Authors Preface: As many of you have already discovered, I password-protected this post so I could show it to Al Tyler and get his input before making the review public. This turned out to be an epic mistake, as Bill Elliott was apparently deluged with complaints and/or requests for access (sorry Bill!). So ... I'm making it public, but be aware that this is a work in progress; Al Tyler, Sam Zimmerman, and I are working to pare the database down to something reasonable and pull out as much of the deadwood as we can. I hope to have a new, improved database up on Leibacher's site by the time the contest rolls around, but that's not at all assured. Whatever happens THERE WILL BE NO CHANGES TO CONTEST TURNPOINT NAMES OR NUMBERS so you can safely use the current Perry database from the Soaring Turnpoint Exchange. Ultimately my motivation for doing this review is so I can create my own personal database that excludes 'problematic' airports/airstrips (like The Bearwallow 'airport' - see below). Many of these problem airstrips are way outside the normal contest soaring area, and therefore won't impact competitors at all. OTOH, you never know ... ;-). So, here's the review, but be aware it's not anywhere near final - Frank (TA)
As part of my 12-step crash recovery program, I have taken a solemn vow to never go to another soaring site without first having done a thorough Google Earth review of all the airports/airstrips in that site's waypoint database. Never again will I arrive at an 'airstrip' waypoint only to discover that it can't be found or has been abandoned for years/decades!
This is my review of the Perry (Wagener, SC) waypoint database from John Leibacher's wonderful Worldwide Soaring Turnpoint Exchange. As part of this great service, John provides a .KMZ file that displays all the waypoints in Google Earth. When I review a soaring site, I look at *all* waypoints with a 'landable' coding, but I only report the ones that I find missing, abandoned, or otherwise problematic (i.e. not wide enough for my 18-meter ship). If you don't find a reference and/or image for a particular airstrip in this review, then you can safely assume that I didn't find anything scary about it, and would be willing to land my glider there. Of course, this is all based on Google Earth images that can be as much as 2 years old, and on my not-so-sane view of the world, so your mileage may vary!
Note: When I first did this review, I discovered there were a *lot* of 'problem' airstrips in the Perry waypoint database. I attributed that to the unique circumstances surrounding 'Perry International Airport'; Al Tyler is the only regular flyer out of Perry, and I'm sure he has long since memorized every usable airport/airstrip in his soaring area, and keeps track of airstrips as they go in and out of service. So, he has no real reason to maintain it, except for the contest turnpoints and other airstrips in the contest soaring area. Only us mere mortals need a well-reviewed database! ;-).
Frank Paynter (TA)
#10 Caraways Airstrip
#14 Do Little & Alan's Airstrips
Nothing wrong with either of these airstrips, but I had to include it because you don't often see two perfectly good airstrips side-by-side like this. There even appears to be a taxiway between them, maybe so Alan can taxi over to Dr. Dolittle's place for a morning coffee? ;-).
#26 Judge Wil Airstrip - Clearly abandoned and returned to cropland. You can see the hangar and traces of the runway about 0.6 mi NNW of the waypoint symbol.
#41 West Wagener Airstrip - Waypoint symbol is displaced about 0.6 to the NW of the airstrip. Otherwise OK.
Wexford Mills Airstrip - Waypoint symbol is displaced about 0.8 mi SW of airstrip.
Williston Airstrip - Waypoint symbol is displaced about 0.6 mi NW of the airstrip.
29C Airstrip - Runway itself isn't obvious, and looks suspiciously un-maintained in this 4/2011 image. Might be better off at Shelby, 4 mi SSE.
Anna's Airstrip - A bit short at around 1200' usable, and not overly wide, either. Better be 'on your game' for this one!
Bearwallow Farm - If there's an airstrip in this photo, I'll eat my hat! This place is on the side of a pretty steep mountain at 3600' msl—more like a ski resort than an airstrip! Fortunately, Six Oaks is a reasonable airstrip about 4.4 mi W.
Bells Branch Airstrip - Obviously abandoned and overgrown
Bethel Lake Wylie Airstrip - Abandoned and overgrown.
Carolina Cow Country Airstrip - WAY too narrow for 18m, and probably for 15m too. Much better off at Laurens Airport 4 mi SW.
Carpenter Airstrip - looks abandoned and overgrown in this 3/2013 image. If you were desperate, you *might* be able to land in a relatively clear area in the middle of the strip (about 750' available) - good luck! Much better off at Thompson-McDuffie Co Airport 8 mi west.
Clute's Hilltop Airstrip - clearly abandoned and overgrown in this 4/2011 image. Better off at Rutherford Co-Marchman 5 mi west
Clyde Valley Airstrip - Too narrow for 18m, and probably too narrow for 15m too. Better off at Silver Creek Airstrip 3 mi NNW.
Cox Airstrip - Too short (1,100') with houses all around. Better off at Hartness 1.5 mi NNE.
Crawford Hendrix Farm - Nothing there in this 3/2013 image.
Creech Aviation Facility - Nothing there in this 11/2013 image.
Curry Airstrip - Nothing there in this 3/2012 image
Daniels Airstrip - Nothing there in this 11/2012 image.
Danville Airstrip - Obviously abandoned and overgrown. Better off at Whitehall, 7.6 mi SE.
Darla's Airstrip - Obviously abandoned and returned to crops (hay bales in field) in this 12/2009 image.
Davis 2 Airstrip - Nothing there in this 3/2012 image.
Davis 4 Airstrip - Nothing there in this 11/2012 image.
Dream Team Airstrip - Nothing there in this 11/2013 image.
Eliot Barrow Airstrip - Waypoint symbol is offset approximately 0.5 mi NE of actual airstrip.
Foxhunt Airstrip - Too narrow for 18m and probably for 15m too. Better off at Double Spring Airstrip 1.2 mi east.
Great Oaks Airstrip - Abandoned (note the big 'X' in the middle of the runway)
Green Pond Airstrip - Waypoint symbol is about 0.7 mi NW of actual airstrip.
Hawks Meadow Airstrip - Too narrow for 18m and probably 15m too. Better off at Jaars-Townsend Airport 2.1 mi north.
Hearn Airstrip - Nothing there in this 3/2013 image. The long open area to the west is a high-tension powerline.
Holt Airstrip - Waypoint symbol is approximately 1 mi east of actual airport
Iva Airstrip - Looks like a high-wing only strip; the center strip is only about 45' wide, with what looks like high bushes on both sides. Probably better off at Anderson 14 mi N or Hester Memorial 16 mi SSE.
Jordan Airstrip - Looks abandoned in this 11/2013 image.
Lamar Airstrip - Nothing there in this 11/2013 image
Lathan Airstrip - Nothing there in this 11/2013 image
Lesesne Airstrip - Nothing there in this 2/2013 image
LT Landing - Nothing there in this 12/2009 image
Marsh Point Airstrip - An honest-to-god island airstrip! Way too narrow for even a 15m ship - better off at Beaufort County, 4 mi SW
McKay Airstrip - Long ago abandoned and turned into a housing development, as shown in this 5/2013 image.
Northbrook Ultraport - Way too narrow and short for anything but maybe a PW5.
Riverbend Airstrip - Looks abandoned, and way too narrow/short for gliders. Donaldson Center 2.7 mi NW is a much better bet.
Sexton Airstrip - Waypoint symbol is approximately 1.3 mi ESE of the actual airstrip.
State Line Ultraport - More a pasture than anything else. Note the cattle grazing in this 3/2012 image.
Sugar Hill Airstrip - Nothing there in this 10/2012 image.
West Newberry Airstrip - Too narrow for 18m when the crops are high, and marginal for 15m. Better off at Newberry, 8 mi NE.
White Plains Airpark - A tight squeeze for 18m (note the distance from the centerline to the windsock!). Don Bells 4.5 mi SW is a better bet.
Williamsport Airstrip - Waypoint symbol is about 0.8 mi east of the actual airstrip.