Class A airfield

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Class A airfields were military installations originally built for the Royal Air Force in the Second World War. Many were transferred to the U.S. Eighth Air Force for use as heavy bomber bases.

Class A layouts were constructed to specifications set by the British Air Ministry in August 1942, the main feature of which was a set of converging strips, each containing a concrete runway for takeoffs and landings, optimally placed at 60 degree angles to each other in a triangular pattern. The longest strip was designated the main strip and aligned southwest to northeast wherever possible, this being chosen to allow aircraft to takeoff and land into the prevailing winds. The other two runways were to allow use when the winds were blowing from other directions. The primary consideration was for operational safety for any type of aircraft then in operation or under development, including the U.S. B-29 Superfortress.

The strips were 600 feet (183 m) in width, cleared, graded and surfaced with turf. A concrete runway 150 feet (46 m) in width was centered on the strip, with a minimum length of 6,000 feet (1,830 m) for the main strip and 4,200 feet (1,280 m) for the secondary strips. On each side of the strip the field was cleared of obstructions and leveled an additional 300 feet (90 m). Gradients for the strips were a maximum 1 in 80 longitudinally and 1 in 60 transversely. In addition, an area at the end of each runway was cleared of obstructions at an angle of fifteen degrees outward...
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