Aerodrome runways re-open

Aviation | Press Article 17/04/24

Goodwood Aerodrome runways re-open following extensive Drainage Project

The two main runways at Goodwood Aerodrome have been fully re-opened following extensive groundworks, which began in January this year. Covering an area equal to 60 rugby pitches, phase one of the Aerodrome Drainage Project has seen 8km of drainage installed and the runway surfaces regraded with a 1.5% cross-fall.

The exciting project has been designed by Jacobs, one of the world’s leading airport civil engineering companies and it is hoped will enable the success and sustainability of the Aerodrome for many years to come. As the first major investment in the runways since 1958, the works will allow home-based and visiting customers to use the Aerodrome when weather conditions may previously have prevented them.

Over 266,000m² of turf and topsoil was removed from runways 06/24 and 14/32. A matrix of drainage was installed across the manoeuvring area and at the perimeter of the runways to drain water away from the surface, down to the free draining soil below. Very precise grading technology and machinery has been used to deliver the design which managed the movement of water away from key areas and runway surfaces. Every resource available has been used to re-establish the disturbed areas quickly and robustly. 

This special seed treatment meant that the new turf began to grow quicker, reducing the time that the runways were out of action. Since the works were completed in May, the turf has been cultivated to a level where all tests have been carried out and the runways have re-opened to full and usual traffic.

Dave Ford, General Manager of the Goodwood Aerodrome, said; “This project has been a long time in the planning, but we are delighted with the result of phase one and believe that the design will ensure we are operational for the vast majority of the year. It will take up to two years for the design to fully mature and realise its potential. It was however thrilling to see aircraft on the runways once again with such positive comments from those pilots involved.”

Further work will take place in 2018 on the areas that sustained operations during phase one, though this will have little impact on the day to day activity at the Aerodrome.

The runway project in numbers

  • 8km (5 miles) of drainage trenches have been dug.
  • Over 7000 tonnes of recycled railway ballast has been used in the drainage system.
  • An area of 266,000m²  has been drained and re-graded during phase one
  • Over 100,000 tonnes of material was excavated and repositioned with zero soil imported or exported.
  • The total area worked on is equivalent to 60 rugby pitches or 1,000 tennis courts.

About Goodwood Aerodrome

From an RAF airfield to a thriving aviation business, Goodwood Aerodrome was originally created on land that was part of the Estate to assist the War effort. Known as RAF Westhampnett, this satellite station was active from July 1940 to May 1946 as a Battle of Britain station. 

Aircraft engineering was established in 1968 originally to provide maintenance for the Aerodrome’s own aircraft. It has developed into a flourishing business, supporting over 85 aircraft, both home-based and nationwide.

Now home to some 100 aircraft, ranging from vintage Warbirds to modern rotary aircraft, Goodwood Aerodrome is known for its picturesque setting and is popular with visiting pilots. The Flying School provides tuition for those learning to fly, including the PPL, LAPL and FI student, as well as one-off flight experiences to suit a variety of budgets.


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