National Academies Press: OpenBook

Guidebook on General Aviation Facility Planning (2014)

Chapter: Chapter 2 - General Aviation Overview

« Previous: Chapter 1 - Introduction
Page 4
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - General Aviation Overview." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Guidebook on General Aviation Facility Planning. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22300.
×
Page 4
Page 5
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - General Aviation Overview." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Guidebook on General Aviation Facility Planning. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22300.
×
Page 5
Page 6
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - General Aviation Overview." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Guidebook on General Aviation Facility Planning. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22300.
×
Page 6
Page 7
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - General Aviation Overview." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Guidebook on General Aviation Facility Planning. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22300.
×
Page 7
Page 8
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - General Aviation Overview." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Guidebook on General Aviation Facility Planning. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22300.
×
Page 8
Page 9
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - General Aviation Overview." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Guidebook on General Aviation Facility Planning. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22300.
×
Page 9
Page 10
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - General Aviation Overview." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Guidebook on General Aviation Facility Planning. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22300.
×
Page 10
Page 11
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - General Aviation Overview." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Guidebook on General Aviation Facility Planning. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22300.
×
Page 11
Page 12
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - General Aviation Overview." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Guidebook on General Aviation Facility Planning. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22300.
×
Page 12
Page 13
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - General Aviation Overview." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Guidebook on General Aviation Facility Planning. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22300.
×
Page 13
Page 14
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - General Aviation Overview." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Guidebook on General Aviation Facility Planning. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22300.
×
Page 14
Page 15
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - General Aviation Overview." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Guidebook on General Aviation Facility Planning. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22300.
×
Page 15
Page 16
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - General Aviation Overview." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Guidebook on General Aviation Facility Planning. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22300.
×
Page 16
Page 17
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - General Aviation Overview." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Guidebook on General Aviation Facility Planning. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22300.
×
Page 17
Page 18
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - General Aviation Overview." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Guidebook on General Aviation Facility Planning. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22300.
×
Page 18
Page 19
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - General Aviation Overview." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Guidebook on General Aviation Facility Planning. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22300.
×
Page 19
Page 20
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - General Aviation Overview." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Guidebook on General Aviation Facility Planning. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22300.
×
Page 20
Page 21
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - General Aviation Overview." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Guidebook on General Aviation Facility Planning. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22300.
×
Page 21
Page 22
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - General Aviation Overview." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Guidebook on General Aviation Facility Planning. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22300.
×
Page 22

Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

4C H A P T E R 2 To plan for GA facilities at airports, it is important to have a basic understanding of what GA is and the various factors that need to be accounted for when planning long term for these types of operations. Put simply, GA consists of all operations not considered commercial service (i.e., airlines) or military. GA operations can occur at airports of all sizes and types, including commercial service airports, GA airports, and military joint-use airports. Per the FAA, three out of every four takeoffs and landings in the United States are conducted by GA aircraft. Therefore, sound planning of GA facilities is critical to the continued operation of the national aviation system. Many factors affect GA facility planning, including • The type of GA activity • Aircraft types • Airport classifications • Facility and service needs/requirements These factors are discussed in greater detail in the following sections. This chapter presents the types of GA operations and activities that may take place at an air- port, the types of GA aircraft and their impact on facility requirements, and the classification of airports that support GA at the federal level. GA Operation Types GA operations are considered to be those aircraft operations not conducted by a commercial air- line or the military. Various activities are included under GA operations, as shown in Exhibit 2-1. Each type is discussed on the following pages—this is not an extensive categorization of GA opera- tions, but a general organization of operations into a few main types: • Business Operations: Many businesses use GA aircraft to transport both goods and people. These companies understand the value of general aviation and the time savings that it can offer in comparison to commercial service aviation or ground transportation. With on-demand access, no security screening, and the ability to fly virtually anywhere (usually point-to-point), travel time becomes a fraction of what it would be otherwise. Companies and staff appreciate the time and cost savings that result. Business-related operations are often conducted using corporate aircraft and pilots, although many operations are conducted through aircraft char- ter services that offer aircraft and pilots for hire. • Recreational Operations: Many GA operations are considered recreational (e.g., when pilots use aircraft for flights associated with tourism, airplane rides at air shows, and general trans- portation between locations that is not for hire). General Aviation—Overview

General Aviation—Overview 5 • Training Operations: Flight training operations, whether for personal pleasure or for career development, can be classified in this category. Flight training operations may be associated with a well-established flight program (e.g., Western Michigan University, University of North Dakota, and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University) where students are often training to become commercial airline pilots. Other training operations may be associated with a one or two-person managed local flight school, where students are learning how to fly for fun. Train- ing operations make up many aircraft operations at airports throughout the country. • Special Operations: Operations considered special include, but are not limited to, those con- ducted for research, surveillance, agricultural spraying, emergency response, remote access, fire suppression, and law enforcement. Numerous entities (e.g., federal and state agencies, universities, and hospitals) rely on GA to carry out their missions. GA Aircraft Types GA operations are conducted using various aircraft—from large corporate jets to small, single-engine aircraft. This wide variation in aircraft types can make planning efforts for GA facilities challenging because the needs of smaller aircraft differ from those of larger aircraft. Examples of GA aircraft are provided in Exhibit 2-2. In addition to typical aircraft types, specialized aircraft are often used for GA operations. See Exhibit 2-3 for examples of specialized aircraft such as crop spraying planes, amphibious planes (those that can operate on land and on water), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) such as drones, and aircraft used for fire suppression. The types of aircraft operating at an airport affect its facility and service needs and require- ments. The FAA, through Advisory Circular (AC) 150/5300-13A Airport Design, has established specific design criteria based on what aircraft is considered to be the critical aircraft or design aircraft. This aircraft is defined as the most demanding aircraft (or group of aircraft) that makes at least 500 annual operations at an airport. The design aircraft is defined using two coding sys- tems established by the FAA—the Aircraft Approach Category (AAC) and the Airplane Design Group (ADG): • Aircraft Approach Category (AAC) is designated by a letter (A-E). This component relates to the operational characteristic of aircraft approach speed, with “A” being the slowest and “E” being the fastest. • Airplane Design Group (ADG) is designated by a Roman numeral (I-VI), related to the physi- cal characteristics of airplane wingspan or tail height, with “I” being the smallest and “VI” being the largest. Together, the AAC and the ADG of the design aircraft make up the Airport Reference Code (ARC) of an airport. The ARC signifies the airport’s highest Runway Design Code (RDC) and Exhibit 2-1. Types of GA operations. Source: www.istockphoto.com GA Operaons Business Operaons Recreaonal Operaons Training Operaons Special Operaons

Large Business Jet Single-engine Piston Aircraft Source: www.istockphoto.com Source: www.istockphoto.com Twin-engine Piston Aircraft Medium-sized Business Jet Source: www.istockphoto.com Source: www.istockphoto.com Exhibit 2-2. Examples of typical aircraft types. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Source: www.istockphoto.com Source: www.istockphoto.com Fire Suppression Aircraft Source: www.istockphoto.com Source: www.istockphoto.com Crop Sprayer Amphibious Aircraft Exhibit 2-3. Examples of specialized aircraft.

General Aviation—Overview 7 is used for planning and design of the airport’s facilities. Exhibit 2-4 outlines the components of the ARC. The ARC corresponds to a specific set of design criteria that regulate the size and strength of pavements, separation requirements, safety areas, and more. Airports that serve commercial airline traffic and/or larger GA jet aircraft are likely to have a higher ARC than those that serve smaller single- and multi-engine GA aircraft. Although airport runways and taxiways are generally planned based on the ARC, specific facilities (e.g., aprons and hangars) may be planned and designed based on the actual aircraft to use them. For example, an airport may serve large corporate jets, where runways and aprons may be designed for these larger aircraft; however, the airport will typically plan hangars for smaller single-engine piston aircraft, given that those are usually the based aircraft. If larger aircraft are planned for at the airport, they are usually concentrated in an area where the larger design standards can be met. Airport Types GA activities occur at both commercial service and GA airports, with planning at multiple levels, including local, state, and federal. An important component of airport planning includes classifying airports into different categories or types. This effort provides organization and a foundation for long-term planning. Although the classification of airports happens at multiple levels, this Guidebook focuses on the federal classifications only. States and local municipal bodies often have alternate classification criteria/definitions which may differ by location; therefore, discussing GA facilities from the federal classification system provides a common platform for the facility needs discussion in this Guidebook. There are two sets of airport classifications at the federal level: one for the FAA’s National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS) which includes both commercial service and GA airports, and another for GA airports specifically as a part of the FAA’s General Aviation Airports: A National Asset Study (ASSET). The NPIAS has been in place since the 1940s in accordance with Source: FAA AC 150/5300-13A, Airport Design FAA AIRPORT REFERENCE CODES Aircraft Approach Category Category A: Speed less than 91 knots Category B: Speed 91 knots or more but less than 121 knots. Category C: Speed 121 knots or more but less than 141 knots. Category D: Speed 141 knots or more but less than 166 knots. Category E: Aircraft approach speed 166 knots or more. Airplane Design Group Group I: Wingspan up to but not including 49 feet. Group II: Wingspan 49 feet up to but not including 79 feet. Group III: Wingspan 79 feet up to but not including 118 feet. Group IV: Wingspan 118 feet up to but not including 171 feet. Group V: Wingspan 171 feet up to but not including 214 feet. Group VI: Wingspan greater than 214 feet. Exhibit 2-4. FAA Airport Reference Codes.

8 Guidebook on General Aviation Facility Planning Section 47103 of Title 49 of the United States Code. This program identifies airports significant to the national air transportation system and therefore eligible to receive funding grants for planning and development under the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program (AIP). The NPIAS encompassed 3,355 airports as of the year 2013, including both commercial service airports and GA airports. Classifications of airports within the NPIAS are indicated in Exhibit 2-5. Of the airports classified in the NPIAS, 2,831 are GA (including reliever airports). This number changes as the system expands or contracts. For an airport to be included in the NPIAS, it has to meet several basic criteria including • Having at least ten based aircraft • Being at least 20 miles from the nearest NPIAS airport • Being included in a state system plan • Having a willing local sponsor that is a public entity The federal airport classification system/study (ASSET) looks at the roles of GA airports in the NPIAS exclusively and categorizes them into one of four types. This report helps structure the long-term planning of GA facilities, especially for state transportation departments that have incorporated the newly defined airport types/roles into their own state classification systems. The ASSET study establishes four classifications of GA airports which are for all airports other than those considered to be primary airports. These classifications are as follows: • National—“Supports the national and state system by providing communities with access to national and international markets in multiple states and throughout the United States.” • Regional—“Supports regional economies by connecting communities to statewide and inter- state markets.” Source: Report to Congress – National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS) 2013-2017 3,355 NPIAS Airports 3,330 Exisng 378 Primary 121 Nonprimary Commercial Service 268 Reliever 2,563 General Aviaon 25 Proposed 2 Primary 4 Nonprimary Commercial Service 0 Reliever 19 General Aviaon Exhibit 2-5. NPIAS airports.

General Aviation—Overview 9 • Local—“Supplements local communities by providing access primarily to intrastate and some interstate markets.” • Basic—“Supports GA activities such as emergency service, charter or critical passenger ser- vice, cargo operations, flight training, and personal flying.” Each classification has different criteria that a GA airport must meet to be included. Exhibit 2-6 presents s the criteria for each classification. In terms of planning for GA facilities, these criteria are often referenced when determining the level of use and types of users that an airport either serves or is anticipated to serve. These criteria can be a good indicator of the types of infrastructure that may be warranted or needed at a GA facility. Exhibit 2-7 illustrates sample airports for each of the four ASSET categories. Although the classification criteria do not include any infrastructure-based requirements, noticeable dif- ferences between basic, local, regional, and national airports can be seen (e.g., the size of aprons and terminal facilities, number of hangars, and presence of support facilities). GA facility and service requirements vary depending on the types of aircraft and the number of operations conducted at an airport. For example, smaller airports that serve mostly single- engine GA aircraft may have shorter runway length needs, smaller aircraft storage facilities, and limited services available. Larger airports that serve mostly commercial aircraft and/or GA cor- porate aircraft, including jets, may have longer runway length requirements, provide additional services (e.g., 24-hour staff, fueling, training, and maintenance), have increased size and quan- tity of aircraft storage facilities, and have more precise navigational aids. Specific FAA design requirements are determined by the critical aircraft operating at an airport. Specific services and infrastructure that may be needed and/or provided for GA users are discussed below. GA Services and Facilities on an Airport GA aircraft require a wide array of services and facilities, often depending on aircraft, climate, and frequency and type of operation. Some of these services and facilities are provided by the airport owner; some are provided by private entities such as FBOs depending on the opera- tional model used by an airport owner. In some instances, specialized aviation service operators National Regional Local Basic 5,000+ instrument operations, 11+ based jets, 20+ international flights, or 500+ interstate departures; or 10,000+ enplanements and at least one charter enplanement by a large certificated air carrier, or 500+ million pounds of landed cargo weight Metropolitan Statistical Area (Metro or Micro) and 10+ domestic flights over 500 miles, 1,000+ instrument operations, 1+ based jet, or 100+ based aircraft; or The airport is in a metropolitan or micropolitan statistical area, and the airport meets the definition of commercial service 10+ instrument operations and 15+ based aircraft; or 2,500+ passenger enplanements 10+ based aircraft; or 4+ based helicopters; or The airport is 30+ miles from the nearest NPIAS airport; or The airport is identified and used by the U.S. Forest Service, or U.S. Marshals, or U.S. Customs and Border Protection (designated, international, or landing rights), or U.S. Postal Service (air stops), or has Essential Air Service; or The airport is a new or replacement facility activated after January 1, 2001 or Publicly owned or privately owned and designated as a reliever with a minimum of 90 based aircraft Source: FAA General Aviation Airports: A National Asset, 2012. Exhibit 2-6. Types of airports.

10 Guidebook on General Aviation Facility Planning (SASOs) can provide these services as well. An FBO is a service provider that offers a multitude of activities at an airport (e.g., fueling, parking, storage, maintenance, rental, and flight training). Usually, an FBO must perform more than one of these sorts of activities to be considered an FBO. If a service provider only has a single activity, they are usually considered a SASO and they typically offer a specialized aeronautical service (e.g., aircraft sales, flight training, and aircraft maintenance or avionics services). Aircraft Services Providing amenities and services allows airports to serve a wide user base and multiple types of GA operations. The provision of these services should be appropriate to the airport size and the types and number of operations it supports. Each airport owner must assess the specific Source: FAA General Aviation Airports: A National Asset, 2012. Local Airports Basic Airports National Airports Examples of General Aviation Airports in the Four New Categories Regional Airports Exhibit 2-7. Sample ASSET category airports.

General Aviation—Overview 11 needs of its individual location. No two airports are alike and, therefore, require individual plan- ning to meet site-specific needs. Aircraft Parking Aircraft parking is typically provided through an FBO or the airport staff. This service is important for aircraft based at an airport, as well as any itinerant aircraft not based at an airport but traveling to the area. Adequate area to accommodate the predominant size and number of aircraft that frequent the apron area for parking is necessary. Area for maneuvering aircraft must also be considered when planning for the aircraft parking area. A detriment for aircraft parked on an apron is that they are exposed to weather and other environmental factors, whereas aircraft parked inside a hangar are protected from these impacts. A fee is usually assessed for parking service and is often charged in one of two methods. A landing fee may be charged when an aircraft lands at an airport but does not necessarily park or stay for an extended period of time. A tie-down or parking fee is assessed where an aircraft is charged for parking on the apron or ramp area for a period of time. The length of time can vary, as well as the fee, based on indi- vidual airport policies. Aircraft Storage Aircraft storage can take many forms and includes enclosed structures such as hangars that provide protection from weather and other environmental factors (e.g., wildlife and debris). Often, aircraft owners want covered storage for their aircraft to preserve the condition of their investment and to reduce repair and maintenance costs. Aircraft storage needs vary from one airport to another based on the types and sizes of based aircraft and airport user needs. The need for aircraft security also influences the type of storage that an airport provides. Airports have many methods to provide aircraft storage (e.g., airport owner leases of aircraft storage space, private owners subletting hangar facilities on leased airport-owned property, and single-owner private developments). Airports have to evaluate the revenue available to provide airport-owned aircraft storage versus leasing airport property for private development. Sound lease agreements ensure adequate maintenance of privately owned facilities. Fueling Services The provision of fueling services at an airport is critical for attracting and maintaining a based user group and for attracting itinerant aircraft to an airport. Similar to aircraft parking, this service is often performed by the staff of an FBO, but can be provided by airport staff if the airport has its own fuel facilities. Two fuel types are typically offered—100 low lead (LL) and Jet A. Their costs fluctuate based on the market, the same way that automobile gasoline prices fluctuate. With continued improvements in technology, such as the installation of credit card readers, many airports now offer 24/7 self-fueling options which has made providing fueling easier and more efficient. Aircraft Maintenance Aircraft maintenance and repair services are vital to keep aircraft airworthy for operation. Whether it be a minor repair or a major overhaul of aircraft engines, maintenance and repair services at airports support the continued operation of aircraft. Providing aircraft maintenance can be an attractant for aircraft, because pilots often like to be based at an airport where they know they can be afforded maintenance services should they need them. These services are usu- ally provided by an FBO or a SASO that establishes a business at an airport to provide them. Aircraft Rental The availability of rental aircraft at airports supports pilots who do not own their own air- craft, as well as students who are learning to become pilots. Given that aircraft are costly to

12 Guidebook on General Aviation Facility Planning purchase, the option of renting aircraft provides an alternative for pilots to access the air trans- portation system without having to own their own aircraft. Furthermore, students in flight school need to have access to rental aircraft for training. In most instances, rental aircraft are provided by an FBO or a SASO for either rental purposes or as part of a flight training opera- tion. Rates, types of aircraft, and rental policies vary greatly by location and need to be assessed on a site-by-site basis. Flight Services Similar to the discussion of rental aircraft, flight services are most often provided by an FBO or SASO and vary depending on the specific aircraft and demand demonstrated within a specific community. While one community may only be able to offer limited training opportunities, another may offer a robust training operation as well as charter activities with a wide range of aircraft. Training. Offering flight instruction at airports often contributes to the growth of the aviation community by educating the next generation of pilots, both recreational and pro- fessional. Flight instruction, if available, is typically based at an airport or available on an on-call basis. Charter. Charter service is often used by businesses and individuals who need an efficient method of air transportation without using commercial service. The availability of charter ser- vice provides on-demand service for passengers and cargo. Aircraft Washing Aircraft washing at an airport is typically the responsibility of the aircraft owner and most often is completed using a high-pressure hose near an apron. Aircraft wash racks for GA aircraft may be available for use at larger airports that serve a more robust user base; however, such racks are fairly uncommon because they can be costly to develop. An important concern for aircraft washing is local and state regulations that may be in place for treating the water runoff gener- ated by the washing activities. For example, the use of detergents or cleaning agents harmful to the environment may need to be contained and, therefore, require defined locations for use or containment facilities. Ground Services Ground services include activities often focused on the pilot and passenger experience (e.g., flight planning activities, ground transportation, and catering/vending). Waiting Areas When passengers and pilots arrive from flights or prepare for departure, they often need wait- ing areas and restrooms. Such areas can also serve those waiting to pick up or drop off passen- gers. These areas can range from small one- or two-chair areas with minimal amenities to larger areas with couches, televisions, and workstations. Again, each airport must assess the needs of its users to determine what is most appropriate to offer. Ground Transportation Often the final destination for passengers is not the airport itself; therefore, providing vehicular transportation services is critical for users to reach their destinations. Ground transportation can be provided through methods such as a rental car service, the availability of a courtesy car which can be used temporarily, and even local mass transit (e.g., bus ser- vices or dial-a-ride services). Individual airport owners as well as FBOs often have to assess

General Aviation—Overview 13 the level of demand and the benefits of providing these services compared to their cost and liability. Vending/Catering Much like a train station or a bus depot, when passengers enter or exit an aircraft from a trip to or from the airport, they often want access to food or beverages. Many airports accommodate this demand by having vending machines to dispense canned beverages and packaged snacks. At airports with frequent corporate or charter activities, there may be a demand to have established catering services or even a restaurant to meet food and beverage needs. Pilot Services The needs of a pilot extend beyond the physical needs of the aircraft and usually require spaces within the terminal/administration building and/or FBO facility. These needs often include a lounge area where pilots can be separated from the general public areas of the building so they can rest and relax in between flights. This is usually a very important element at airports where corporate pilots are frequently waiting for passengers for an extended period of time. Also, there is usually a need for flight planning facilities, where pilots have access to a computer than can be used to obtain weather briefings and to file flight plans prior to departure. Airport Operations Services Operating an airport requires certain activities related to keeping the airport open and well maintained. These activities require the use and storage of equipment. Grass Mowing Given that most airports have large expanses of areas covered by vegetation, mowing equip- ment is usually needed. Such equipment requires dedicated storage areas for the mowers and trac- tors. This is only relevant to those airport owners or FBOs who may handle these duties—some airports contract such services to private vendors or have other municipal departments that can accomplish these tasks. In these instances, there may be no need for storage facilities. Some air- ports lease grassy areas to local farmers who benefit from the grass crop while the airport receives free mowing and maybe some revenue. Snow Removal Airports in colder climates need to address snow removal to keep runways open during winter months. Typical winter weather in many states can produce varying amounts of snow; there- fore, snow removal is important for the safe operation of both local and itinerant flights. Snow removal is achieved by using snow removal equipment (SRE) such as plows, brooms, and blow- ers. Snow removal can be accomplished in various ways—by airport owners, FBOs, or private vendors. How snow is removed will determine if an airport needs to have dedicated facilities and equipment to accomplish it. This should be kept in mind when evaluating facility needs for SRE. Also, finding places in a busy constrained terminal area for storage and disposal of plowed snow needs to be considered when planning such GA facilities. Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) Although ARFF services are not required at non-certificated airports, some GA airports may choose to have ARFF services because they find it advantageous. For aircraft operators, the pres- ence of ARFF services may reduce insurance rates; for the airport, the presence of ARFF facilities increases the safety margin of the airport. ARFF services can often be expensive for a GA airport, given the cost for the equipment and staffing and related training. ARFF should be positioned with access to the airfield.

14 Guidebook on General Aviation Facility Planning GA Facilities A wide array of infrastructure may be needed or required at an airport supporting GA opera- tions. Although this Guidebook focuses on GA facilities, it is important to address general air- field infrastructure as well, so as to ensure a basic knowledge of the airfield and how it relates to GA facility planning. Chapter 4 provides more detail, including the relationship between GA facilities and airfield infrastructure. General airfield infrastructure (e.g., runways, taxiways, and navigational aids) are discussed in this section. Runways The FAA defines runways as rectangular surfaces on an airport prepared or suitable for the landing or takeoff of airplanes. Runway lengths and widths vary based on the performance criteria of the critical aircraft which use them, as well as the design criteria defined in FAA AC 150/5300-13A, Airport Design. Characteristics of runways can differ from one airport to the next, including the orientation and type of surface, along with the length and width of the surface. Criteria that should be considered when siting a runway include critical aircraft demand, wind coverage, and proximity to existing runways, taxiways, and built areas (e.g., hangar and terminal areas). Approach clearances to meet the instrument flight procedure minimums for the specific runway ends must also be assessed. Airports that have more than one runway, especially if runways are oriented in different direc- tions, are often said to have a primary runway and a crosswind runway. Usually the longer of the two runways is oriented to provide the maximum wind coverage at an airport and is considered to be the primary runway. The other runway, usually a shorter runway, if oriented to provide additional wind coverage from a direction other than that predominately served by the primary runway, is called the crosswind runway. Airports are not required to have multiple runways but often do. Where there are significant operations, an airport may even have parallel runways (i.e., two runways oriented in the same direction, offset by various widths based on FAA criteria to provide for additional operations). Taxiways The FAA defines taxiways as pavements established for the taxiing of aircraft from one part of an airport to another. Similar to runways, taxiways are also designed based on the ARC of the critical aircraft which uses an airport, along with design criteria set forth in FAA AC 150/5300- 13A, Airport Design, which includes specific criteria defined by Taxiway Design Groups (TDGs). Taxiways are used by aircraft to enter and exit a runway, as well as to reach terminal or apron areas for parking, which minimizes the time that aircraft are on a runway. Taxiways are developed at airports to support the needs of the airport users. A full paral- lel taxiway extends parallel to the entire length of the primary runway. Having this surface, with connectors to the runway so aircraft can enter/exit the runway quickly, minimizes the time an aircraft occupies a runway when preparing for takeoff or on landing, creating a safer operating environment. Partial parallel taxiways typically extend from a ramp or terminal area to one runway end. A third type of taxiway is a connector taxiway which typically provides direct access to a runway at an airport without a parallel taxiway. A fourth type of taxiway is taxilanes which are the secondary routes serving aircraft movement in and around hangars and tie-downs. Aprons Aprons or aircraft ramps are designated surfaces typically adjacent to terminal buildings, maintenance hangars, air cargo facilities, and aircraft hangars that provide areas for aircraft

General Aviation—Overview 15 parking, loading and unloading, fueling, and servicing. Apron areas typically vary in size and location based on • The level and nature of demand; • Type and size of aircraft intended to use the surface; • Access, handling, and user requirements; • FAA design standards; and • Aircraft maneuvering needs. Exhibit 2-8 shows an apron area with multiple tie-down locations during a special event. Aprons that support a terminal building or an FBO facility may have more requirements than aprons dedicated to general hangars or tie-down area. Maneuvering areas and the designation of taxiways versus taxilanes through or around apron areas can affect the amount of area available for aircraft parking and should be considered when evaluating layouts and sizing. Chapters 4 and 5 discuss the planning of aircraft aprons in detail. Hangars (Conventional and T-Hangars) Two primary types of hangars are constructed at airports serving GA aircraft—conventional and t-hangars. Although these facilities have common elements, nuances need to be considered with each. Conventional. Conventional hangars, commonly known as box hangars, have been given their name based on their square/rectangular shape. These hangars vary in size from large cor- porate style with plenty of square footage to store multiple larger jet aircraft, down to smaller hangars intended to store a single multi-engine or single-engine aircraft (shown in Exhibit 2-9). Such hangars are often designed to provide for both automobile parking and aircraft parking in addition to the building itself. The parking lot should generally be sized to accommodate the use planned for the hangar. For example, larger corporate box hangars can house corporate flight departments with a significant number of passengers who need to park their cars near the hangar, while smaller privately owned box hangars may be able to park a car inside the hangar while the aircraft is being flown. The amount of apron area or approach to the hangar can also vary based on several factors. The primary consideration is the access in front of the hangar. If a hangar is accessing a taxiway or taxilane/taxistreet that services other hangars, it is often a good Exhibit 2-8. Apron tie-downs. Location: Sheboygan County Memorial Airport – Sheboygan Falls, WI Source: Mead & Hunt, Inc.

16 Guidebook on General Aviation Facility Planning idea to plan for an apron in front of the hangar that would allow the anticipated aircraft to sit in front of the hangar, on the apron, without obstructing the taxi area. This allows the aircraft to have room to be fueled, tugged into the hangar, loaded, and so forth, in front of the hangar without blocking other aircraft using the taxiway/taxilane. If the hangar opens onto an apron area, these same sorts of considerations should be given to the areas for maneuvering aircraft as well as parked aircraft. T-Hangar. A t-hangar is a rectangular shaped building split into numerous sections, often in the shape of a “T” that store multiple smaller aircraft. Typically, doors on both sides of the structure provide access for each owner/lessee to their aircraft and their section of the hangar. This type of hangar can vary in length, depending on how many units are inside (typically, five to ten units) and the size of each unit based on the wing span and associated door width provided. Such hangars are typically laid out so as to have multiple buildings in a single area so that the taxilanes that serve the buildings can be maximized with access to the taxilanes from both sides. Exhibit 2-10 illustrates two types of t-hangars—nested and block style. These hangars, like the conventional style, need to have approaches or aprons for access from the taxiway/taxilane. Con- sideration should be given as to the size of these areas to allow for ingress and egress by others Nested T-Hangar Layout Source: Mead & Hunt, Inc. Block Style T-Hangar Layout Exhibit 2-10. T-Hangar layouts. Exhibit 2-9. Conventional (box) hangar layouts. Source: Mead & Hunt, Inc.

General Aviation—Overview 17 when taxiing. In some instances, especially where snow removal is a consideration, airports often create a hard surface area from the face of one t-hangar to another to create a continuous hard surface that is easier to maintain than a layout where each unit has an individual approach to the hangar door with grass areas between the approaches. Such areas can complicate snow removal and increase mowing requirements between the paved areas. The eligibility of these additional paved areas should be discussed with the FAA prior to construction if using federal funds. Given that these types of hangars are often the home to smaller aircraft and many of the pilot automo- biles are often stored inside the hangars when the aircraft are being flown, a small common-use automobile parking area may be appropriate. Fueling Facilities The availability of fuel is a major factor when aircraft owners decide where to base aircraft. It is also important to serve itinerant user fuel needs as well. Fueling facilities are commonly found at airports of all sizes, and typically include at least two fuel tanks (underground or aboveground) for 100 low lead (100LL) and Jet A fuels. Larger airports will likely have more than two tanks and may even have offsite fuel storage. Airports have various ways to dispense the fuel from these tanks. Some airports use fuel trucks, either parked on an apron area or in a hangar area, to transport the fuel to the aircraft. Often, fueling can take place at dedicated pump areas with an airport staff member or an FBO staff member pumping the fuel into the aircraft. Sometimes fuel can be pumped by the pilot through the use of a credit card reader for self-fueling. When these self-fueling options are available, they often provide 24/7 service that is attractive to pilots who may need access to the fuel services after normal business hours. The siting of the fuel facilities should consider the apron area available for both parking and maneuvering to and from the fuel tank area. Siting decisions should also consider the access to the fuel area by the distribution trucks that need to drive near the tanks for filling purposes. The specific local and state regulations for fuel storage and containment also must be addressed. Heliport and Helicopter Parking Pad Heliports and helicopter parking pads are designed specifically for rotary aircraft opera- tions. The design standards for heliports and associated infrastructure are included in FAA AC 150/5390-2C, Heliport Design. The size of the touchdown and liftoff area (TLOF) is based on the rotor diameter of the design helicopter and is square in shape. The design of a heliport has specific criteria that include ground-based standards as well as approach and departure areas. A helicopter parking pad is similar to an apron used for parking fixed-wing aircraft. The size of the apron depends on the number and size of specific helicopters to be accommodated. If the heliport or helipad is expected to serve emergency service or medical uses, it is important to plan access for vehicles such as ambulances between the airfield areas and the vehicular park- ing areas. Airfield Lighting, Signage, and Navigational Aids Lighting, signage, and navigational aids on an airport increase the utility of an airfield by increasing visibility and enhancing safety. Lighting is typically focused on the runway and taxi- way surfaces and is usually paired with appropriate airfield signage. Navigational aid use can range from airport to airport, depending on the level of use and the types of aircraft instrument approaches. Often, instead of leaving the lighting, signage, and navigational aids on for extended periods and drawing electricity, systems are controlled via radio transmission, usually called a pilot- controlled lighting system. Using the radios found inside the cockpit of an aircraft, the pilot-in- command can activate the lighting system when necessary. Many airports operate their lighting infrastructure with this type of system.

18 Guidebook on General Aviation Facility Planning Runway Lighting. Runway lighting defines the edges of a runway surface during nighttime and low-visibility conditions and provides a visual cue to pilots of the runway distance remain- ing. Runway lighting is classified into three types based on illumination intensity: • High-Intensity Runway Lighting (HIRL), • Medium-Intensity Runway Lighting (MIRL), and • Low-Intensity Runway Lighting (LIRL). Taxiway Lighting. Similar to runway lighting, taxiway lighting outlines the edges of the taxiway surfaces to help pilots identify the locations of taxiways during times of reduced vis- ibility and at nighttime. Taxiway lighting is classified in the same way as runway lighting— High-Intensity Taxiway Lighting (HITL), Medium-Intensity Taxiway Lighting (MITL), and Low-Intensity Taxiway Lighting (LITL). Signage. Signage on the airfield is used to identify the location of • Runway/runway intersections; • Taxiway/taxiway intersections; • Runway and taxiway designations; • Runway ends; • Hold lines; and • Directional information to facilities such as terminals and FBOs. As with the lighting, the specifics for the design and installation of signage features need to follow the FAA criteria as outlined in various FAA ACs. Signage location, number, and type are based on the type of runway and the associated instrument approaches present at an individual airport. Navigational Aids. Navigational Aids (NAVAIDs) are ground-based equipment at an air- port that helps pilots identify the location of an airport, the location of a runway threshold, and the proper slope of descent on approach for landing. NAVAID equipment includes lighting systems, radio transmitters, and visual devices. Visual Guidance Slope Indicator (VGSI). A VGSI is a lighting system at the approach end of a runway that assists pilots in determining the correct glide path on approach for landing at an airport. VGSIs include a series of angled red and white colored lights that compose different lighting patterns to indicate the angle of approach for a pilot when locating the proper glide path. Visual Approach Slope Indicators (VASI) and Precision Approach Path Indicators (PAPI) are the most common VGSI systems. Even though a VGSI is a ground-based NAVAID usually close to the runway environment, there are height issues related to the clearance of the approach path that an aircraft will fly when using the VGSI that must be accounted for when planning, designing, and implementing this system. Runway End Identifier Lights (REILs). REILs are a system of synchronized, high-intensity, flashing lights at the end of a runway end to provide a positive indication of the runway threshold for a pilot. These lights are especially helpful for pilots operating in times of decreased visibility or in urban environments with an abundance of additional lighting nearby. The installation of REILs can require additional land acquisition near the runway end where they are located because the strobe lights used in the REILs can create a visual impact to land uses near the runway end. Rotating Beacons. Rotating beacons are lights that rotate 360 degrees and identify the loca- tion and type of airport. Airports open for civilian use have beacons that alternate one green flash followed by one white flash. Beacons at military airports flash green followed by two white flashes. Rotating beacons help pilots identify the location of an airport or airports when en route

General Aviation—Overview 19 to a destination. Because beacons are normally the tallest feature on an airport, the siting of a beacon should take into account the allowable heights based on Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) Part 77 Surfaces as well as possible impacts to surrounding off-airport land uses. Approach Lighting Systems. Approach lighting systems contribute to airport utility by pro- viding additional navigational guidance. These systems vary depending on the type of airport, the type of approach, and the type of equipment installed to support the approach. These systems typically require that additional areas be dedicated for safety areas around the lighting equipment. Wind Indicators. Wind indicators are conical fabric tubes that indicate wind direction and intensity as they fill with air in windy conditions. This NAVAID is typically near runway ends because they provide pilots with important wind information used to make course adjustments, if needed, prior to landing or after takeoff. Often these wind indicators are lighted, which allows them to be used by pilots in times of reduced visibility or at nighttime. Remote Communication Outlets (RCOs). RCOs are radio receiver equipment that allow pilots to contact Flight Service Stations (FSS) for weather and flight planning information. This communication equipment is especially useful for pilots in areas that experience radio interfer- ence from environmental conditions or other radio transmissions and for airports outside the normal radio range needed to make contact with an FSS. Terminal and/or Administrative Building, Including FBO Buildings Terminal buildings provide essential services for passengers and pilots, as well as a facility for the transfer of passengers and flight crews to and from the aircraft. Terminal facilities range in size based on several factors, most important being the type of airport users. Buildings can range from a small pilot room for flight planning and resting to a large multi-room building that provides services for multiple uses. A terminal building or administrative building often provides the first impression of a community to visitors so it is important for a terminal building to be welcoming and provide a positive experience for the visitor. Often, the terminal building is a multi-purpose structure that also houses the functions of the FBO, particularly in many smaller GA airport settings. Conversely, an FBO building can often serve as the terminal build- ing. Access to public facilities 24/7 from both sides of the fence is desirable. Specific uses for a terminal building include • Waiting areas • Restrooms • Pilot lounges (including showers and sleeping accommodations) • Vending • Pilot planning areas (including access to a computer for weather and flight planning) • Conference rooms • FBO areas • Airport manager offices If standalone FBO facilities are constructed, they often have facilities very similar to a terminal building (e.g., pilot areas where pilots can rest, eat, and prepare for their next flight). These areas may include couches, chairs, TVs, computers, printers, desks, and/or kitchen areas. In addition to providing amenities for pilots, FBOs may have maintenance departments housed in a separate building or hangar. The size and shape of these buildings vary from airport to airport and reflect various factors (e.g., size of airport, number of customers, number of staff, and type of aircraft serviced). If an FBO has a standalone structure, it may share an apron with an airport, or the FBO may have a separate apron for aircraft servicing, fueling, and parking. Each airport owner typically assesses individual needs, available infrastructure, and agreements with the FBOs to address the specific operational format if standalone facilities are constructed.

20 Guidebook on General Aviation Facility Planning Airport Rescue and Firefighting Airports with FAA Part 139 certification must have ARFF vehicles and a facility to house and protect these vehicles. All airports supporting commercial airline service must have FAA Part 139 certification, and thus ARFF vehicles and storage facilities. For airports that support only GA operations, Part 139 certification and resulting ARFF buildings or equipment on the airfield are less common because these can be costly. In such instances, GA airports may have agreements with local public safety entities (e.g., fire and police) to provide emergency response services, including ARFF and medical first responders. If an airport is considering staffing an ARFF facil- ity, specific response requirements and design criteria for the building and equipment must be met. Many GA airports have some form of emergency equipment ranging from wall-mounted extinguishers to small foam/powder units in the back of a truck. Automobile Parking and Landside Access The number of automobile parking spaces at an airport will vary based on parking demand, airport services, and local planning and zoning requirements. Functions or activities that may increase parking demand include restaurants, rental car facilities, flight training, corporate use of an airport where staff may be parking for extended periods of time or may have multiple persons on a flight, and the number and scheduling of airport and FBO staff who may be park- ing in these lots. Some airport terminal buildings also accommodate non-airport community activities that need automobile parking. Other items that may be considered when evaluating parking needs include • Handicapped accessibility • Lighting • Pickup and dropoff points • General circulation patterns • Snow storage in cooler climates • Possible landscaping needs in some communities based on local planning/zoning Consideration should also be given to remote parking areas that may serve hangar complexes remote from the main terminal area. Providing small parking lots that can accommodate visitors who may not be familiar with the airport and its operation help reduce undesired automobile access to the airfield. Pilots meeting these visitors can escort them from these landside parking areas to the specific hangar area. Landside access to the airport should consider how vehicles get to and from the terminal building and hangar facilities from the primary ground access. This usually includes an air- port entrance road that brings automobiles to the terminal/administration area. Frequently, the hangar areas are then accessed from this central location. Some airports have multiple access points along the airport perimeter, usually created by development over a long period of time as demand warranted. Where possible, it is desirable to limit the amount of access that passenger vehicles have to the airside of an airport. This reduces the possibility of vehicle/aircraft incidents and increases safety. Aircraft Wash Facility An aircraft wash facility can vary in form from a dedicated hangar-like structure with high- pressure water jets designed specifically for washing aircraft to a high-pressure hose used to wash off an aircraft on an apron. Often, airports supporting only GA operations have no such facilities because they can be costly to develop and maintain; however, such airports often have dedicated areas where aircraft owners can wash aircraft with normal pressure hoses and the water is con- tained so as to address possible issues with detergents mixing with groundwater. Such dedicated areas are often found in larger hangar complex areas where a common water source is available.

General Aviation—Overview 21 Other Buildings (Maintenance, Snow Removal) Additional buildings found at airports include facilities for storing SRE and for airport main- tenance equipment (e.g., lawn mowers, tractors) and airport vehicles (e.g., pickup trucks or aircraft tugs). Although these buildings must have access to the airfield, valuable airside frontage for aviation-related uses must be maintained. Consequently, placing such buildings farther from the runway environment is recommended. Maintenance operations may be a component of an FBO—so in such situations, various pieces of equipment may be stored by an FBO within their facilities. If equipment is stored by the airport owner, equipment is usually found in a dedicated building or in a hangar that has not been used for aircraft storage. A dedicated facility is recom- mended so as to leave the hangar available for generating revenue. SRE storage may also be in the form of a hangar or may be a dedicated building for snow plows, blowers, sweepers, and trucks. Maintenance and SRE facilities should house the equipment and provide space for tools, supplies, and equipment needed to maintain these various pieces of equipment. Security Security infrastructure at an airport serving GA operations is often provided by fencing and access gates around an airfield. Security may also include cameras installed around the perim- eter of an airport and at critical locations (e.g., gates, terminal buildings, hangar complexes, and parking lots). Typically a separate security facility is not found at airports supporting GA traffic only—instead security operations take place out of the main airport facility or terminal because security functions are usually provided by the airport staff/maintenance staff or FBO staff. Com- mercial service airports have Transportation Security Administration (TSA) presence along with additional security measures and facilities. In some instances, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) services may be at the airport and require space within the terminal or operational area. Specific needs for their operations should be considered if international inspections are desired at the airport. Models for Providing Services and Facilities There is a difference between aviation services and airport maintenance duties. The method of providing the various services, facilities, and maintenance duties necessary to operate a success- ful airport can vary greatly depending on the needs, interests, and financial considerations at an individual airport. Several methods can be used in their entirety, but most often are combined to create a hybrid solution for the individual airport needs. Three primary scenarios are most often found in the industry today: • Airport-owner-provided services: In this scenario, the airport owner handles the staffing and provision of the necessary services, including fueling, aircraft storage, and airport main- tenance (e.g., snow plowing and grass mowing). Some airports may have the mowing and snow removal provided by another entity within the airport owner’s organization. For exam- ple, a local department of public works may provide the mowing or snow removal services. Although this is not being handled by airport staff, it is still being handled within the airport owner’s jurisdiction. Airport owners may also provide ground transportation (e.g., a rental or courtesy car) and aircraft storage with airport-owned hangars available to lease. In this scenario, owners typically do not provide aircraft rentals, flight training, charters, or aircraft maintenance. These types of services are most often provided by an FBO or SASO. • FBO/SASO-provided services: An FBO or SASO often provides services such as aircraft rent- als, flight training, charter operations, and aircraft maintenance. FBOs may be contracted by the airport owner to handle the additional operational responsibilities of an airport (e.g., fuel- ing, snow plowing, mowing, and aircraft parking). This may also include staffing the terminal

22 Guidebook on General Aviation Facility Planning building and/or being charged with managing the hangar storage for the airport. Typically an FBO is distinguished as a business that provides fuel, pilot, and passenger accommodations along with aircraft servicing. A SASO usually provides aircraft maintenance, rentals, charter, flight training, and other aviation services. • Contracted Services: In some situations, airport owners may contract for various services usu- ally maintenance-based. For example, an airport may contract for mowing or snow removal. Often, larger and busier airports supporting GA traffic have at least one FBO, if not several, to provide services and facilities to airport users for a fee. FBOs are common at these types of airports because such airports have higher traffic counts and, consequently, a larger opportunity for profit. At smaller airports, there may be only a single FBO that offers limited facilities and services, or no FBO at all. This can affect the options for providing services and should be con- sidered during the business planning efforts of an airport. The maintenance and expansion of critical airport infrastructure (e.g., runways, taxiways, and NAVAIDS) are usually the responsibility of the airport owner if it is a public-use airport included in the NPIAS. Airport owners are typically eligible to receive funding to maintain the critical infrastructure and to develop additional infrastructure through the state and federal airport improvement grant programs. No single method has been proven to work for every airport. Each airport is unique in its needs, the vendors available to provide services, and how it can meet user needs. These issues must be assessed for each airport to determine the most effective model for providing services.

Next: Chapter 3 - Airport Planning General »
Guidebook on General Aviation Facility Planning Get This Book
×
 Guidebook on General Aviation Facility Planning
Buy Paperback | $64.00
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

TRB’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Report 113: Guidebook on General Aviation Facility Planning provides guidance for planning airport facilities that accommodate general aviation aircraft. The guidance is designed to help airport practitioners plan flexible and cost-effective facilities that are responsive to industry needs.

READ FREE ONLINE

  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook, NAP.edu's online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!