Posts Tagged ‘airport’

ACRP Releases HMMH-authored Report on Energy Projects and Airports and Airspace

Friday, April 25th, 2014

by Stephen Barrett

HMMH is pleased to inform clients and colleagues of the official release of Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Report 108 “Energy Technologies Compatibility with Airports and Airspace.” This report is the first in a series of ACRP Reports on energy and airports that are expected for release in the next year. The HMMH-authored report reviews the aviation industry’s experience with a variety of energy technologies including solar, wind, oil and gas drilling, and traditional electricity generation and transmission, and provides guidance for future projects to avoid impacts on airports and airspace. The report is timely given the country’s focus on domestic energy production to serve economic and national security interests and to diversify energy generation sources toward cleaner fuels, including renewables. The guidance will also help airports as they consider opportunities to lease out underutilized non-aeronautical property for energy production.

ACRP Report 108

Throwback Thursday (TBT): My First Noise Contours

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

by Mary Ellen Eagan

At the risk of mixing social media platforms (and incurring an eye roll from my teenage daughter), I’d like to announce a new blog series at HMMH:  Throwback Thursdays.

This idea was sparked as a result of the recent renovation of our Burlington headquarters, and the desire to preserve this collage that was prepared for the occasion of HMMH’s 10th Anniversary in 1991: 

HMMH-the early years1981-91

HMMH-the early years 1981-91

Our team has invested significant time scanning each of the photos in the collage, and my hope is that we can find something interesting to say about most of them (well, there are some NSFW things that won’t be shared).

My First Noise Contours

I thought I’d start off with a photo of my first noise contours.  As the date indicates, it was November 1984 (yes, I am that old); I was fresh from Cornell and a summer Internship with the Massport Planning Department; still wearing Birkenstocks and going to Grateful Dead shows (yes, I am that old).  Back in the day, this is what noise contour development looked like:

  • Operational Inputs were developed by typing ATC flight progress strips (see below) into a Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet on the company’s only computer – a Xerox (which looked something like this): 

 fl-strips-computer

 

  • Flight tracks were developed in one of two ways:  (a) interviewing the Control Tower manager, who would describe nominal controller instructions to pilots (e.g., Climb to 1000’, then turn on course”), or (2) someone (guess who?) would sit in front of a radar scope marking radar return dots on a piece of acetate – literally, dot-to-dot flight tracks.  These days, I just smile at folks who get worked up for only getting a 99% radar track sample to analyze.
FAA Radar scope, circa 1980s

FAA Radar scope, circa 1980s

 

  • Then the real fun began!  We typed the INM “input deck” (I’m a version 2.7 girl – we old-timers mark our age by first model used) into the computer (my colleagues will tell you about their experiences with punch cards, and submitted it to Control Data Corporation (CDC) over a dial-up modem for processing.  Each run cost several hundred dollars – we did a lot of QC before submitting!   Assuming all went well, we then got to DRIVE to Waltham (20 minutes without traffic) to talk to Manny and get the output – a green and white computer printout and (hopefully) a large plot with contours!
MEE’s First Contours:  Groton-New London, November 1984

MEE’s First Contours: Groton-New London, November 1984

Next up:  Zipatone and Field trips of the 1980s!

 

ACRP Report Released on Defining and Measuring Aircraft Delay and Airport Capacity Thresholds

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

ACRP104coverLast week, the Transportation Research Board’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) released Report 104: Defining and Measuring Aircraft Delay and Airport Capacity Thresholds. The ACRP report offers guidance to help airports understand, select, calculate, and report measures of delay and capacity. The report describes common metrics, identifies data sources, recommends metrics based on an airport’s needs, and suggests ways to potentially improve metrics.

Guidance and recommendations are provided regarding the relevance of particular delay and capacity measures by airport type, airport characteristics, and project lifecycle phase. The report suggests the most appropriate measurement tools at various points in the project development cycle, for specific items in each element, and for different types of airports. The report does recognize that it is not practical to have one threshold that can be applied to all airports.

The report includes additional metrics that would be helpful in the future, one of which is better communication of delays to the general public. The report summarizes that these communications should be easily understandable, able to be used as a common measure at any airport, and applied consistently across all airports. It was also noted that using a more positive metric, such as level of service, rather than using a term such as delay, which has a negative connotation, would better serve the public and the industry overall.

The research, led by TransSolutions of Fort Worth, TX, was conducted under ACRP Project 03-20. The other team members and primary authors of the report included Futterman Consulting of St. Petersburg, FL, Harris Miller Miller & Hanson Inc. of Herndon, VA, and Jasenka Rakas of Berkeley, CA.

Click here to view the report.

Congress Set to Pass Huge FY 2014 Omnibus Appropriations Bill

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Many thanks to TJ Schultz (new President of ACC) for eloquently (and quickly!) summarizing the FY14 Appropriations Bill that Congress will (we hope) shortly pass.  Could it be that we can have a reasonably normal year funding-wise?  Know hope.

ACC logo

The U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate are preparing to consider a huge 1,500+ page omnibus appropriations bill that provides funding for all federal agencies in FY 2014, including the FAA and TSA. The omnibus bill is a result of the budget agreement reached by the House and Senate in December, which set overall funding levels for each federal department in 2014 and 2015. The budget agreement removed the automatic sequester cuts, so federal programs will likely not be subject to rescissions this fiscal year or next.

With the current short-term continuing resolution (CR) expiring today, Congress will likely pass an extension bill for a few days to allow each chamber time to consider and pass the omnibus legislation.

Below are the highlights:

Federal Aviation Administration

Final FY 2014 Appropriations Funding Levels (in billions)

FY 2013 Enacted (post sequester)

 

FY 2014 Admin. Budget Request

FY 2014 House

FY 2014 Senate

FY 2014

Final

FAA Total

$15.266

$15.550

$15.171

$15.9

$15.634

  Operations

$9.4

$9.7

$9.5

$9.7

$9.651

  F&E

$2.6

$2.7

$2.15

$2.7

$2.6

  Research

$.158

$.166

$.145

$.160

$.158

  AIP

$3.09

$2.9

$3.35

$3.35

$3.35

Highlights:

  • Funds AIP at its authorized level of $3.35 billion in 2014. With the omnibus likely to pass by next week, the FAA should have more time to work with airport sponsors to distribute AIP funding over the remaining portion of the fiscal year, compared to last year when the FY 2013 appropriations and sequester became final in March.
  • The Operations account is funded at $9.65 billion, which is $255 million above the FY 2013 post-sequestration amount. A total of $140 million is set aside for the contract tower program.
  • Appropriators kept the FAA Facilities & Equipment account at the same post-sequestration FY 2013 funding level, which is $178 million less than the president’s budget request.
  • ACRP is funded at its authorized level of $15 million.
  • $149 million is appropriated for the Essential Air Service program. There is a provision prohibiting DOT from renewing an EAS contract with a community less than 40 miles from a hub airport unless a negotiated cost share with the community has been arranged.

It’s Not a Mirage – It’s a Solar Project at an Airport

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

by Steve Barrett

A little less than a year ago, I joined the HMMH team to provide clean energy services to existing clients and expand services in new areas.  Given HMMH’s long-standing and strong relationships in the aviation community, a key element of the plan was finding a way to marry aviation and energy; we thought the best prospects were in solar.  With solar technology expanding in markets throughout the world and public policy incentives increasing under the Obama Administration combined with Airports’ perfect blend of high electricity consumption and unobstructed southern exposures for capturing sunlight, our thinking seemed cogent.  But other than some knowledge of what Denver had done at the Airport’s entrance road at the Democratic Convention in 2008, we weren’t sure if we were seeing a clear future for solar at airports or just a mirage in the distance.

Now I am working with the FAA to write a Solar Guidance Document for Airports that, in part, reviews existing solar projects and provides lessons learned on what has made these projects successful and how they might be replicated by others.  Phil DeVita and I have had the opportunity to meet with five airports (with a sixth coming up) to touch the panels, hear them rotate, and meet the people who championed the projects and continue monitoring their progress.  We have collected information on siting decisions, economics, regulatory process, and operational experience.  We have gathered data to dispel myths and identified steps that were critical to success.  The paths taken have not been the same, but the results have been.  All projects have been an unequivocal success for the Airports providing cost-effective electricity and positive community relations while remaining compatible with the Airports fundamental mission. Here is a bit of what I saw (and heard).

Denver is the leader of the solar-airport movement with two projects built and operating, and a third under development.  Denver has all of the elements that make solar a “no-brainer”: cheap land, state solar incentives, a strong political commitment from the City, and lots of sun.  Each project has delivered cheaper and cheaper electricity while giving the airport deserved recognition as a leader in the field.  There is no reason Denver won’t continue to build solar projects over the next 10 years.  And despite the installation of almost 17,000 solar panels on airport property, there have been no complaints about glare.

 

Denver International Airport

Denver International Airport

The City of Albuquerque sits in the gold zone for solar energy and has taken a leadership position in the Southwest, including the installation of panels at the Airport.  Its first project, located on an existing car parking structure, is relatively small but it has recently received partial funding from the FAA to expand that system four-fold.  This project will put more panels on four more structures.  Without the land Denver has, the near-term goal at Albuquerque will be to fill up the remaining seven parking structures and generate a substantial amount of on-site electricity from the sun.

The Golden State has been the hub of the US solar industry and many of the major airports have seized the opportunity of sun and state incentives to build projects.

San Francisco International responded to a request sent out by the City to host solar panels.  It would be a good deal for the host – receive solar electricity for the cost of the typical customer rate paid for other electricity sources.  SFO had a new terminal with a flat roof-top tailored made for solar.  The location, being highly visible from the terminal train, also would demonstrate the Airport and City’s commitment to an alternative energy future.  With that project constructed in 2007, the City utility now wants to build a second project on the rental car parking facility and the initial design is underway with construction planned for the fall.

San Francisco International Airport

San Francisco International Airport

Anthony Kekeluwela, a veteran engineer with the Port of Oakland, started talking about a solar facility for the airport in 2005.  His approach was a bit different from the others – why not build solar along the Airports runways in lands that can’t be used for other purposes.  The logic made sense – solar is physically low in profile and can be placed close to Part 77 imaginary surfaces without physically impeding airspace.  He worked with a solar developer who leased the land, built the project, and sells electricity to the Airport.  Today it operates with minimal maintenance and maximum benefit.  And is a working example of a solar system built near a runway causing no impacts.

Oakland International Airport

Oakland International Airport

Fresno’s success story is just as remarkable.  It decided that the Runway Approach Zone, a large area subject to high noise levels from arriving and departing aircraft, was the perfect location for a large solar array.  Because no human occupied land uses could occur in the runway approach zone, airport personnel decided that solar panels would go there.  Fresno worked with the FAA to get the project approved.  Nearly two years after its construction, there have been zero complaints about its placement and Fresno would like to construct a second project.  By the way, the solar facility provides approximately 60% of the annual electricity demand of the airport.

While not all of these projects have been simple, the economic and public relations payback have been substantial.  And all of the airports that we spoke with said they would build another project if they could line up the same economic deal.  Because energy is a secondary purpose, most have not put the time in to construct a follow-on project.  Having this group of projects built and operating, does demonstrate solar at airports is more than a mirage – its good business.