National Academies Press: OpenBook

Airfield Apron and Ramp Surface Markings (2023)

Chapter: Chapter 1 - Introduction/Background

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction/Background." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Airfield Apron and Ramp Surface Markings. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26913.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction/Background." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Airfield Apron and Ramp Surface Markings. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26913.
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Page 5
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction/Background." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Airfield Apron and Ramp Surface Markings. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26913.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction/Background." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Airfield Apron and Ramp Surface Markings. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26913.
×
Page 7
Page 8
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction/Background." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Airfield Apron and Ramp Surface Markings. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26913.
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4 C H A P T E R   1 1.1 Introduction and Synthesis Objectives A lack of comprehensive industry guidelines has led to variation in the airfield apron/ramp markings that are used at airports across the United States. These markings provide guidance to pilots, ground crews, and others on the movement and parking of aircraft, vehicles, and personnel, and they are therefore important to airport operational safety. As a result of their importance and the marking variations that exist, the objectives of this synthesis report are to: • Document existing guidelines materials and other publications that are relevant to the apron/ ramp markings at airports, and • Discuss various apron/ramp marking practices used at airports of different sizes that are part of the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS) published by the FAA. Throughout this report, the terms “apron” and “ramp” are used interchangeably. Both terms are intended to refer to paved surfaces on airports that are commonly used for aircraft move- ment and parking, and that are typically not under the operational control of an air traffic con- trol (ATC) facility. However, these aprons may be under the control of a ramp tower focused on facilitating the movement of aircraft in the apron environment. Airport runways and taxiways are not considered to be part of the ramp/apron environment for the purposes of this study. Specific categories of apron/ramp markings within the apron area are: • Commercial terminal gate area markings, • Taxilane/apron area markings, • Aircraft hardstand markings, • Deicing apron markings, • Airside roadway markings (also called vehicle service roads), and • Helicopter/electric vertical takeoff/landing (eVTOL) and electric aircraft markings. It is important to note that apron markings can play a key role in an airport’s operational safety beyond providing accurate guidance to pilots operating an aircraft. Apron markings also provide guidance to vehicle/equipment operators [e.g., on vehicle service roads and in areas where ground service equipment (GSE) can and cannot be parked/not parked, to passengers (e.g., on evacuation routes and pedestrian walkways to aircraft), to emergency service providers (e.g., in protected areas and at access points), and to other individuals. As a result, this report documents current apron marking practices that are relevant to these audiences as well as air- craft pilots. There have been discussions within the aviation industry about standardizing naming con- ventions related to general aviation aprons. While airfield apron/ramp markings could be related to this topic, a discussion of these conventions is beyond the purview of this project. Introduction/Background

Introduction/Background 5 1.2 Project Background In the absence of comprehensive industry guidelines related to airfield apron/ramp markings, many airports and their stakeholders have created unique approaches to surface markings in the apron environment. For example, many airports and airlines have different standards for the markings used in the terminal gate area for aircraft positioning, for the staging and storage of GSE, and for passenger boarding bridges. While the unique apron marking practices used by each airport or airline have the same general intent (i.e., to provide guidance to aircraft, ground crews, and others), variations in the layout, color, and positioning of these markings can create opportunities for confusion and errors. Exhibits 1a and 1b illustrate some of the variation that can be present in the terminal area apron markings used by different airlines. As the exhibits depict, there are a number of differences between the markings shown in each gate area, including: • #1. Different coloration and patterns for the aircraft envelope markings (e.g., white/red/white for American vs. red/yellow for Delta) #1 #2 #3 Exhibit 1b. Terminal apron markings for Delta Air Lines at San Antonio International Airport— Terminal A. Source: Google Earth. #3 #1 #2 Exhibit 1a. Terminal apron markings for American Airlines at San Antonio International Airport— Terminal B. Source: Google Earth.

6 Airfield Apron and Ramp Surface Markings • #2. Different striping pattern to denote passenger boarding bridge protected area (e.g., red crosshatch for American vs. red box for Delta) • #3. A white crosshatched “no drive” zone is shown at the American gates but not at the Delta gates. Similar differences in apron marking colors and patterns appear in other locations, including taxilanes, deicing pads, and hardstands. For example, the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport uses various colors for centerline outline strips to communicate the primary and secondary taxilanes in certain apron areas (Exhibit 2a), while John F. Kennedy International Airport uses the terms inner, outer, and heavy to designate apron centerlines, along with a dashed pattern for the centerline to be used by heavy aircraft (Exhibit 2b). Similarly, taxiway centerlines super- imposed with repeated diamond markings are used at San Francisco International Airport and at Dulles International Airport to indicate the centerline that should be followed by Airplane Design Group (ADG) VI aircraft. Similarly, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport uses green centerline striping to denote taxilane centerlines and parking positions to be used for deicing operations (Exhibit 3a). The Jackson Hole Airport primarily uses standard yellow taxilane centerlines on its deicing apron, but a dashed taxilane centerline is used to denote the path that should be used by larger aircraft, such as a Boeing 757 (Exhibit 3b). Documenting these unique types of apron markings at NPIAS airports across the United States is a primary focus of this synthesis. Exhibit 2a. Seattle Tacoma International Airport taxilane markings. Source: Google Earth. Exhibit 2b. John F. Kennedy International Airport taxilane markings. Source: Google Earth.

Introduction/Background 7 1.3 Study Process The process used for this study is outlined in Figure 1. The first task in the study was to con- duct a detailed literature review to document industry guidelines published both domestically and internationally on airfield apron markings. This review included materials published by the FAA, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), ACI, A4A, and other organiza- tions. The results of the literature review were then used in the second task, which was to develop the questions asked in an industry-wide online survey focused on gathering and documenting information on current marking practices from U.S. airports. The survey results were then used in the third task, which was to complete a series of case examples and interviews with airports to gather more in-depth information related to the specific apron/ramp marking practices used at specific airports. Interviews were also completed with A4A, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and a representative for the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) Airport and Ground Environment group. This synthesis report is organized to provide the reader with an understanding of each task in the study, including the approach to the task and the results achieved. Consequently, the sub- sequent chapters follow the outline of the study process (i.e., literature review, industry survey, and case examples) and provide more detailed information on each task. Exhibit 3a. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport deicing markings. Source: Google Earth. Exhibit 3b. Jackson Hole Airport deicing markings. Source: Google Earth.

8 Airfield Apron and Ramp Surface Markings Literature Review • Gather and document existing industry guidance relevant to the topic Industry Survey • Gather and document existing apron/ramp markings practices Airport Case Examples/Interviews • Gather detailed data related to specific apron/ramp marking practices utilized at airport Figure 1. Study process.

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In the absence of comprehensive guidelines related to standards for surface apron and ramp markings, airports have worked with their specific stakeholder groups (such as airlines and ground crews) to develop unique apron and ramp marking practices that meet their operational needs. Consequently, variations are seen in apron and ramp markings at airports across the United States.

The TRB Airport Cooperative Research Program's ACRP Synthesis 122: Airfield Apron and Ramp Surface Markings documents airport apron and ramp marking variations at U.S. airports.

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