Home Forums Events & Projects Cost-Effective Surfacing of the LZ

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    Jerome Daoust
    General Member

    This is a good time (grass is dead, irrigation repair cost and labor needed, re-seeding & fertilizer needed, gophers winning the battle, goat’s head are here) to switch to a Cost-Effective Surfacing of the LZ (<– click the link).

    It will take a couple of years to recover the investment, but its a better path forward.

    Or is grass so pretty, that we must keep trying to have it cover all the LZ and pay the price of our desire?

    David Webb
    General Member

    Excellent proposal! Solves a lot of issues all at once for minimal effort / expense. Was good to point out that the club pays $1200 a month just for water (which is having minimal positive impact on the “grass”) – perhaps that is not well-known.

    Got my vote.

    John Wright
    General Member

    For when I eventually get out of prison and get my bones back into the air, maybe a few thoughts from the HG perspective:

    – I like the idea of reducing our annual nut.

    – Put some astroturf out there for us to hit.  IIRC, before the LZ being full grass, there were some circles.  Wingtips matter.

    – Dirt sucks.  #2 behind UV in gear degradation.  Maybe do a one-time lay-down of class 2 road  base, covered by DG.  It’ll be a lot kinder to gear and less abrasive on a whack… maybe.

    – Seems like the PG challenge is on launch, the HG challenge is on landing.  The grass more than looks purty.  It saves skin.  Replacing it should take that into account.


    If we could figure out which company these people used we could probably get the turf for cheap.  https://www.google.com/maps/@33.9318878,-117.6177468,140m/data=!3m1!1e3


    Hopefully that link works, but it’s a paintball field in Corona that has used what is obviously an old high school turf that has been pulled.  SC Village is the name and maybe they’d reveal their source.  Could be good for aiming at landmarks when landing as well.

    Clark Frentzen
    General Member

    We used some recycled artificial grass at the McClure flying site supplied through assistance of https://artificialgrassrecyclers.com/  .   Learned that one of the largest costs was transport to the site of use. Plan on a large flatbed trailer in order to move it to AJX.  Real grass in the LZ part of the year is still better than all dirt all of the time.


    David Webb
    General Member

    I’m sure there are many others, but did a few quick searches and saw this place:


    The cheapest option is used turf with logos (partial logos from sports fields) at $.70 a square foot. Looks like a rough guesstimate of the SW quadrant of the LZ is around 20,000 square feet, so comes out to $14k. Compared to the water cost, that seems to pay for itself in under 8 months.


    Bille Floyd
    General Member

    Davis W said :

    The cheapest option is used turf with logos (partial logos from sports fields) at $.70 a square foot. Looks like a rough guesstimate of the SW quadrant of the LZ is around 20,000 square feet, so comes out to $14k. Compared to the water cost, that seems to pay for itself in under 8 months.

    EDIT :

    Found out  the service-life of a used baseball field with a soccer field combo, with minimum markings will be near 20-years. They want .68 cents a foot + shipping.

    It’s in Bakersfield





    David Webb
    General Member

    Billie – no clue, and I’m no expert on artificial turf either. Just what I found after 1 random search and a few seconds of clicking. I’d defer to those with more knowledge on the subject, but with my napkin math, even if it has to be replaced every year, the club would still come out ahead on cost ($14k per year vs $14400 for our water cost). Also no idea what shipping costs are, so that would need some investigation.

    Bille Floyd
    General Member

    @ David

    Grab my email off the club list ; I can give you the guy’s number. He seamed reasonable so probably get a better bulk price.



    David Webb
    General Member

    I’m not going to be the ringleader (learned my lesson), but if the club votes to go with the turf option, it’s great that you have a potential supplier to add to the consideration.


    Before the ranch was purchased, the LZ was mostly low scrub brush with a small carpeted area for folding wings near the shade structure. AND,

    There was no hang gliding training hill other than off the SW corner of the LZ because the private ranch property precluded the NE training hill option.

    The ranch property had a fence surrounding their property line and trees were on the south side which made the LZ effectively smaller. Approach airspace was much tighter.

    Any and all water at the LZ (drinking washing etc) was brought in usually in 5 gallon jugs.

    Electricity was whatever a couple of 100 w solar panels could provide.

    No pond at which to treat family members.

    No wifi.

    No 350 launch.

    I recommend that when the CSS is evaluating “costs”, they get input from the current ranch owners. I believe that the fixed cost of the ranch is greater than what income is just from the rental unit. Without the payments from the CSS the ranch would be operating at a loss. So why wouldn’t the ranch in that case, sell to stop the bleeding? I know that I would sell.

    When grass is the covering, the dusty winds deposit particles onto the grass, raising its level by perhaps an inch every couple or three years. When we had partial grass coverage it was obvious this was happening by seeing the “step” along the grass perimeters. This tells me that an artificial turf will also continually receive 1/4″ to 1/2″ of dirt every year. The turf will not be growing up through thus coverage so the debris must either must be removed or we live with a dirt covered turf.

    Decisions have consequences.




    Oh. And if the ranch was sold, I suspect the new owners would require the club tractor, it’s fuel trailer, the shuttle vans and the 4by4 rangers all be parked at the LZ leaving them far more vulnerable to theft and vandalism.

    George Stebbins
    General Member

    Many interesting points.  I agree with Rob that talking to the Ranch owners makes a lot of sense.  If they sell and we lose some of our LZ, training hill, and amenities, then the cost savings becomes not worth it.

    I have no idea how long used astroturf lasts.  If it was once a year (as suggested as an extreme), the $400 difference makes me say grass!  If it was 10 years, that is, of course, a whole different thing.  In between, who knows – it depends on the response of the Ranch owners, I think.

    This merits further investigation and discussion with the club members and the Ranch.

    Side note:  Newer artificial turf is much nicer than the stuff they made a few years ago.  However, if we get used, we’re likely to get the stiffer old stuff.  Not pushing anything, just pointing out that there is a difference between the really old stuff and the more recent old stuff, aside from it being older and more sun-exposed.


    Jerome Daoust
    General Member

    Thanks to Rob for detailing the relationship between the club and ranch. The owners of the XC ranch do offer significant value to the club, beyond water access.

    I am under the impression that the water supply (for growing grass) is a significant part of the monthly fee the club pays to the ranch, following a discussion with the CSS treasurer and the discussed methods for metering the water flow during the last board meeting. But if after a discussion between CSS and ranch owners, the reduction/elimination of watering the LZ would not generate significant savings for the club, may as well keep the grass and related maintenance cost and labor.

    Related topic on 2023/1/9: Major Decision being considered by CSS.

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