Airport Business

DEC 2017 - JAN 2018

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AIRFIELD SAFETY December 2017/January 2018 airportbusiness 29 will affect operations upstream and downstream of the proposed update as well as stakeholder needs and local conditions. While RIM studies and improvements are nec- essary to accommodate the increasing traffic in our nation's airports, some airports are concerned that the recommendations that focus on improving airfield safety will have a negative effect on airfield capacity and efficiency. An airport could experience an inverse relationship between safety and efficiency if it attempts to correct hot spots in a vacuum - that is, isolating and addressing each incursion area without considering how the solution would affect other areas on the airfield. As an example, reconfiguration that makes it more difficult for an aircraft to errantly enter onto a runway also could make it difficult for aircraft to quickly exit the runway, creating delays and possible additional incursions. So how can we balance the needs of both safety and efficiency? From experience aiding airports across the country, HNTB has developed several best prac- tices to aid airports each step of the way: • Insist on a transparent stakeholder engagement process. This is the single most important ele- ment to ensuring that the study will be success- ful. Invite all stakeholders to the planning table, including regulators, users, elected officials and airport authority owners. It is also important to recognize these groups will have opinions about how the airfield should change, if it should change and why. Once their partici- pation is secured, continued communication is important. Explain the process and ask for their help in developing a hierarchy of criteria for the project. • Understand and expect stakeholder nuances. The FAA funds a majority of the project, so it naturally has a vested interest in the study. Even within the one FAA entity, however, differenc- es of opinion will occur. Take, for example, the FAA's Airports Division, which is charged with implementing RIM, but in applying RIM criteria, the airport may find the Air Traffic Organization pushing back because of the way the proposed changes impact airfield operations. The sponsor can achieve a common vision for success among the FAA's various lines of business by engaging these stakeholders early in the process. • Consider future operation and traffic levels. Simulate current and future airfield conditions under a variety of traffic levels. Simulation tests multiple mitigation strategies and quantifies the positive and negative impacts using parameters such as delay and travel time. • Use clear, easy-to-interpret graphics. Visuals, including animations from simulations, help clearly communicate your goals and design plans to technical and non-technical audiences. • Utilize risk-based decision-making. The FAA is moving to risk-based decision-making for acceptance of proposed improvements to the airfield. Under a risk-based approach, not all hot spots or non-conforming geometry may need to be addressed, which can save time and money in implementing the recommendations. • Be involved. Active owner participation results in fewer surprises, better documentation and a successful, lasting outcome. • Seek opportunities. Airfield geometry studies can be executed as stand-alone projects (Long Beach Airport), runway design projects (Los Angeles International) or part of a master plan update (Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Phoenix Deer Valley Airport). They don't have to be pigeonholed solely as a planning activity. Because the FAA provides a large percentage of the funds for a master plan update, it can be economical for an airport to assess RIM criteria as part of a typical airside analysis component of a master plan. By following the suggested best practices and maintaining clear communication with all invested parties throughout the process, airports can reduce hot spots in their airfields and increase the safety of the U.S. aviation system. They do not have to sacrifice efficiency for safety when mitigating runway incursions by using this holistic approach. At LAX, HNTB was the lead planner and designer for the Runway 7R-25L Relocation project which shifted the 11,000-foot runway by 55' to the south to accommodate a center parallel taxiway to further enhance safety by minimizing runway incursions. HNTB Greg is the naƟonal aviaƟon planning director for HNTB. He is a registered professional civil engi- neer and an acƟve, licensed pilot with instrument raƟng. Albjerg has three years of experience as an air traffic controller with the Federal AviaƟon Administra- Ɵon. He has been directly involved in a wide variety of airport engineering, planning and environmental projects, ranging from small general aviaƟon airports to major air carrier airports. JusƟn is a senior aviaƟon planner for HNTB and has been involved in a wide variety of airport planning projects at more than 30 airports across the country. His broad exper- Ɵse includes preparing RIM studies, airfield capacity and efficiency planning, data analysis, ALPs, and airfield and airspace simulaƟon/interacƟon. He has been a leader and on the forefront of the FAA's RIM program. Greg Albjerg, PE JusƟn Bychek, PE ABOUT THE AUTHORS

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