Ramstein airstrip receives makeover

Master Sgt. John Lasky
Air Force Print News

***image1***The north runway at Ramstein is under a €16 million, three-phase construction plan to extend it 1,000 feet and allow heavier air transports to take off fully loaded.

“Construction started in mid-April and currently is one week ahead of the planned completion date of Jan. 1, 2007,” said Capt. David Vanderburg, Chief of Construction Management with Ramstein’s 435th Civil Engineer Squadron.

Two phases of the construction are simultaneously working on opposite ends of the runway leaving the taxiway open in the middle and granting air traffic access to the recently laid south runway.

Twenty-three million Euro was spent transforming a taxiway into what is now the south landing strip. The U.S. didn’t foot the entire bill for that project; current NATO funds paid for a good percentage of the price.

Ramstein’s original single runway was built for jet fighters that don’t need as much room to get airborne. Today the C-17 Globemaster and C-5 Galaxy aircrews are collecting their frequent flyer miles via this landing strip for operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom.

“The runway is being extended 1,000 feet which will allow the heavier aircraft to take off with more cargo,” said Captain Vanderburg.

The length of the runway prohibited the full use of the heavy air transports making it necessary to fly more aircraft to fulfill mission requirements.
Renewing the 50-year-old strip will allow heavier fully loaded aircraft enough length for lift-off.

The host 86th Airlift Wing and the 723rd Air Mobility Squadron will be the primary users of the runway, which will stretch nearly 10,000 feet.