Alabama Training Facility for NAS Whiting Field Reopens after 10Year Hiatus

first_imgOfficials from Naval Air Station Whiting Field, Fla., and Baldwin County, Ala., on Monday held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to reopen Navy Outlying Landing Field (NOLF) Summerdale after it had been idle for more than 10 years.Regular use of the airfield on the Alabama Gulf Coast for touch-and-goes was suspended in 2005 when Training Air Wing 6 at NAS Pensacola began transitioning its training aircraft from the T-34 Turbomentor to the T-6A. Since then, the Navy decided to lengthen the runways at Summerdale by 1,150 feet to accommodate the transition at Training Air Wing 5, based at Whiting Field, from the T-34 to the T-6B Texan II aircraft.The construction effort at Summerdale required the purchase of privately owned land, dwellings and structures necessary to build runway extensions, reestablish clear zones and realign nearby roadways, reported Whiting Field Public Affairs. Each of the airfield’s runways was extended to a length of 4,000 feet, and 500-foot overruns were established at the end of each runway to comply with Navy and FAA safety requirements.The construction at Summerdale represents one-half of a $36.5 million project to revitalize and extend NOLFs Summerdale and Barin, which also is located on the Alabama Gulf Coast. Those two facilities will be two of five outlying fields that Training Air Wing 5 uses to complete its T-6B aviator training mission.The unit began full-time training flight operations at Summerdale, which was originally built in 1943, on Monday.“The completion of NOLF Summerdale represents a significant increase in flight safety and scheduling flexibility for Training Air Wing 5 to complete their primary flight training mission,” said Cmdr. Eric Seib, NAS Whiting Field’s operations officer. “The addition of NOLF Summerdale reduces airspace congestion thus increasing flight safety over the other NOLFs that support primary flight training,” Seib said. Dan Cohen AUTHORlast_img