracted fuel trucks.

“This is a very collaborative project, because of the multiple partners involved. It’s our job to bring the whole group together,” Seman says.


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