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Runway 9/27

[DISCLAIMER: The following information is provided for assistance only. You should do your own thorough research using approved FAA sectional charts and/or FAA approved navigation aids before visiting our airpark.]

Airpark Information
(click below)

     Gilbert Airpark is a PRIVATE airpark. You must be a member or have permission of a member to use the airpark runway and facilities. Photos and information follow regarding length, obstacles, and other runway characteristics of which to be aware. Our airport designator is SC45. Click above to find specific information about the airpark as a starting point. Then, return here for further details about our runway.

General Information

    The runway is grass, in reasonably good condition, and just under 3,500' long (but 3,000' is normally used). Our runways are 09 (left side of photo below) and 27 (right side of photo, nearest I-20). The traffic pattern is LEFT on both runways. The runway has a "crest" in the middle which makes it impossible to see farther than about half way down the runway (even less from start of runway 09). Therefore, extra precaution must be taken on takeoff to be sure no one is departing from the other end.

     We use MULTICOM frequency 122.9 for local traffic reports. Announce "Gilbert Traffic" at least 5 miles out, if radio equipped. The field elevation is 551'. The airpark is listed as "Gilbert International" on the Charlotte Sectional and SC Aeronautical chart. We are located about 21 miles (straight line distance) to the WSW of Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE) just outside the outer veil (1800' MSL) along I-20. The runway is lighted at night, but the installation is not FAA approved. Therefore, we do not recommend night landings, and thus, do not advertise the procedure to turn the lights on.

     Several cell towers are located near the airpark along I-20 in the 300' AGL range of height, one of which is located just RIGHT (north) of the approach to runway 27 (see more details below). One HIGH tower listed at 1063' MSL is located about 2.5 miles to the NW. See more detail about these towers below.

Airpark From Space

 RunwayFromAbove.jpg (89738 bytes)

    Click on the above thumbnail to see a photo of the airpark from space via Google Earth. The photo is oriented normally above (north is at top). Click to enlarge the photo. Note the huge field to the SOUTH (and the compass orientation marker within it). Incidentally, the background image shown behind this page was taken "looking down runway 9 from the west".

Runway 27

          Final27.jpg (206394 bytes)     Landing27.jpg (205994 bytes)

    Runway 27 is shown above ... the view on final approach at top left ... and upon landing at top right.  This is the runway that we most often use because the prevailing winds tend to generally come from the WEST. Also, the runway characteristics make this runway the most desirable for takeoffs. Please note that a cell tower (with supporting ground wires) in the 300' height range is located only about 600 feet to the RIGHT (north) of this runway on FINAL approach to landing. Stay CENTER (or slightly LEFT) of the runway until you are sure that you have the cell tower in sight and can maintain appropriate lateral clearance. It won't be a problem for you when taking off on runway 27. Be aware that a wind from a southerly direction can also tend to push your aircraft towards it. Also, be aware that there are some fairly tall trees (less than 50') between I-20 and the threshold of runway 27, so stay high enough to avoid them on landing. Therefore, we recommend landing a bit long to make your touchdown just beyond the second (gray) hangar on the left. That's also where the first row of lights begins.

    Interstate highway I-20 is located approximately 1/4 mile from the beginning of runway 27. The huge sandpit area (which we call "Mount Gilbert") located just across I-20 is an excellent landmark normally visible from many miles away, especially from the south. It will be almost directly inline with your FINAL approach to runway 27.  Unfortunately, it's possible that the sun could obstruct your vision in the late afternoons on your approach to 27, especially during the late summer and fall months.  The "44 Truck Stop" located to the SOUTH (usually with plenty of big rigs in back) is a good entry point for DOWNWIND leg towards the east ... located approximately 1.3 miles south of the airpark. Also, see notes below about towers in the local area.

Runway 09

    Runway 09 is shown above looking EAST. Note that the cell tower will be located on your LEFT (northeast) near the end of the runway. Therefore, when departing on runway 09, it is recommended that you make a "straight out" takeoff without making any turns to the left (north) until you are past I-20 in order to avoid this cell tower. Also, note that runway 09 slopes UPHILL for the first 1,000' (and significantly in the first 500'), so your takeoff run will likely be longer when using this runway. See notes below about towers in the local area ... and especially, the warning about a very tall tower located about 2.5 miles to the NNW of the airpark which can be a hazard on DOWNWIND leg as you are nearing the turn to BASE leg.

Beware of Local Towers

There are three towers that you should be especially aware of in our local area as follows.   

     First, beware of the cell tower with attached guy wires shown above, located only about 600 feet to the NNE of the threshold of 27 (RIGHT of runway 27 and LEFT of runway 09). Clicking the above photo will give you some idea of just how close the cell tower is to the approach to runway 27. It was taken at the intersection of Juniper Springs Road and Final Approach Road at the entrance to our airpark ... which is directly in line with the approach to runway 27. The height of this cell tower is listed as 837' MSL (just under 300' AGL). It also has supporting guy wires radiating from it which are difficult to see until you are very near. While it's a potential hazard of which to be aware, it should not be a problem if you know it is there and exercise reasonable caution. In fact, the tower lights make a reasonably good landmark in the evening. Just be careful not to stray over into it ... and be aware that winds from a southerly direction can push you towards it!

      Second, be especially aware of a tall, thin tower (listed as 1063' MSL, 499' AGL) located NW approximately 2.5 statute miles from the airpark. Your track on DOWNWIND leg (at about the turn for BASE leg) in a left pattern for runway 09 will take you very near this tower! It's hard to see and high enough be a real hazard, so we recommend maintaining 1500' MSL (our normal traffic pattern altitude) or higher until you are sure you have it in sight or have cleared it. It can be very difficult to see even in the best of conditions, but it's especially hard to see in hazy conditions or late in the afternoon with the sun in your eyes. It should not be a problem if you make the standard LEFT pattern when taking off on runway 27. However, if you are traveling anywhere in a northerly direction out of the airpark, the recommended procedure is to climb STRAIGHT OUT towards the WEST at least 2 miles after takeoff and DO NOT make any turns toward the north until you see the tower off to your right. An alternate procedure is to make a normal pattern takeoff; turn south on crosswind leg off 27, then on downwind leg for 27, and climb to at least 1500' before turning north.

     There is a third tower (a cell tower) located just SOUTH of the 44 Truck Stop, but it should only present a problem if you are flying very low when taking off on runway 27 after turning onto Left Crosswind leg or entering Left Downwind for 27. Even then, it should not be a problem for you under normal circumstances once you attain, and as long as you maintain, an altitude of about 1000' MSL or higher.

     Also be aware that there are a number of other cell towers located all along I-20.

Last 500' to the West

RunwayEnd.JPG (37056 bytes)

    Our runway slopes significantly on the WEST end for the last 500 feet. We generally avoid using that last 500' unless you need the extra ground run on takeoff (uphill) or overrun on landing (downhill). A thick "sea" of pine trees is located off the west end of the runway for quite some distance (over a mile). A large round field is located just to the SOUTH (left) of the runway in case of emergency on takeoff of runway 27. However, this field is usually planted in corn (which can grow to 6' or more in height), soybeans, or other crops during the spring and summer months. The field is usually plowed in early spring, and as such is furrowed until early summer. During the fall, the cornstalks remain. While not an ideal landing site, it does at least offer an alternative to the pine trees off the end of the runway in an emergency situation. However, keep in mind that this large field and the forest off the end of the runway are NOT owned by the airpark.

Be Vigilant of People & Animals

    We also recommend that you be especially vigilant of people, animals (e.g. dogs, birds, deer) and/or personal vehicles (e.g. golf carts, ATVs) on or near the runway. Be advised that a large flock of Canadian geese (sometimes as many as 50-100 birds in a flock) visits the large corn field to the south of the airpark frequently, mostly in the late afternoons and early mornings during the fall, and especially during the month of October. Often, they fly directly across the runway at low level (approximately 50-100 feet altitude).

In-flight Photos of the Airpark

For photos of the airpark from the air, click the icon below.