Airport Drag Racing


The Rubber Issue
Pavement Issue
The Garbage
The Message
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Turbine and jet engines are very sensitive to FOD. Of particular concern are foreign objects that can melt, such as plastics. This can be in the form of cigar tips, drinking straws/wrappers, cellophane and bottle cap liners to just name a few. Some of these are very light and are easily carried by the wind. As such, you will need to be diligent to ensure these items have been removed and for weeks later, that nothing has migrated back.
Be assured you will have rubber marks where they shouldn't be. Racers will find a spot where they can be unnoticed, or "lay rubber" around their campsite (runway). Drag racing is about power. With each passing year, the rules and promises will get more forgotten. You can count on that!
Understand that the pit area is on your runway. We are talking about motor homes, transports, trucks and trailers. Each year you will cram more people into that given space. You will get ruts on your shoulders for two reasons. One is that as the numbers of racers increases, they are driving deeper into the shoulder surface, and secondly, there are always individuals in the crowd who want to spin their tires on your shoulder surface. All ruts need to be raked out.

There is no respect that your facility is an airport. Your place is a dragway and they are there to have fun.

You will need to take out a lot of runway lights.

First you must remove lights from the start line forward, anywhere a vehicle could lose control at high speed.

It is best to also remove the lights from the campers section to eliminate the risk they will get run over. Be sensitive about other areas too. For instance, where setup vehicles will be travelling, where venues will be positioned, and dumb as it may sound, where people might try to stand on them to get a better look. The lights left standing are then blocked with hay bails.

Count on lights being broken from the event or from the fact you disturbed them. Expect at least one to be stolen.

Make sure to verify your slope lighting system after the event.
Be aware they will cut a line across your runway at the finish line in order to inlay their sensors. Make sure this gets sealed again.

The organizers will seek out venues to attract a greater crowd. If it involves a tent or midway, make sure it is free standing. They won't give a second thought about driving stakes into your ashpalt.

If a venue involves a motorcycle riding display you better be aware it will mark up your apron with rubber. They do front and rear wheel stands, burnouts, donuts and when they leave you have one heck of a mess on your apron that you can't clean. This is all in the name of showbizz, but you have to live with it every day.

DO NOT allow crowd barriers that penetrate the surface. We had to replace our runway wiring in the crowd area one year. We were almost 5 months without adequate lighting.

Regardless of the fact that you have the paved surfaces swept, expect there to be a lot of dust. The first helicopter to land will find this out. It will be like landing over light fluffy snow.
If you have businesses on your airport be prepared to pay compensation.

Will the Drag Race affect your plans to attract businesses? You may not even be considered because of the runway closure issue each year. It is up to you to determine if this is important.
For some airports, Drag Racing profits go to the operational costs of their airport to make it more viable. In other cases they don't get any of the drag race profits, and lose the revenue they would have normally made by being open. In addition these airports may incur some repair and labor costs associated due to the race. You can also expect that as the drag race increases in size, so will the demand be to extend the days of the event.
If you have a fuel truck, make sure to protect the vehicle. Turning one valve and pulling one lever, a person can easily cause a major environmental disaster. Be aware that beer is a big revenue generator, and things can happen that normally you wouldn't expect to be reasonable from a sane person. Fuel trucks can't be parked indoors.

Regardless of the number of signs you place around your fuel installation, people will get very annoyed when you tell them they can't smoke next to your fuel cabinets.

Make sure to lock your fuel installation, cabinets, and WDO pump.
You want employees who are "people friendly" and who have pride in their facility. You rely on them to promote your airport and what the area has to offer. How will Drag Racing affect their morale and all they try to achieve? The rubber mess that gets left behind becomes a daily reminder to them of the total disregard placed on their facility with your blessing. Although they don't own the airport, the best employees are those that regard it as a second home, wanting to be there. By allowing your facility to be defaced and damaged, morale WILL be affected. How can they be expected to care, when you don't.

Cities spend great sums of money to beautify their highway entrance to satisfy first impressions, but by sponsoring Drag Racing, fail to respect that airports are also a point of entry. What is your first impression seeing the pictures below? Can you really be proud working there?



You can be certain the highway entrance to your City wouldn't look this way.