Temporary Airport Closure to Limit COVID-19 Spread

Ocean Ridge Airport will be closed starting tomorrow, Monday, March 22, 2020 to help limit the spread of COVID-19. Mendocino County was placed under a shelter-in-place order last week that forbids non-essential travel and the State of California subsequently placed a similar order a few days later. Mendocino County reported its first positive COVID-19 patient and the patient was tested at a “south coast clinic” so it is right here in our community already. The airport closure will last at least until the Mendocino County order has been lifted (currently April 7, 2020 but that can change).

We have contacted the most frequent flyers of the airport to let them know directly.

Your support of this decision is appreciated and we look forward to seeing you again once this pandemic has passed. Please follow the health orders of your region and follow CDC recommendations for proper handwashing technique.

Please contact us if you have any questions.

Stay grounded at home, stay healthy, stay safe!

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Funding Gap Update & Inspection

We are very appreciative of the donations given to the airport to help fill the funding gap left from our fundraising efforts to repair the runway. But there is still a need to fill the holes in our fundraising goals:

  • Right now, the slurry resealing funding gap is down to only $3125 needed.
  • The prep work funding gap is still quite large, requiring another $8300.

If you would like to donate toward either of these gaps you can find out how here.

But we have good news!

Last year we were given until 9/30/2014 to repair the runway. Luckily we got that done ahead of schedule. We kept wondering, though: would it meet the CalTrans requirements?  All indications were affirmative but without the official approval of the permitting agency, we were all on our toes.

Just last week our new CalTrans inspector came out to visit the airport for the annual review. We’re excited to announce that the runway repairs passed!

The only to-do item noted in the inspection was some to mow down some vegetation around the runway in the safety zones.  This will be taken care of very soon.

Fly safely, everyone!

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Runway repairs–before and after

The airport resealing work was officially completed at the end of July. But we are still awaiting formal approval of the work by CalTrans to indicate that the owner met the terms of the mandated repair order. The inspector who issued the letter last year no longer works at CalTrans. An interim inspector informed us that the airport’s status will be reviewed during its annual inspection this month. 

Before the prep work began we were in contact with the interim inspector to ask many questions about the repairs and the runway markings to ensure that we were doing it all according to FAA standards. 

Here are some before and after photos to show the improvements.



Here you can see yellow markings and damaged aspalt on the runway.


Shallow spots required only oil and sand while deeper holes needed to be filled with gravel first. Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Shallow spots required only oil and sand while deeper holes needed to be filled with gravel first. Tuesday, July 15, 2014



You can see that the shallow and damaged areas of the runway have been filled in and resealed, resulting in a smooth and debris-free surface.


Runway markings were brought up to FAA standards for our type of airport with all white paint.

We will post an update again when we have the results of this year’s annual inspection. Until then, fly safe everyone!

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Funding Update: Mind the Gap

We are all breathing a sigh of relief knowing that we were successful in getting the mandated runway work done ahead of schedule.

Mind the funding gap

But we still have a long way to go: there is an outstanding funding gap to pay for the slurry contractor. The good news, however, is that we secured a contract that was less than half of what we had been planning. Our plan was to raise funds for the worst case scenario–paying for full mobilization of equipment and crew from a “big city” slurry company to rural Gualala. According to the estimates we received last summer to inform our fundraising plans, that cost was close to $20,000. The original fundraising goal was $60,000.

The best case scenario was to “piggy back” on another local job to reduce the mobilization fee. And that’s exactly what we were able to do!

Mendocino County had their road crews doing prep work in Gualala in early June. A few phone calls to the county project manager led us to the contractor that had won the bid for the road work, Telfer Oil out of Windsor. Many calls were made and after a few weeks we were finally able to have someone from the company look at the airport and provide an estimate. We were all very pleased with the proposed cost!

The only issue was that by “piggy backing” on another local project, we had to commit to the contractor’s schedule. We really had to organize ourselves quickly to do all the necessary prep work of filling potholes, removing weeds, tagging the existing runway markings with duplex nails that could be located post-slurry with a metal detector, sweeping the asphalt, and much more.

And then the contractor informed us that the crew would actually be arriving three days sooner than expected! All of a sudden John Bower had to commit his entire work crew (plus Julie who normally has an office job!) to the airport prep work. It was a crazy week leading up to the slurry job on Thursday, July 17, 2014. But we got it all done. John worked from sun up to sun down, making for some very long, very tiring summer days.

Slurry funding status

The drastically reduced contract cost (even with the hired crew rather than volunteer help to do the prep work) was worth it, even though ORAA did not yet have all the funds. We paid the contractor this week, in full, with a small loan to cover the gap.

We are asking you to please consider donating to help ORAA realize its slurry funding goal.


Prep and finish work costs

A lot of prep work was required before we could even consider having the slurry seal material applied to the runway. The potholes, shallow spots, and alligatoring had to be addressed so that the slurry mix would adhere to the asphalt surface for a long-term, durable result. In the days after the slurry sealing, big rig trucks were rolled over every inch of the surface to compact the slurry-sand mixture to encourage the bond to develop with the underlying surface.

We had always planned on asking for volunteer assistance for the prep work, but the shortened timeline meant that most people already had firm plans in place and were not available. Gualala may be a small place, but our coastal communities are jam packed with events and activities every week (so many reasons to fly in for a visit!). So the decision was made to hire John’s construction crew to do most of the work. John Bower’s office worked to carefully track all costs for the runway job.

We did have some amazing volunteers throughout the week and they all deserve a big THANK YOU because they worked really hard toward the airport goal. Wes Daniels, Ken Salva, Eric Kritz, Mike and Beth Roland, and Naomi Schwartz, we could not have done this without you!

Here is the prep/finish work cost breakdown:

Paid labor = $5,700

Materials = $1725

Equipment = $1875

Total = $9,300

Prepwork_funds_7.25.2014ORAA will gladly accept any donations toward the prep/finish work costs. Remember that this work was a joint effort between the Bower family and the aviation community in order to keep Ocean Ridge Airport open to you, the public.

The Bowers and ORAA members truly appreciate your generosity and support with this effort. We look forward to improving all aspects of the airport for your flying pleasure in the years to come.

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NOTAM extended for centerline markings

The NOTAM was extended once again to allow us to finalize the runway centerlines. Yesterday we had some late morning rain which prevented us from painting.

NOTAM extension_2

As always, we appreciate your patience as we finish this project!

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NOTAM extension

We continued the work on the runway through Saturday. The only thing remaining before we can officially re-open are the white centerlines on the runway.

The original NOTAM has been extended through today. We will update when the runway is open again.

NOTAM extension

Thank you for your patience!

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Runway prep work is done

The airport has been a busy place since Friday. That afternoon and every day since we have been preparing the runway for the slurry job, which starts tomorrow. John Bower has worked especially hard and very long days to get as much done as possible.

We had to make sure the runway and all other asphalt surfaces were clear of weeds, loose debris, and dust. Just running the sweeper across all surfaces took many, many hours. Then all of the potholes and shallow spots on the runway were filled to be flush with the surrounding areas. Bigrig trucks were driven back and forth across every filled spot to compact the material. Then John ran the sweeper across all the surfaces a second time to remove all excess fill material. It was quite a task!

Our airport was lucky to have three generous volunteers help out with the prep work this week. On Tuesday ORAA member Naomi painted closure signs to position at each driveway and she brought us a picnic lunch donated by Trinks Cafe. She even baked us a cherry pie for dessert! Eric, another ORAA member, worked really hard on Tuesday. He threw gravel and sand with the rest of the crew for hours on end. Today we had volunteer Ken pick up where Eric left off. We are so grateful for all this help. Thank you, volunteers!

As we were wrapping up the pothole work and getting ready for the final sweeping, we saw all the slurry contractor’s trucks roll into the airport. It looks like everything is all set for the resealing work tomorrow!

Remember that the airport is officially closed to all traffic (vehicular and aircraft) on Thursday, July 17 for the asphalt work. Cars are welcome back on Friday but the runway will remain closed until we have applied the required runway markings. Our goal is to paint Friday and Saturday.

A NOTAM has been posted.


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