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Mar 24, 2012 10:54 AM by Matt Stafford

AF Academy gets $3.6M artificial turf airstrip

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP) - The Air Force Academy has a new landing strip for its glider planes carpeted with more than 1.3 million square feet of artificial turf.

The school unveiled the $3.6 million installation on Tuesday.

It's the equivalent of about 23 NFL football fields or 16 MLS soccer fields.

Officials say the previous natural grass landing strip was bumpier and harder on the gliders.

Artificial turf eliminates the cost of watering and mowing, and pilots can see markings more easily.

Officials say the new surface is expected to last 25 years.

Last year the academy replaced its glider fleet with 19 new aircraft and 11 trailers at a cost of $4.8 million.

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