Air Crew Survival Training Center

The purpose of the air crew survival training center at the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station in Washington is to train aviators and air crew for water rescue and survival of crashes into water.

During training procedures, a fog machine capable of reducing the visibility in the building to 3 feet in three minutes is in operation. Platforms are used to simulate ocean rescues in a helicopter. Attached to the platforms are jets that produce enough pressure to splash pool water 30 feet into the air. The training center also includes pools used to dunk trainees in flight chairs to practice escapes.

When the facility was built in July 2003, the specification called for a two coat alkyd system for the overhead galvanized deck and dip-primed joists. Tnemec coating consultant Torin Mowbray, instead, recommended two coats of Series 115 Uni-Bond DF, an acrylic coating with superior performance to the specified system. A self-crosslinking acrylic, Series 115 is ideal for coating galvanized steel in swimming pool environments.

Two coats of Series 115 were applied. According to a contact at the facility, it had taken ten months after the building was completed to properly commission the HVAC, causing it to rain inside the facility for much of that period.

In May 2006, the facility was visually examined for indications of coating failure or color change. After an hour of visual surveys, it was determined that the coating was holding up well. In fact, the only sign of change in the building was seen in the flags on the walls. Made from materials referred to as exterior-grade synthetics, the moisture in the building had caused the pigments in the flags to bleed into each other.

When a high performance solution was needed for a difficult environment, two coats of Series 115 were a great choice to protect the overhead deck at the training center.

    Project Information

    Corps of Engineers, Washington

    Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, Washington

    July 2003

    US Navy

    Washington Commercial Painters of Redmond, Washington

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