Poster Number 414
Tuesday, 7 October 2008
George R. Brown Convention Center, Exhibit Hall E
The continental United States has 18,269 landing facilities, 12,609 of which are available to fixed wing aircraft. Of these 12,609 airports, only 4,333 have paved runways, with more than 8,000 having only unpaved runways, most of which are turf. The turf-only airports number 7,864 with 6,981 being categorized by their owners as "private use". Turf runways account for 17,873 ha of land, not including taxiway and ramps. It is not known how far the science of turf management has penetrated into the cultural practices of turf airports. This pilot study of turfgrass management practices of turf airports was performed by surveying the people who live on and are responsible for the maintenance of these airports. The 30-question survey (http://www.turfairportstudy.com) was focused on 658 fixed wing turf airports in the Southeastern United States (Alabama, Georgia and Florida) which have Federal Aviation Administration form 5010 on file. The data collection period was from June 21 - August 25, 2007 with 199 electronic surveys received. Questions augmented with digital images were asked to determine the species of turf on the airport along with questions about mowing, irrigation, fertility, and pest control practices. A question to determine the frequency of usage of state Cooperative Extension Services was included. Bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum Flugge) is the predominant species (62%) of turfgrass on the turf runways followed by bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon [L.] Pers.) (17%). 92% of the turf runways had no irrigation and of those reporting an irrigation source, 50% used a well and 50% used a lake, river or stream. Pests of most concern were mound-building ants (60%), mole crickets (12%) and moles and armadillos (16%). 50% of respondents mowed three to five times per month. 79% of respondents have never taken advantage of Cooperative Extension Services.