Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Aviation Environmental Design Tool (AEDT) 2017 Update

Friday, September 29th, 2017

by Robert Mentzer

FAA has released its latest version of the Aviation Environmental Design Tool (AEDT 2d).  Released on September 27, 2017, the model is a free upgrade for existing AEDT 2b/2c licensed users and is available from the FAA AEDT website.  All FAA actions requiring noise, fuel burn or emissions modeling and for which the environmental analysis process has begun on or after September 27, 2017 are required to use AEDT 2d.

The major features of this release are:

  • for the first time since AEDT was released the FAA has added new aircraft data to the model that were not in the legacy models (Boeing 737 MAX, Bombardier Global 5000 and 6000 and BADA support for the A350-900).
  • AEDT 2d will only operate on the SQL 2012 platform (prior releases used SQL 2008)
  • MOVES improvements including: inputs including roadway, parking facilities and construction zones and inventory file improvements
  • VALE report improvements
  • Dynamic Grid support for Time-based noise metrics
  • Creating and editing vector tracks
  • Track dispersion editing
  • Metric results import and combine feature improvements

This release also includes several model enhancements and bug fixes and includes a known list of issues.

HMMH provided INM training for more than 20 years. HMMH now offers AEDT 2d training with the same focus on practical implementation from a user perspective.  This course provides users with an overview of the new model, with a focus on transitioning from legacy tools and computational resources.

Click here for more information or to register for HMMH’s next AEDT 2d course held in Burlington, MA on November 14th, 2017.

The AEDT support website is the technical support and information hub for AEDT. Support requests, feedback on bugs, and feature requests should be submitted through this website. The AEDT installer and support resources such as documentation and frequently asked questions (FAQ) are also available on the AEDT Support website.

Remaining Optimistic Despite President Trump’s Paris Agreement Decision

Friday, June 2nd, 2017

by Katherine B. Preston

As I sit here digesting the news that the Trump Administration has decided to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, which in my opinion is a decision that will have negative consequences for the country beyond just environmental impacts, it strikes me that what the U.S. does at a federal level isn’t a deal-breaker on climate.  Despite this unfortunate turn of events, I have reason to be optimistic.

How can this be?  Well, first of all, the feds weren’t really doing all that much to begin with on climate change.  While the Obama Administration accomplished some important initiatives designed to address climate change, such as corporate average fuel economy standards, the clean power plan, energy efficiency standards for federal buildings – I believe the real action is happening in the private sector and at the state and local level.  Motivated states and cities have been doing what the federal government hasn’t been able to do like set greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, renewable energy generation goals, and putting resiliency plans into place.  Just ask California, Massachusetts, New York City, Seattle, Chicago, and so many more – too numerous to list here.

According to data from the 2010 census, over 80% of Americans live in urban areas – which means that our collective contribution to climate change and exposure to climate risks is overwhelmingly focused on American cities.  This is GOOD news, because it is cities across the country that are taking some of the most aggressive actions on climate change.   In fact, there are almost 600 U.S. members of the organization ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability taking action on climate change and becoming more resilient communities.  The United States Conference of Mayors strongly denounced the President’s decision and pledged to continue to work towards the goals in the Paris Agreement.  Climate deniers at the federal level can’t stop all that progress at the local and state level.

Sure the corporate average fuel economy standards and the Clean Power Plan rule were important.  But there are seismic shifts happening in sectors of our economy and economic forces in play regardless of what is happening (or not happening) in Washington, D.C.  Renewable energy development is on the rise as costs continue to decrease, and states continue to enforce renewable portfolio standards.  Solar power generation has risen at an exponential rate in the past 10 years, and as costs continue to decrease, this trend will continue.   Hybrid and electric vehicles continue to become more cost competitive and EV ranges are increasing.   Disruptive technologies hold enormous potential to address our collective GHG emissions too.  Autonomous vehicles could potentially realize a significant decrease in fuel consumption because of efficiency gains (humans aren’t really great drivers after all).

And let’s not forget the recent trend of activist boards forcing companies to fully account for the risks posed by climate change (see Exxon, for example).  This is a particularly exciting development, and I look forward to watching as investors and consumers vote more with their wallets to encourage continued progress.

Many industries are taking it upon themselves to act, whether it’s to better manage risk (regulatory, public relations, financial or otherwise), or because they view it as the “right thing to do”.  My own industry is a good example.  Airports across the world are voluntarily participating in carbon emissions reductions programs.  Some are required by local laws, others because of community expectations, some to compete with peer airports, and others because their leadership understands that managing the airports’ contribution to climate change carries more benefits than costs.  The Airport Carbon Accreditation program (just one of several frameworks in use for managing CO2 emissions) has grown to 189 participating airports and resulted in 206,000 tons of CO2 reductions last year alone.  A drop in the bucket compared to global GHG emissions, but it’s a start and it’s growing.

All of this isn’t to imply that there aren’t actions that the White House and Congress could take to push our economy even further in the right direction on renewable energy and energy efficiency.  Of course there are – and it’s too bad that we’re not.  We could reinstate the investment tax credit which helped the solar industry grow exponentially over the past 10 plus years by helping to bring costs down.  We could implement a cap and trade system – or even better a carbon tax and invest the profits in R&D to develop better renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies we could sell to the rest of the world.  We could ensure parity between renewables, biofuels and fossil fuels by giving equal subsidies and tax breaks to producers of these fuels instead of favoring oil and gas.  We could make sure farmers have access to crop insurance for biofuel crops to lower the barrier to entry.  We could implement renewable energy portfolio requirements. These are obviously just a few examples of many different actions that we could take at the federal level that would make a difference.  But as we’ve seen, progress in the private sector, at the state and local levels and internationally will not stop, regardless of the decisions made in Washington.

That is perhaps one final reason for optimism about the decision of this Administration.  There is a gaping opening for other countries to take more of a leadership role.  China and the EU have jointly stepped up to the plate, and India has indicated it will stay in.   Hopefully our hiatus on the global stage is a short one, but in the meantime others will continue to their efforts.  American cities, states, businesses, organizations and individuals will join the rest of the world in addressing climate change.  Though I am disappointed in the decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement, there are many reasons to remain hopeful that our collective fight against the greatest challenge of our generation will continue.

Plastic Pollution and Healthy Oceans

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

by Katherine B. Preston

This Earth Day I had the pleasure of volunteering at a community event designed to raise awareness about living more sustainably and reducing our collective environmental footprint.   I serve on the Board of Directors for a local organization, Sustainable Tallahassee, whose mission is to promote environmental stewardship and economic vitality in our community through education and collaboration.  At Sustainable Tallahassee, we have many initiatives, but the one we chose to highlight at Saturday’s Earth Day event was plastic pollution – specifically from single use water bottles.  We found that a lot of the festival goers with single use bottles justified using them because they recycle the bottles (which is great!) but that doesn’t quite negate the impacts.

Did you know that Americans drink around 50 billion (yes, Billion!) bottles of water each year – and that only around 20-25% of those bottles are recycled (according to National Geographic). That means around 38 billion plastic bottles are sent to a landfill each year in the U.S. alone, and many end up in our waterways and oceans.  The environmental impacts don’t stop there, unfortunately.  It takes about 17 million barrels of oil each year to manufacture all these bottles (again – U.S. estimates only), and approximately 3 liters of water to produce 16 ounces of bottled water.  Let’s not forget about the energy needed to transport all these bottles to retailers and homes, and to refrigerate them, and the impact from groundwater pumping.

If the environmental impacts alone don’t convince you to permanently ditch the bottled water, consider that all of this damage doesn’t come cheap either. On average, bottled water costs thousands of times more than tap water, and is no safer than what comes out of your faucet (unless you live in areas with lead pipe problems of course).  I am guilty of grabbing bottle waters at times, and tell myself that since its only once in a while it’s ok (plus I am very forgetful when it comes to reusable mugs and water bottles and have lost so many over the years).  After this year’s Earth Day event, I have made a pledge to do much, much better – and bought myself a new stainless steel water bottle since the last one was left on a plane somewhere in Baltimore…

If you spent time in this costume in the Florida heat educating your fellow citizens of the evils of bottled water, you’d make a vow to never use a plastic bottle again too! HMMH would be happy to send you one of our new HMMH stainless steel water bottles, just for reading this – please email us to order yours!

My first month at HMMH

Monday, March 20th, 2017

by Katherine B. Preston

Now that I have been a member of the HMMH team for about a month and have everything figured out (if only), I decided it was time to write my first blog post.  First, let me say that I am very excited to be a part of this wonderful firm!  Having worked closely with Mary Ellen and Gene for years while at ACI-NA, I was not surprised to learn that the rest of my new colleagues at HMMH are equally as intelligent, passionate, welcoming and well-respected in their fields.  Most importantly they are a patient bunch, having gracefully fielded my many questions about time sheets, expense reports, project numbers, and where to find things located on the network.  Thankfully, I think I am starting to get the hang of it.

The past month has been quite the whirlwind, and included visits to the home office in Burlington and several airport clients, the Florida Airport Council’s State Summit, my first industry conference as a non-association staff, and a visit up to my old D.C. stomping grounds to attend FAA’s Environment and Energy REDAC meeting!  One of the most interesting experiences was attending the ACC/AAAE Airport Planning, Design & Construction Symposium in New Orleans, LA last month.  The conference brought together consultants and airport staff from a wide variety of disciplines, and I learned a lot about airport planning, how to write a great proposal, and the client interview pitfalls to avoid.  It was also great to catch up with old friends and colleagues and meet new ones.  I was proud to hand out my new HMMH business cards, and fortunately I brought plenty, because there were over 1000 people at the event!  I will also admit, it was really also nice to simply be an attendee at the conference so I could sit and listen to the panelists, rather than being responsible for planning the sessions.

Now that the dust of my first few weeks is (partially) settled, I am really looking forward to working with HMMH’s current clients, and helping to grow our practice.  For the past several years, I’ve been particularly interested in the exciting sustainability initiatives taking place across our industry, and only see this trend continuing.  Despite the current political climate and the rhetoric from Washington D.C. about rolling back ‘burdensome’ environmental regulations, I see an opportunity for us as an industry to demonstrate just how beneficial sustainability can be in terms of creating operational efficiencies, conserving resources, streamlining processes, positively engaging stakeholders, and of course saving money.  While some benefits are more easily quantifiable than others, I have never heard an airport say they regret incorporating sustainability into their organization.    I look forward to working with airports to help them maximize these benefits, whether by developing a comprehensive sustainability program or undertaking individual initiatives like a renewable energy project or greenhouse gas inventory.

The next few months will continue to be a learning experience for me personally as I transition from the association world to aviation consulting, and for the industry as a whole as we navigate a changing political and regulatory landscape. But I am fortunate to be learning from and working with the best here at HMMH!

Reflections on Retirement: You Can Take Me Out of the Army, But Can You Take the Army Out of Me?

Monday, July 11th, 2016

I am closing my fifty-two years of military service. When I joined the army, even before the turn of the century, it was the fulfillment of all my boyish hopes and dreams.

The world has turned over many times since I took the oath on the plain at West Point, and the hopes and dreams have long since vanished, but I still remember the refrain of one of the most popular barracks ballads of that day which proclaimed most proudly that old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

And like the old soldier of that ballad, I now close my military career and just fade away, an old soldier who tried to do his duty as God gave him the light to see that duty. Good-by.

                                                                                                                                                                                   — General Douglas MacArthur Speech before a
Joint Meeting of Congress (April 19, 1951)

 

In no meaningful way could it ever be said that my military career resembled that of General MacArthur’s:

  • I was commissioned through ROTC rather than having attended West Point;
  • I served only a fraction of the time he did (28 years rather than 52 years) during an era when weapons, tactics, and society have completely changed;
  • Except for two mobilizations and an initial four-month training in my basic branch (Quartermaster) I was exclusively a reservist, serving part-time while simultaneously being engaged in a completely different, and non-military, career; and,
  • My retirement occurred by an orderly operation of law, coming as scheduled upon my reaching maximum time in grade rather than as the result of an abrupt relief by the Commander-in-Chief aiming to re-assert civilian control over the Armed Forces during a shooting war

Nonetheless, I feel I understand the sentiment so famously expressed by the General to such a wide and influential audience some 65 years ago this spring. After 28 years of service, I retired from the US Army Reserve on June 1st, drawing to a close something that was part of my life for a longer period of time than it was not.

Much like my year-long mobilizations in 2003-04 and 2013-14, the end of my time in the Army left me with a somewhat bewildering, but not at all uncommon, sense of doing one’s job to the very end, going full steam ahead, until suddenly, one day, the activity just stops. After completing my last annual training this past spring, a somewhat intense two-week stint during which I supported an multi-national command post exercise in Stockholm, Sweden toward the end of April, I flew back to the states on a Friday afternoon and promptly boarded another flight to my final weekend drill in Virginia the very same evening. Naturally, the Army being the Army, they saw fit to have me take a physical fitness test (situps/push-ups/2-mile run) and a random drug test on the Saturday, well, just because. (Actually, that was the month that unit does such things and the PT Test and weigh-in were in fact scheduled well in advance. The random drug test, for obvious reasons, however was not.) “Up in the morning with the rising sun ..” and “we do more before 9AM than some folks do all day”, and all those fine platitudes we soldiers like to spout about ourselves; it was an Army weekend much lake any other I have had through the years. Admittedly, it did take some restraint on my part to resist the temptation to think – “well, what are they going to do if I flunk, kick me out?” – as I grunted out those sit-ups and ran through the light rain, attempting to beat a clock and meet a standard. And so I did, passing my last fitness test. (I will admit to being one of those slugs whose reaction to the idea of exercise is to lie down until the feeling passes.) In its infinite wisdom, the Army also saw fit that weekend to run me (along with my fellow members of the unit) through soldier medical processing and pre-deployment readiness assessment, including a HIV test, cholesterol blood draw, and EKG, the latter two being for soldiers over 40. It was almost the reverse of my entry physical before basic training and in a weird way seemed like a fitting bookend to my career.

That last drill weekend, probably the 300th or so during my time in service, went by extremely quickly as we accomplished our myriad training objectives and I was dismissed from a formation for the last time. And then, poof, it was time to fly back to Boston and go to work the next day, a Monday like any other. No more flights down to Virginia for drill weekends, no emails, phone calls, and staff meetings between drill to coordinate and plan for an upcoming duty weekend, no more slightly nagging but justified concern of an unplanned (and at this point in my life probably unwelcome) recall to active duty with a year-long deployment over yonder. Just poof, soldier no more, thanks for your service LTC (ret) Hellauer. Best wishes and good luck.

For a variety of reasons, including the fact that the unit with which I drilled is 450 miles from where I work and live, and the fact that the person who most would care to have been there after my wife is my father, a retired US Air Force Reserve Colonel, who unfortunately happens to be in somewhat poor health and less able to travel as easily as he might like, I opted to not have a retirement ceremony during my last drill. While my brothers- and sisters-in-arms certainly wished me well and we said our goodbyes during that last drill weekend, my take is that a retirement ceremony (especially for a Reservist) is more a chance to thank those who have supported you along the way, primarily your family but also your employers and co-workers, and your friends. It is an appropriate time and place to recognize those to whom a soldier is indebted, those on whose shoulders (s)he stood and those whose hands provided a lift up; that is, it is a time to thank those without whom career success in the military is simply not possible. Not having Dad, or my wife and kids, or my work colleagues there really did not make having a ceremony in Virginia seem terribly worthwhile. So I didn’t, preferring instead to take solace in MacArthur’s quote and being somewhat content to simply fade from the scene.

However, and rather unexpectedly, my wife Amie and HMMH co-workers conspired so as to not let me completely fade away like the old soldier I have become and now am. Last month they arranged for a surprise ceremony at HMMH’s Burlington office where Amie, one of my daughters (Erin), and my local colleagues gathered one Thursday at the end of the day and presented me with a framed montage of pictures from my military career over the years while we enjoyed cake and adult beverages. Below are some excerpts of a note I sent them out the following day.

Thank you so much for the unexpected and very kind recognition of my retirement from the US Army Reserve.  It really is a milestone in my life and I still am somewhat in disbelief that something I have done for so long and which has at times been source of many varied and intense emotions – excitement, joy, fear, frustration, boredom but ultimately, satisfaction from being a part of something worthwhile that is also bigger than myself – has simply ended, much like flipping a switch.

Membership in the reserves does not work without the ongoing support of families, employers, and co-workers.  Twice in my 28-year career I have been mobilized (called to active duty) and taken a leave of absence from by civilian employer, once for 18 months with a previous employer and in 2013-2014 (a little under a year) with HMMH.  Both times were quite unexpected, disruptive to employers, and came on relatively short notice of around 30 days or so.  I am quite mindful that such time away from work, along with the more mundane (and frequent!) occurrences for drill weekends and annual military training for a couple of weeks at a time, often resulted in additional work for my colleagues to cover my absences and pick up the slack I temporarily left behind.   After all, whether I’m here or not the show must go on, clients must be served, and commitments made – not only to our external customers but also to ourselves, our firm and its stakeholders – must be honored.

 So since that page has turned and I’m not liable to be recalled into military service, I would be remiss if I did not take the occasion to thank my co-workers here and in the past and recognize the support they gave to me, without complaint.  The Pro Patria award HMMH won last year recognizes employers and supervisors.  But I also wanted to give a shout-out to my colleagues.  I vividly recall the an AICUZ project team working long hours on short deadlines during a time that Uncle Sam inconveniently decided that I should have a four-day drill during a workweek.  On another occasion, I also recall several of you helping HMMH respond to a sources-sought for a potential Federal client that happened to be released the night before I flew to Tajikistan last fall and was due the day I flew home two weeks later.  Over the course of my career there have been many such instances, more than I probably can remember, where my co-workers past and present stepped into the breach, held the line, and by strapping on additional duties that otherwise would have been mine, supported my career in the Army.  And for that I thank you.

After retiring and converting my health and life insurance from Tricare and SGLI to retiree equivalents, after having turned in my active Reservist ID card and gotten a Retiree one instead, and after letting my hair grow out a bit more (but not too long yet since I have less of it to work with than I did 28 years ago), I do find myself wondering how much of the Army will remain in me a year from now or when I turn 60 a decade from now. On the plus side, I am flying more and beginning work on my Flight Instructor certificate and having a great time exploring New England by air. I do still find myself wondering my fellow servicemen and women are up to, especially when the weekend rolls around although that too is starting to fade. In the end, soldiering is a young person’s vocation and those who follow in my footsteps are more than up to the task and frankly better in many respects. Looking back and reflecting upon my career taken as a whole, I still can maintain that I got more out of Uncle Sam than I gave in my time and toil.

I do promise, however, that my next blog post will not be about the Army. Like a commencement such as that my other daughter Mary just experienced when finishing her high school career, there is a world of wonder still yet to be experienced, a life after the Army. Being a (part-time) Soldier is something I did, not who I am or what defines me. Retirement from the Army Reserve opens up doors, particularly in my abiding passion of aviation, to opportunities that over the years I typically was too busy to engage in with any depth, despite my having been a pilot for nearly 30 years. To name but one, learning the nuances of IFR operations and the micro-climates found in the vicinity of the airports one finds in the Cape Approach, Boston TRACON, and Boston Center airspace is proving to be quite invigorating and led to a serendipitous discover of a wonderful restaurant in Worcester. Making new friends with the instructors, aircraft owners, fixed-base operator staffs, and controllers, the latter of whose acquaintance is more of a virtual one, gained and pieced together from aural snippets heard over my aircraft headsets while they issue clearances in typical, New England rapid-fire cadences and accents, helps replace in its own way the lost comradery I had with my fellow soldiers.