Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

HMMH Assists FAA and Airports in Standardizing the Process for Determining Sound Insulation Program Eligibility

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

by J. Eric Cox

HMMH has provided acoustical testing, design, and other consulting services to airports throughout the country that have implemented sound insulation programs in accordance with FAA Order 5100.38D Airport Improvement Program (AIP) Handbook. HMMH has most recently been conducting sound insulation measurements around several airports including:

  • T. F. Green State Airport (PVD) in Providence, Rhode Island
  • Tweed – New Haven Airport (HVN) in New Haven, Connecticut
  • Louisville International Airport (SDF) in Louisville, Kentucky (shown below)


Over the last several months, HMMH has also assisted the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and airport sponsors in standardizing the process for determining sound insulation program eligibility per current FAA requirements and criteria, which include that the average interior noise level for a residential building or educational facility must be 45 dB or greater.This work has included a recently completed Policy, Engineering, Analysis and Research Support (PEARS) study for the FAA Office of Environment and Energy regarding selection of appropriate aircraft noise spectra for use in determining outdoor-to-indoor building noise level reduction (NLR).

In addition, we have assisted several airport authorities (including Los Angeles World Airports and the Port of Seattle) in developing sound insulation program acoustical testing plans (ATP) for FAA review. This work has included providing additional information and supporting details related to the various methods that may be used to measure the exterior building façade sound level in the determination of NLR, each of which require a different adjustment to the measured level to account for the reflection of sound energy from the façade under test that is not transmitted through the exterior wall and instead travels back to the measurement microphone.

And as part of our on-going sound insulation testing work at Louisville International Airport, we have recently been evaluating noise mitigation program eligibility for several educational buildings and residential dormitories at the nearby University of Louisville Belknap Campus. This has required us to evaluate methods to compute daytime average sound levels (as required for educational facilities by FAA) that are consistent with the noise study, aircraft operations data, and analysis methods previously utilized to generate the Day-Night Average Sound Level (DNL) noise contours for the Noise Exposure Map (NEM).

Finally, I will be presenting a paper at the New England Noise-Con Revolution in Noise Control conference to be held in Providence, Rhode Island during June 13 – 15, 2016. This paper investigates the correlation between aircraft interior noise levels and various residential building construction features. The results of this analysis are then considered in the context of the current guidance provided in Appendix R of the FAA AIP handbook, which specifics a procedure to determine the eligibility of residences for sound insulation programs based on interior noise levels for categories of homes. Ultimately, we were unable to identify any specific building construction details which might result in truly effective categorizations of residential structures for this purpose since even the best possible approaches resulted in ranges of interior DNL noise levels that directly overlap and all of which span the 45 dB FAA criteria. An example presentation graphic is provided below comparing average interior DNL values for single family homes with total window assembly glazing thickness.

If you are interested and would like to learn more, please attend my Noise-Con presentation entitled “Investigation of Correlation between Aircraft Interior Noise Levels and Residential Building Construction Details” on Tuesday June 14, 2016 from 1:20 PM – 1:40 PM in Room 550 A/B of the Omni Providence Hotel during the “Building Acoustics Measurement and Modeling” conference session. Hope to see you there!



TRB Releases HMMH-Authored Report on Renewable Energy at Airports

Thursday, April 7th, 2016


HMMH is pleased to announce the release of  ACRP Report 151 “Developing a Business Case for Renewable Energy at Airports” by the Transportation Research Board (TRB). The report, authored by Stephen Barrett, Director of Climate and Energy, and Philip DeVita, Director of Air Quality, focuses on identifying and communicating the inherent benefits of renewable energy as part of the business case analysis. To reinforce its practical application, the Guidebook presents direct experience in renewable energy business case development to show both how those attributes are valued differently by different organizations with different missions, and how this broader renewable energy business experience translates to the airport business. The Guidebook reviews the criteria used to evaluate a renewable energy project and presents a system for weighting evaluation factors, including long-term self-sustainability and environmental/social considerations, based on the airport’s particular objectives. It walks through a model business case and evaluates the key factors fundamental in the renewable energy business case. The Guidebook also provides examples of similar renewable energy business cases from both an airport’s perspective as well as other organizations, including an airline, a university, and a hospital, and the lessons learned for airports.

This report was the first ever released by the Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) in a “pre-publication” format (in November 2015) as part of its interest in accelerating the presentation of its research products to the industry, and demonstrates the high-level of confidence in the draft product.

HMMH has also prepared several other reports under this program including ACRP Report 141 “Renewable Energy as an Airport Revenue Source,” which provides the industry with business models and financial information to show how airports have gained financial benefits from renewable energy projects, ACRP Report 108 “Energy Facilities Compatibility with Airports and Airspace,” which reviews the aviation industry’s experience with a variety of energy technologies, and ACRP Synthesis 28 “Investigating Safety Impacts of Energy Technologies on Airports and Aviation,” which was the precursor study to ACRP Report 108.



Monday, April 4th, 2016

By Mary Ellen Eagan


HMMH is pleased to announce that it has joined RTCA, which is a non-for-profit association that was founded in 1935 as a radio technical commission for aeronautics. RTCA is a Federal advisory committee that works in response to requests from the FAA to develop consensus among diverse, competing interests on critical aviation modernization issues in an increasingly global enterprise. Chartered by the FAA to operate Federal advisory committees, RTCA employs a consensus-driven process to generate minimum performance standards for Air Traffic Control systems and equipment; to forge recommendations on key aviation policies, and identifying and developing mitigation on issues affecting air traffic management operations. RTCA developed performance standards form the basis for FAA regulatory requirements while the policy advice informs the FAA’s prioritization and investment decisions.

HMMH has supported a number of RTCA task forces in the past. Diana Wasiuk is a member of the NextGen Integration Working Group (NIWG), which drives industry agreement on the prioritization and timing of investments in NextGen and thePBN Time, Speed, and Spacing Task Group, which prioritizes the waterfall of PBN implementation and evaluates opportunities to maximize PBN benefits in the near-and mid-term. Mary Ellen Eagan is on the PBN Blueprint Community Outreach Task Group, which identifies best practices in communication around PBN noise issues. Mary Ellen Eagan is on the PBN Blueprint Community Outreach Task Group, which is identifying best practices in communication around PBN noise issues.

“We are pleased to increase our engagement with RTCA”, said Mary Ellen Eagan. “We are excited to bring our extensive noise and airspace experience to an organization is seeking to develop consensus across a wide stakeholder group, much as we do in our practice daily.”

On the Way to Retirement

Friday, February 12th, 2016

By Bob Miller

I’m headed to the office tomorrow for a going-away luncheon for another staff member, but it’s different this time. I haven’t been there for weeks. My office has been taken over by someone else, I’m turning in my computer and I’m saying goodbye once again. It’s no surprise that I’ve dragged out the process a good seven months – some would say ad nauseum — since the first of my four retirement gatherings. But part of the job of consulting is getting to know people with whom and for whom you work; doing everything within your capabilities to help them with their problems; being creative, accurate and objective in developing your conclusions; maybe getting a follow-on project; and then what? After 40-some years of doing that, you’re just supposed to walk away?

For me, no, and especially not from Amy Hanson at FAA’s Airports District Office in Des Plaines. We won a large prominent job to re-evaluate the 2005 O’Hare Modernization Program EIS, which I was to manage. I’d worked with Amy on the original EIS and again, briefly, on the Midway RNAV EA. The re-eval would take me past my retirement date but that was only arbitrary. I could adjust. Then the start date was delayed. And then delayed again. And it kept getting delayed for almost a year, though of course, the due date never changed. All of us – our entire team, all the FAA folks — worked endless hours. At age 70, I pulled three all-nighters in five days; and we completed the 2+ year project in 11 months! At the end, I couldn’t have been happier or prouder to have worked with such a fine group of people. Amy and her colleagues at FAA made every bit of the effort worthwhile. We did it for them.

Could I really have walked away from that experience just to retire? From the profession, maybe, and even from the company which I helped found, but not to the people I’ve worked with for so long. Over the years, many have become my friends. What I wanted most when I left HMMH was my contact list, not because I wanted to keep finding work but because I wanted to keep finding friends. Last week, in fact, I made a trip to Breckenridge to ski with folks from our Sacramento office and client-friends from Denver and Centennial Airports. It’s true I’m retiring at last but I am never forgetting the truly fine people I’ve had the privilege of knowing all these years.




For 53 Years I’ve put up with it now, I must stop Christmas from coming, but how?

Thursday, December 17th, 2015

By Mary Ellen Eagan

Several years ago, I invited my husband, David, to opine on the deeper meaning of Rudolph. This was during a time when he’d been spending a LOT of time with our then 7-year old, watching nearly nightly. The post was well received, and I’ve been asking him since to write another. And since he is the Grinch in our family, it seems only fitting that he should respond with this.




Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss) as 53 when he wrote “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, and he had a car with the personalized license plate: GRINCH. It’s not a stretch to think Ted Geisel saw a bit of himself in the Grinch. So if you occasionally get annoyed at Christmas, you’re in good company. If you don’t occasionally get annoyed at the shallowness, materialism, and consumerism of Christmas, you probably live on a mountain even farther from the rest of us than Mt. Crumpit is from Whoville.

Being an occasional Grinch does not mean you are an evil person; you aren’t even a bad person. Up there on your mountain of superior aloofness, staring down, hating all the Whos, you’re more of Nietzsche’s Ubermensch Zarathustra than Dicken’s greedy Scrooge. The Grinch, after all, has no interest in wrecking the Whos’ Christmas for personal gain; he takes all their goodies just to teach them a lesson. He’s the definition of a killjoy, with his heart two sizes too small. He’s a brother to Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and self-righteous atheist prigs who don’t want to let anyone have any fun or joy that they either can’t or won’t let themselves enjoy. Sam and Richard want to teach us a lesson, too, with no personal gain that I can see (unless, of course, you buy their books).

But sometimes the teacher is the one who gets schooled. The Grinch isn’t completely lost in his own superiority; when he finally does stop to listen to the Whos, he can actually still hear them. It takes him a while – ‘til his puzzler was sore – to work out Who is right and who is wrong (not bad, not evil, just wrong), but he’s not so lost that he can’t change his path. And he’s not so foolish that he doesn’t recognize that he needs to change, even though 53 years of hating Christmas may have left him set in some of his ways. Don’t expect to see the Grinch hanging around Cindy Lou Who’s house like the reformed Scrooge haunting the Cratchit’s. But I think you’ll see him and Max out on the sled a bit more.

The Grinch was right all along about our Christmas. Our Christmas is shallow, consumerist, and materialist. But he was wrong about the Whos’. Their Christmas is none of that; their Christmas means a little bit more. On this, my 53rd Christmas, I wish you the blessings of family, friends, and the Christmas of the Whos.



Figure 1: Why, Santy Claus? Why are you taking our Christmas tree? (Greta at 2)