AIRPORT SAFETY RESEARCH

Published Papers and Technical Notes

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new.gif The current high-reach extendable turret (HRET) used to fight aircraft fires is equipped with an aircraft skin-penetrating nozzle (ASPN). The ASPN is a long, hollow, aluminum penetrator with a steel conical tip equipped with machined perforations. In an internal aircraft fire, the HRET forces the ASPN through the fuselage aluminum skin to spray water and/or chemical agents to extinguish the fire. This study investigated the effectiveness of the current ASPN design in perforating aluminum, glass fiber-reinforced aluminum laminate (GLARE), and carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) laminate panels, which are used in the newer aircraft fuselage structures. A special test fixture was constructed for testing specimens in 90-degree (normal) and 45-degree angle penetration conditions. Strain and deformation data, as well as fracture patterns, were collected to assess the responses and failure modes of the different material systems. The data were used to validate finite element (FE) models developed during the course of this program for simulating the penetration processes of the three material systems tested.

Results showed that under normal penetration conditions, the force required to penetrate the GLARE laminates were 4, 4.5, and 6.4 times the force required to penetrate the nominal 0.04-in.-thick aluminum alloy used in transport aircraft fuselage. For the three CFRP laminate thicknesses, the required penetration force was 3.3, 4.6, and 4.8 times higher. Comparing the penetration/perforation-resisting forces required for same thickness panels showed that aluminum panels require approximately twice the force than the GLARE and CFRP laminates. It should be noted that while the largest penetration force in aluminum alloy occurs at breakthrough, in the GLARE and CFRP laminates, the largest resisting force occurs at the end of the perforation due to the conical shape of the ASPN. Under the 45-degree angle penetration condition, GLARE laminates require 2.9, 3.8, and 5.4, and CFRP panels require 2.2, 2.2, and 3.5 times higher force to penetrate than the 0.04-in.-thick aluminum laminate. Results indicated that loading rate has marginal effect on the load-penetration behavior of all three materials under both angles of perforation.

PENETRATION STUDY OF ALUMINUM, GLASS FIBER-REINFORCED ALUMINUM LAMINATE, AND CARBON FIBER-REINFORCED PLASTIC

DOT/FAA/TC-14/33
Authors: Chris Swin, Prof. Tein-Min Tan, Ph.D., and Prof. Jonathan Awerbuch, Ph.D.
Format: Adobe Acrobat
File Size: 19 MB


new.gif A research effort is underway to develop a standardized test method to determine the amount of firefighting agent needed to extinguish fires involving aircraft built with advanced composite materials. These tests focus on evaluating the behavior of GLAss-REinforced aluminum laminate (GLARE) when exposed to a simulated aviation fuel-fed pool fire. This test is a continuation of previous carbon fiber-reinforced plastic fire tests reported in DOT/FAA/TC-12/6, “Development of a Firefighting Agent Application Test Protocol for Aircraft Fuselage Composites, Phase I—Carbon Fiber.”

This series of tests assessed the fire behavior of GLARE samples that are representative of aircraft skin applications. These tests focused on determining (1) if the temperature transfers through the sample, (2) if burnthrough or post-exposure burning occurs, (3) if a smoldering condition exists after fire exposure, (4) the amount of time it takes for the sample to naturally cool below 300°F (149°C) after the fire source is removed, and (5) if there are any physical indicators that would help firefighters determine if the sample has cooled sufficiently to prevent re-ignition.

The Federal Aviation Administration NextGen Burner was used as the fire source. It generates temperatures just over 1800°F (990°C), which are similar to that of an aviation fuel-fed pool fire. Twelve tests were conducted using GLARE 3-5/4-0.3, with a total thickness of 2.5 mm (0.098 in.). Nine of these tests used a 12- by 18-inch sample positioned flat, with the face of the sample in front of the fire source. The remaining three tests used the same size sample cut into four equal pieces layered 0.75 inch apart and set with the edges of the long side facing the fire source. The samples were subjected to different fire exposure times. Temperature measurements and infrared images were collected during the tests.

The nine flat panel tests measured the temperature on both sides of the sample, and the temperature measured on the back of the sample was less than half of the burner side temperature. Burnthrough did not occur during any of these tests. In each test, the outer layer of aluminum that faced the burner melted away, but the glass layers below remained mostly intact. There was some amount of post-exposure flame in all tests performed. Despite the exposure duration, the post-exposure flame lasted approximately 1 minute. The recorded times for the flat panel test samples to cool below 300°F (149°C) were not consistent. However, for the layered tests, the recorded times were consistent with an average time of 11 minutes 36 seconds. There were no visual indications that the samples had cooled below 300°F (149°C).

DEVELOPMENT OF A FIREFIGHTING AGENT APPLICATION TEST PROTOCOL FOR AIRCRAFT FUSELAGE COMPOSITES, PHASE I—GLARE

DOT/FAA/TC-14/23
Authors: John C. Hode and William Doig
Format: Adobe Acrobat
File Size: 2.25 MB


new.gif Environmental pollution concerns and the prices of crude oil and kerosene-type jet fuels have driven government and industry leaders to research alternative fuel solutions. Each year, alternate fuels become more common, and they are being introduced into airports, bringing with them the potential for unknown dangers. This literature review was created to assess the integration of alternative fuels in airports and the possible new fire threats they might pose. The alternate fuels discussed here include synthetic paraffinic kerosene (SPK), biodiesel, green diesel, compressed natural gas (CNG), liquid petroleum gas (LPG), and electricity.

Alternative fuels are being introduced to airports through two different venues: aircraft and ground service equipment (GSE) vehicles. These venues are made possible through programs such as the Voluntary Low Emissions Program. Each year, airlines, such as United Airlines and Royal Dutch Airlines, are slowly increasing their use of SPK blends in their fleet to reduce their aircraft’s greenhouse gas production. On the ground, airlines are retrofitting current (or buying new) GSE vehicles to run on various alternative fuels.

The introduction of these fuels means that aircraft rescue and firefighting personnel might have to address new potential dangers. Past research showed SPK fuel fires are similar to JP-8 fuel fires, though some SPK fuel blends have exhibited higher heat fluxes and faster material burnthrough times. Alcohol-resistant aqueous film-forming foam is the recommended agent for biodiesel fires; however, this extinguishing agent cannot be used in U.S. airports because it does not meet Federal Aviation Administration requirements. LPG and CNG fires pose great dangers because of the chance of storage tank explosion. Fire tactics for electric vehicle fires are still under development and little information is available.

In section 8 of this literature review, concerns and possible areas of research are presented. These range from analyzing fire extinguishment tests using SPK fuels to observing the fire behavior of lithium-ion batteries of electric GSE vehicles.

IMPACT OF ALTERNATIVE FUELS PRESENT IN AIRPORTS ON AIRCRAFT RESCUE AND FIREFIGHTING RESPONSE—LITERATURE REVIEW

DOT/FAA/TC-14/22
Authors: Jonathan Torres
Format: Adobe Acrobat
File Size: 1.5 MB


new.gif Currently, the aircraft industry is shifting toward the use of new aircraft skin materials. In place of aluminum, aircraft are now being constructed from composite materials, which typically include combustible components. The objective of this test series was to quantify the small-scale burn characteristics of two new aircraft skin composite materials and a candidate wood surrogate. If testing was successful, a wood surrogate could be used as a readily available, cost-effective in future large-scale flammability and suppression tests.

A series of small-scale fire tests and analytical test methods were conducted to characterize the flammability and thermal decomposition properties of the materials. These tests were designed to develop a data set that could be used to validate intermediate scale tests and as input in the development of flame spread and thermal decomposition models for these materials. The composite materials evaluated were a carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) and a glass laminate aluminum reinforced epoxy (GLARE), and the wood surrogate evaluated was an oriented strand board (OSB). The small-scale fire tests conducted in this research included cone calorimetry testing, lateral ignition and flame spread testing, and thermal decomposition testing. The analytical work conducted included thermogravimetric analysis, differential scanning calorimetry, and pyrolysis gas chromatograph/mass spectroscopy. The materials’ flammability and thermal decomposition properties were derived from these tests.

Tests suggest the average heat capacity during decomposition and the average thermal conductivities of the two materials is similar. This indicates the OSB is a reasonable surrogate for the CFRP over the course of the decomposition process when the heat capacity and thermal conductivity parameters strongly influence the results. The overall average apparent heat capacity is comparable, which is consistent with the heat capacity results of the thermal decomposition apparatus. This suggests the OSB is a reasonable overall surrogate material for the CFRP when the heat capacity is a significant parameter, but there may be significant differences in thermal absorption rates on smaller time scales.

Characterization of the Flammability and Thermal Decomposition Properties of Aircraft Skin Composite Materials and Combustible Surrogates

DOT/FAA/TC-14/1
Authors: Christopher Mealy, Haavard Boehmer, Joseph L. Scheffey, and Gerard G. Back
Format: Adobe Acrobat
File Size: 4.5 MB


new.gif The Federal Aviation Administration Airport Technology Research & Development Branch conducted a Full-Scale Cargo Fire Research Project that involved a series of firefighting-related tests with an Airbus A310 cargo aircraft. One test included a study of the weight and balance characteristics of the aircraft during a fire attack. Aircraft are sensitive to loading configurations; therefore, personnel working on and around the aircraft must ensure the aircraft remains within aircraft manufacturer’s recommended weight and balance guidelines during loading and unloading. Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) personnel must be equally aware of these weight and balance guidelines when responding to an aircraft accident or incident. Depending on the severity, impacts or abrupt movements affecting the aircraft during the event can cause a shift in load, which would adversely affect the weight and balance. Freighter aircraft are particularly susceptible to weight and balance issues due to cargo weight and varying locations on the aircraft in which the cargo can be placed.

The research effort focused on many factors involving aircraft stabilization and identified the issues ARFF should consider to prevent an aircraft tail tip from occurring. Researchers documented changes in the aircraft height at four locations around the aircraft to see how the introduction of water and agent affected aircraft balance during full-scale fire tests to determine the weight and balance behavior of the aircraft. However, throughout the numerous fire test scenarios that were conducted, researchers were unable to identify any significant changes in the aircraft’s height. When the tests were complete, researchers purposely attempted to create the conditions necessary to tail-tip the aircraft. Researchers successfully achieved a tail tip after adding roughly 6200 gallons of water to the aircraft and concentrating the weight of the water to the aft of the aircraft, thereby causing a tail-heavy condition.

A review of aircraft weight and balance industry practices identified several pieces of equipment that could aid ARFF personnel in maintaining aircraft stability during emergency responses. This report identifies factors of aircraft stabilization for aircraft rescue and firefighting personnel as well as equipment that could aid firefighting personnel in maintaining aircraft stability during emergency responses.

Weight and Balance Behavior of a Freighter Aircraft During Cargp Fire Test Evaluations

DOT/FAA/TC-TN13/51
Author: Jack Kreckie and Jonathan Torres
Format: Adobe Acrobat
File Size: .6 MB


new.gif Magnetrons are a critical component of current avian radar technologies, providing avian radar systems with the energy that is transmitted and received to identify targets. The current avian radar systems used in an avian radar performance assessment uses X-band marine radars that are based on magnetron technology. Manufacturers recommend regular replacement of magnetrons to maintain radar detection effectiveness. The University of Illinois Center of Excellence for Airport Technology (CEAT) examined the issue of operational effectiveness for magnetrons with short and long operational histories. CEAT found that magnetrons with long operational histories performed at a level consistent with new magnetrons. CEAT recommends that magnetron replacement be based on performance criteria rather than on a fixed schedule or replacement period. Replacement should be made when a magnetron fails to produce consistent detection results when evaluated as part of a regularly scheduled radar health assessment program.

Avian Radar Maintenance: Magnetron Replacement Requirements

DOT/FAA/TC-TN13/47
Author: Edwin E. Herricks, Peter Weber, David Mayer, and Ryan E. King
Format: Adobe Acrobat
File Size: 1 MB


new.gif The evolution of aircraft design and construction has brought about new challenges to Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) personnel. The New Large Aircraft (NLA) entering the market have introduced increased passenger capacities, fuel loads, hydraulic pressures, and the use of advance composite materials. The most significant change is the introduction of the full-length, upper-passenger deck on the Airbus A380 with certification for up to 853 total passengers. The B-747-8 was just beginning flight service in the United States as this report was being developed. A supplement to this report will be issued following additional research specific to the B-747-8.

This report examines previous incidents with multilevel aircraft, as well as research conducted in relevant areas such as aircraft evacuations and advanced composite materials. In addition, accepted interior firefighting models were applied to the unique NLA configurations, thereby providing guidance for emergency planning of such events.

This report provides a discussion of the primary topics, such as agent quantity, aircraft systems, and components, which are pertinent to NLA firefighting strategies. Configurations and aspects of NLA layouts that require strategic consideration, and influence ARFF tactical decisions and response preplanning, are discussed in this report, as well as recommendations for best practices in NLA firefighting strategies.

Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Strategies and Tactical Considerations for New Large Aircraft

DOT/FAA/TC-13/12
Author: Jack Kreckie
Format: Adobe Acrobat
File Size: 3.9 MB


new.gif On February 7, 2006, the United Parcel Service Flight 1307 was involved in a cargo fire incident at the Philadelphia International Airport. The official investigation of the incident identified deficiencies in training that Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) personnel had in fighting cargo fires inside freighter aircraft. The National Transportation Safety Board made several recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) related to ARFF training, tactics, strategy, and performance, to provide cargo firefighting training methods to ARFF personnel. As part of a response to these recommendations, the FAA launched a series of full-scale research tests to evaluate different tactics to combat cargo fires.

A series of 11 test scenarios evaluated the effectiveness of certain firefighting tactics on specific cargo scenarios with various types of unit load devices (ULD), also referred to as cargo containers. The tests were performed at the Southern California Logistics Airport inside an Airbus A310. An oxygen deprivation tactic was used to seal all ventilation in the aircraft to determine if it could create an oxygen-deprived environment (i.e., oxygen levels drop below 12%) that would cause the fire to self-extinguish. Two high-reach extendable turrets with aircraft skin-penetrating nozzle (ASPN) technologies were used to evaluate penetration tactics on different-sized containers placed right next to the interior walls of the fuselage and their effectiveness in extinguishing or controlling a container fire. These penetrations were known as direct attacks. Two Snozzle® ASPN configurations and one Stinger® ASPN configuration were evaluated for this part of the research. For the next test scenarios, a Snozzle® ASPN, a Stinger® ASPN, and one prototype ASPN were used to evaluate tactics that involved indirectly attacking containers that were placed at an unreachable distance away from the interior wall of the fuselage. This meant water was discharged into the container from a distance and not from penetrating the container. In addition to container fires, pallet fires were produced to test the indirect attack tactic effectiveness using the standard Snozzle® ASPN.

Data from the oxygen deprivation tests were inconclusive in determining the effectiveness of the tactic. Results from the direct attack tactics indicated that successful control and/or extinguishment of the fire can be achieved if the ASPN is able to penetrate into the container. Longer penetration into the fuselage proved to be more effective in controlling the fire. Data indicated that the prototype ASPN proved to be more effective than the current designs when indirectly attacking a burning ULD container. The data also showed the current standard ASPN design effectively controlled the open pallet fire in the tests.

Full-Scale Evaluation of ARFF Tactics for Cargo Fires on Freighter Aircraft

DOT/FAA/TC-13/30
Authors: Jonathan Torres and Jack Kreckie
Format: Adobe Acrobat
File Size: 2.27 MB


new.gif New Large Aircraft (NLA) pose unique firefighting challenges unique for traditional aircraft. Specifically, questions have arisen regarding the applicability of current firefighting protection standards to nonconventional design changes, such as fuselage shape modifications, enhanced material compositions, new fuel storage locations, and unique passenger loading configurations. To address fuselage shape concerns, a computational fluid dynamic (CFD) modeling strategy was developed to quantify heat transfer to the aircraft for a given aircraft geometry and hydrocarbon pool fire condition. The CFD predictions supported experimental validation data conclusions showing increased crosswinds amplify heat transfer to the aircraft surface due to enhanced turbulent fuel-air mixing. Based upon the predicted CFD fire plume structure and aircraft surface heat transfer magnitudes, nominal changes in aircraft geometry exposed to similar scale flame and atmospheric conditions pose no extraordinary firefighting challenge. All thermal attributes stayed within the same order of magnitude and, in the majority of instances, varied less than 15%.

Computational Flame Characterization of New Large Aircraft Immersed in Hydrocarbon Pool Fires

DOT/FAA/TC-13/31
Authors: Christopher P. Menchini
Format: Adobe Acrobat
File Size: 1.43 MB


new.gif In 2009, the Takeoff and Landing Performance Assessment (TALPA) Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) recommended that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) conduct a trial program or validation effort to assess the use of a Runway Condition Assessment Matrix (RCAM), commonly referred to as the Matrix. The validation effort was intended to examine the RCAM’s processes to determine if they could be implemented at airports nationwide in order to disseminate runway surface condition information to pilots prior to landing. The objectives included validating the correlation between the Matrix surface condition descriptions and pilot braking action reports (PIREP) and determining the usability of the Matrix for airport operators and pilots.

This technical note gives a general overview and background of the TALPA ARC and provides an overview of the two RCAM FAA validation efforts during consecutive winter airport operations seasons in 2009-10 and 2010-11. Recommendations for changes to the RCAM are also provided. This technical note discusses these two validation efforts along with the evaluation approach, analysis, results, and recommendations. Similarly, the revisions and changes that affected the RCAM and its processes during the course of this effort are also described.

An Industry Team comprised of industry representatives instrumental in the development of the RCAM, along with the FAA, airport operators, and air carrier representatives who participated in the validation efforts, reviewed the evaluation approach, analysis, and results. Based on the results of the validation efforts, the Industry Team recommended that the FAA work to implement the RCAM and its processes into aviation operations.

Takeoff and Landing Performance Assessment Validation Effort of the Runway Condition Assessment Matrix

DOT/FAA/TC-TN13/22
Authors: Nicholas Subbotin and Susan Gardner
Format: Adobe Acrobat
File Size: 17.7 MB


The content of this handbook is the consolidated effort of the Illumination Engineering Society (IES) Subcommittee on General Aviation Lighting, the Center of Excellence for General Aviation Research (CGAR) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airport Safety Technology Research and Development Visual Guidance Program personnel. The purpose of the content is to generate awareness of an alternative line of products. This alternative line of products represent the visual lighting presentation of the more expensive, fully FAA-approved lighting systems at a reduced cost while still maintaining needed visual cues.

Community Service Airports Visual Aids Handbook

Format: Adobe Acrobat
File Size: 2.08 MB


new.gif Advisory Circular 150/5210-17B, “Program for Training of Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Personnel,” added freighter aircraft familiarization as a requirement for Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) training. To develop the tactics and strategies for this training, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requested research in freighter aircraft firefighting. Part of this research entailed developing tactics for extinguishing freighter aircraft fires with an aircraft skin-penetrating nozzle (ASPN). Early in the research effort, it was determined that the current nozzle designs were not adequate to fight cargo fires on freighter aircraft, and a new nozzle design would have to be developed.

Four prototype ASPNs were designed and fabricated specifically to fight cargo fires on freighter aircraft indirectly. Various tests were performed on all four prototype ASPNs to measure flow rates, spray patterns, and extinguishment effectiveness. Flow and pressure readings were taken from each prototype ASPN to confirm that they met industry standards. All prototype ASPNs met industry standards when using the FAA Oshkosh Striker® ARFF research vehicle. Prototype Nozzle 3 exhibited the highest flow rate of all prototype ASPNs, while Prototype Nozzle 4 displayed the highest pressure readings. Photo documentation was taken of the spray pattern for each prototype ASPN to analyze the different spray trajectories each nozzle produced. These trajectories would show where water would go during a container fire. Prototype Nozzles 2 and 3 exhibited similar spray patterns consisting of a wide umbrella spray and a forward-projecting straight stream. Prototype Nozzle 4’s spray pattern consisted of three different range hollow spray cones. Container fire tests inside an aircraft section were conducted to determine the effectiveness of each nozzle. Visual inspection and thermocouple readings were used to determine the effectiveness. Although all prototype ASPNs were able to extinguish a portion of the fire, Prototype Nozzle 3 provided the best design based on these criteria and practicality of nozzle design. Prototype Nozzle 3 was selected to be used for full-scale cargo fires to validate the earlier testing.

Development of Prototype Nozzles for Freighter Aircraft Fire Applications

DOT/FAA/TC-TN13/11
Author: Jonathan Torres, SRA International, Inc.
Format: Adobe Acrobat
File Size: 1.4 MB


new.gif The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) initiated the Bird Radar Research Program in the 1990s when prototype systems for detecting birds at airfields were being introduced. Studies that focused on the performance of commercially available bird radar detection systems began in 2005. For nearly two decades, the FAA Airport Technology Research and Development Branch has directed research on an extensive and varied list of radar technologies. This interim report summarizes the Bird Radar Research Program to date and describes future planned bird radar research activities.

Bird radars have demonstrated valuable functionalities that support various end users in the aviation community. Currently, the primary role of bird radar is a tool to support wildlife hazard assessments at airports and control of hazardous wildlife at or near airport property. However, implementation and application of bird radar detection systems is continually evolving amidst accelerated technological improvements, systems integration, and robust data analysis capabilities. Bird radar manufacturers continue to develop improved equipment that can provide higher-fidelity data on target location, speed, and mass amounting to a potential role in civil air traffic control.

The FAA Bird Radar Research Program is expected to continue for a number of years with a focus on extending bird radar’s role to support air traffic control on a local level and augmenting bird radar with other longer-range radar assets to provide coverage on a regional, and perhaps even a national, scale.

Research On Bird-Detecting Radar

DOT/FAA/TC-13/3
Author: Ryan E. King
Format: Adobe Acrobat
File Size: .1 MB


new.gif In 2007, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airport Technology Branch conducted a performance assessment of the FODetect®, a hybrid radar and electro-optical foreign object debris (FOD) detection system developed by Xsight Systems, Ltd. This assessment included the system’s capability to detect objects of various shapes, sizes, and materials at all locations on the runway surface. The system’s capability to detect FOD during both nighttime and daytime conditions, in periods of sun, rain, mist, fog, and snow, was also assessed.

The FODetect system was initially demonstrated in January 2008. Following the demonstration, a more comprehensive performance assessment of the technology was conducted at the Boston Logan International Airport. The performance assessment was initiated in June 2008 with a test schedule that continued until May 2009. Researchers conducted several test sessions to assess the FODetect’s capability to detect selected FOD items. The tests focused on hybrid sensor characteristics, specifically the joint capabilities of radar and electro-optical sensors operating together.

The FODetect system was able to detect the objects of various shapes, sizes, and materials on runway surfaces and perform satisfactorily in nighttime, daytime, sun, rain, mist, fog, and snow conditions, as required by FAA Advisory Circular 150/5220-24, “Airport Foreign Object Debris (FOD) Detection Equipment.”

Performance Assessment of a Hybrid Radar and Electro-Optical Foreign Object Debris Detection System

DOT/FAA/TC-12/22
Authors: Edwin E. Herricks, Elizabeth Woodworth, and James Patterson, Jr.
Format: Adobe Acrobat
File Size: 1 MB


new.gif Magnetrons are a critical component of current avian radar technologies, providing avian radar systems with the radio energy that is transmitted and received to identify targets. The current avian radar systems used in an avian radar performance assessment use X-band marine radars that are based on magnetron technology. Manufacturers recommend regular replacement of magnetrons to maintain radar detection effectiveness. The University of Illinois Center of Excellence for Airport Technology (CEAT) examined the operational life of magnetrons in 12 avian radar systems deployed as a part of an avian radar performance assessment program. Based on typical marine radar use, manufacturers recommend replacing magnetrons between 2,000 and 6,000 transmitting hours. However, CEAT found that magnetrons used in avian radar typically could be used for 12,000 hours of continuous operation before needing replacement. Therefore, CEAT recommends that avian radar users schedule magnetron replacement at approximately 12,000–15,000 hours, or every 18–24 months.

Avian Radar Maintenance: Magnetron Life Assessment

DOT/FAA/TC-TN12/60
Authors: Wendell Bunch and Edwin E. Herricks
Format: Adobe Acrobat
File Size: .1 MB


new.gif Aviation signal lighting systems are increasingly replacing filtered and unfiltered incandescent lamps with light-emitting diode (LED) sources to create various signal light colors. As LED sources produce spectral distributions that can differ in color appearance from incandescent signal lights, it is important to understand how the characteristics of LEDs influence color identification.

The objective of this research was to provide chromaticity regions for aviation signal lights that maximize the likelihood of correct identification while minimizing the potential for confusion with other colors.

Three color identification studies of aviation signal lights were conducted to produce white, yellow, red, blue, and green colors using filtered and unfiltered incandescent lamps and LEDs. The objectives of these studies were to (1) identify chromaticity regions resulting in a high probability of correctly identifying aviation signal lights as white; (2) compare the color identification performance of color-normal and color-deficient observers in response to incandescent and LED signal lights of each nominal color (white, yellow, red, blue, and green); and (3) identify chromaticity regions resulting in a high probability of correctly identifying aviation signal lights as yellow, red, or blue.

Based on the results of these studies, recommendations for each of the nominal signal colors are provided in the Commission Internationale de l’Éclairage 1931 chromaticity space.

Nonincandescent Source Aviation Signal Light Colors

DOT/FAA/TC-TN12/61
Authors: John D. Bullough, Nicholas P. Skinner, Andrew Bierman, Nelda J. Milburn, Rachel T. Taranta, N. Narendran, and Donald W. Gallagher
Format: Adobe Acrobat
File Size: 2.2 MB


new.gif Following the in-flight cargo fire accident involving United Parcel Service (UPS) flight 1307 at the Philadelphia International Airport on February 7, 2006, the National Transportation Safety Board determined that the Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting personnel did not have adequate training in fighting freighter aircraft fires. A post-incident, on-aircraft analysis by UPS personnel suggested the cargo liner interfered with the aircraft skin-penetrating nozzle’s (e’s (ASPN) ability to discharge firefighting agent on the fire. The UPS analysis suggested that the firefighting agent became trapped between the cargo liner and the fuselage, implying that the liner separated from the fuselage and acted as a shield, which prohibited the firefighting agent from controlling the cargo fire. The research described in this report evaluates the role of cargo liner in penetration of an aircraft with an ASPN.

Small-scale scoping tests identified the penetration behavior of heated cargo liner within an area of approximately 480 square inches. The cargo liner was mounted in a frame and penetrated with an ASPN that was fitted to a hydraulic ram. Initial penetration tests were conducted with cargo liner intact. Heated tests involved penetration while the material was directly exposed to a kerosene burner flame. Full-scale tests examined the role of cargo liner mounting hardware in ASPN penetration. The full-scale test article was composed of a mockup section of the freighter aircraft. This was created by mounting the cargo liner in a section of a modified C-133 aircraft. A cargo liner mounting frame was duplicated from an example freighter aircraft. The frame used normal aircraft construction techniques and materials. Electric radiant heaters and liquid fuel pool fires served as heat sources. An ASPN mounted on a high-reach extendable turret (HRET) was used to penetrate the aircraft.

Penetration results were evaluated based on the number of unblocked ASPN holes on the interior side of the cargo liner. Under ambient conditions, the cargo liner did not significantly stretch or otherwise impede penetration. The heated cargo liner exhibited limited stretching or sagging, but not enough to obstruct the ASPN. Only 1 of the 45 full-scale heated tests demonstrated significant nozzle obstruction. Small-scale heated tests indicated that incomplete penetration or reduced penetration depth could lead to obstruction of 33% to 77% of the nozzle. Overall, tests indicated that cargo liner material does not normally hinder the use of an ASPN for application of firefighting agent. Given sufficient penetration length, it was observed that the ASPN is capable of penetrating through the cargo liner into the interior of the aircraft.

AIRCRAFT SKIN-PENETRATING NOZZLE TESTING OF A FREIGHTER AIRCRAFT CARGO LINER

DOT/FAA/TC-12/48
Author: William Doig
Format: Adobe Acrobat
File Size: 1 MB


new.gif The Federal Aviation Administration Airport Technology Research and Development Branch conducted a literature review of technology and technological solutions that could be used to prevent runway incursions and surface accidents involving vehicles with authorized access to the aircraft movement area. The objective was to identify a technology that would be optimal for this purpose and would warrant further evaluation.

The optimal technology was defined as a complete system that provides an alert to ground vehicle operators when approaching a sensitive or restricted area, while having minimal equipment installation requirements that could impact the airport infrastructure.

The components needed for an alerting system are (1) reliable ground vehicle position information as to where it is on an airport, (2) a device is needed to provide the visible and audible alerts to the vehicle operator, and (3) the most critical, the logic necessary to take and send the alert directly to the device in the ground vehicle. A literature search was conducted to identify technologies and systems that have the potential to provide a visible and audible alert to ground vehicle operators when approaching a restricted area, such as runways, runway safety areas, etc.

A number of technologies have components that could be used in an alerting system; however, only three were identified that constituted a complete system. They were (1) the Incursion Collision Avoidance System (ICAS), (2) The Runway Incursion Monitoring Detection Alerting System (RIMDAS), and (3) The Asset Tracking and Incursion Management System (ATIMS).

The analysis of the literature search showed that the RIMDAS did not provide an alert when approaching a sensitive or restricted area. The lack of this feature is a disadvantage compared to the ICAS and ATIMS systems, which provide this capability. Both the ICAS and RIMDAS systems required equipment to be installed on the airport in addition to the equipment needed in the ground vehicle. For these reasons, the ICAS and RIMDAS were not recommended for further evaluation.

The analysis of the literature search showed that the ATIMS met the optimal criteria, and a version of the ATIMS is already being used on airports. The only equipment needed is in the ground vehicle. Because of these advantages, the ATIMS is recommended for further evaluation.

GROUND VEHICLE RUNWAY INCURSION PREVENTION ALERTING SYSTEM LITERATURE REVIEW

DOT/FAA/TC-TN12/46
Authors: William Doig, William Allen, and Donald W. Gallagher
Format: Adobe Acrobat
File Size: 1 MB


new.gifFor nearly 40 years, the National Fire Protection Association, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the International Civil Aviation Organization have used mathematical models, such as the Theoretical Critical Area and Practical Critical Area (TCA/PCA) method, to determine Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) requirements at commercial airports throughout the world. These models used the length and width of the aircraft fuselage to determine a rectangular area in which extinguishing the fire was critical to safely evacuate passengers. They do not consider the plausible amount of fuel that could be released in survivable crash events.

There has been growing concern that the ARFF requirements may not be sufficient for modern aircraft designs that include larger fuel capacities and varied crashworthiness. This research program is being conducted to establish an alternative methodology for evaluating the quantity of fuel dispersed during various types of survivable aircraft accidents and ultimately to contribute to the development of an alternative to the TCA/PCA method. The approach is to simulate survivable crashes using high-fidelity nonlinear dynamic finite element analysis of these events with fuel explicitly modeled in the wing tanks. The simulated, time-dependent fuel distribution will serve as input to fire modeling efforts for determining ARFF requirements.
This research is being conducted in multiple phases. The first phase is a methodology validation phase in which a full-scale crash test of a Lockheed Constellation Model L-1649 is simulated. The objective of this phase was to demonstrate that this modeling approach can produce accurate results. Subsequent phases will implement the validated methodology for assessing fuel dispersal from two different transport aircraft.

This report describes the analysis methodologies and results of the first phase of the research program. The analyses successfully demonstrated that accurate predictions for fuel release in survivable accidents can be achieved by using high-fidelity nonlinear dynamic finite element analysis of these events. Overall, simulated and test results for the liquid released are in good agreement. Refinements of modeling methods to more accurately simulate full-scale crashes of modern transport aircraft for predicting fuel release were also determined.

CRASH SIMULATION OF TRANSPORT AIRCRAFT FOR PREDICTING FUEL RELEASE
FIRST PHASE—SIMULATION OF THE LOCKHEED CONSTELLATION MODEL L-1649 FULL-SCALE CRASH TEST

DOT/FAA/TC-12/43
Authors: R.T. Bocchieri, R.M. MacNeill, C.N. Northrup, and D.S. Dierdorf
Format: Adobe Acrobat
File Size: 10 MB


new.gifThe current method for determining required firefighting agent quantities at an airport is based on the concept of a “critical area” rectangular box defined by the aircraft length and fuselage width. Aircraft size and construction materials have evolved to an extent that the concepts of critical area, which consists of Theoretical Critical Area and Practical Critical Area need to be studied to ensure they are still valid methodologies for determining the firefighting agent requirements for airports. This analysis addressed various factors in assessing current aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) agent requirements. These factors included the historical development of the existing methods and the recent fire-related loss history. The recent loss history includes the effectiveness of the ARFF response and a fire hazard analysis for threats to occupants in an aircraft and those who have escaped the aircraft. The National Fire Protection Association 403 methodology was found to be acceptable and appropriate for establishing agent quantities.

Methodologies for Calculating Firefighting Agent Quantities Needed to Combat Aircraft Crash Fires

DOT/FAA/AR-11/29
Author: Joseph L. Scheffey, Robert L. Darwin, and Sean Hunt
Format: Adobe Acrobat
File Size: 4.07 MB


new.gifThis project was initiated to develop a live fire test protocol that could determine if the amounts of fire extinguishing agent currently carried on Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting vehicles are sufficient to extinguish fires involving aircraft built with advanced composite material fuselages. Currently two advanced composite materials are used in construction of commercial aircraft fuselages; GLAss-REinforced Fiber Metal Laminate, commonly called GLARE, and carbon fiber composite. The objective of this series of tests was to assess the fire behavior of carbon fiber composites. These tests focused on the following specific fire behaviors: (1) if either self-sustained burning or smoldering exist after fire exposure, (2) the extent of heat propagation through the carbon fiber composite, (3) how long it takes for the carbon fiber composite to naturally cool below 300°F (150°C), and (4) if there are any physical indicators that would help firefighters determine that the carbon fiber composite had cooled sufficiently to prevent reignition. These tests comprise the first phase of a two-phase approach to assess the fire behavior of aircraft fuselage advanced composite materials. The second phase will determine the amount of firefighting agent needed to extinguish and cool the composite.

Development of a Firefighting Agent Application Test Protocol for Aircraft Fuselage Composites, Phase I—Carbon Fiber

DOT/FAA/TC-12/6
Author: John C. Hode
Format: Adobe Acrobat
File Size: 1.00 MB


new.gifThe Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has an ongoing research program that evaluates new technologies for increasing postcrash fire survivability on aircraft and determines methods to increase the performance capabilities of aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) vehicles. Excessive tire wear on hard surfaces is a concern on ARFF vehicles with more than four wheels. The FAA ARFF research program evaluated a six-wheeled ARFF vehicle with rear-wheel steering (RWS).

The objectives were to evaluate an ARFF vehicle for turning diameter, tire tread wear, and estimated tire life. A six-wheeled ARFF vehicle was used with a prototype RWS system that allowed comparisons with the RWS function disabled and enabled. Tests were conducted according to FAA Advisory Circular 150/5220-10C, which specifies turning diameter procedures. Tire tread wear was achieved by driving the test vehicle on a figure-eight course for 60 miles, which generated a faster and more aggressive tire tread wear than normal driving patterns. Tire tread depth was measured according to the tire manufacturer. The data from the tread wear results were used to calculate estimated tire life.

The results showed the ARFF vehicle with RWS decreased the turning diameter by 18.7% in the clockwise direction from 116.0 feet to 94.3 feet and 18.2% in the counter clockwise direction from 108.2 feet to 88.5 feet compared to vehicle operations without RWS. Without RWS, the rear tires wore the fastest by approximately 0.406 (13/32) inch over the 60 miles. With RWS, the middle tires wore the fastest by approximately 0.121 (4/32) inch over the 60 miles. The data from the tire tread wear tests were used to calculate the estimated tire life using linear regression calculations. RWS extended the estimated tire life by 1.9 to 2.6 times on the front tires and 7.9 to 9.0 times on the rear tires compared to vehicle operations without RWS enabled. However, the middle tires showed better tire life without RWS, 5.3 to 7.3 times that of tire life with RWS.

Test and Evaluation of Rear-Wheel Steering for Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Vehicles—Part 2

DOT/FAA/TC-TN12/34
Author: Nicholas Subbotin, Kris Cozart, and John Hawk
Format: Adobe Acrobat
File Size: 1.54 MB
 


new.gifWildlife hazard assessments are regularly performed to support the development of wildlife hazard management plans (WHMP) for airports. Current assessments use visual observations of wildlife, with particular attention paid to birds. As a tool, avian radar can supplement visual observations of birds on and around airports and can provide useful data sets for analyses to support the development of WHMPs. A test of avian radar was conducted to demonstrate its usefulness as a supplement to a
scheduled monthly observation that was part of a year-long wildlife hazard assessment at Cedar City Regional Airport in Utah. The avian radar consistently observed more bird targets than were identified by visual observation and provided a useful data set for analyses that supported the development of the airport’s WHMP.

USING AN AVIAN RADAR TO SUPPLEMENT AN AIRPORT WILDLIFE HAZARD ASSESSMENT

DOT/FAA/TC-TN12/27
Author: Edwin E. Herricks, Wendell Bunch, Steve Osmek, and Frank Svoboda
Format: Adobe Acrobat
File Size: 1.83 MB


new.gifThe Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airport Technology Research and Development Branch initiated research to evaluate a new trapezoidal-shaped pavement groove configuration. The purpose of this evaluation was to determine if the new trapezoidal-shaped pavement groove configuration offered any benefits over the current FAA standard groove configuration, specifically in the areas of water evacuation, rubber contamination, integrity, longevity, and friction values.

The new trapezoidal-shaped groove is 1/4 in. deep, 1/2 in. wide at the top, 1/4 in. wide at the bottom, and spaced 2 1/4 in. apart. The current FAA standard groove is 1/4 in. deep, 1/4 in. wide, and spaced 1 1/2 in. apart.

Test sections of the new trapezoidal-shaped pavement grooves, along with sections of FAA standard grooves, were installed at the FAA National Airport Pavement Test Facility, the Atlantic City International Airport, Marine Corps Air Facility Quantico, and Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Researchers conducted water evacuation measurements, analysis of rubber contamination, width measurements, and surface friction tests on the trapezoidal-shaped pavement groove test sections under a variety of conditions and compared the results directly to those of the current FAA standard grooves.

The results showed that the trapezoidal-shaped pavement groove configuration offered several benefits over the current FAA standard grooves, including improved water evacuation capability, greater resistance to rubber contamination, better integrity, and improved longevity. The friction values for the trapezoidal grooves were comparable to the FAA standard grooves. Analysis of the data collected during this evaluation indicates that the new trapezoidal-shaped pavement groove should be considered an acceptable alternative for pavement grooving on airports.

Evaluation of Trapezoidal-Shaped Runway Grooves

DOT/FAA/TC-TN12/7
Author: James W. Patterson, Jr.
Format: Adobe Acrobat
File Size: 2.84 MB


new.gifWildlife biologists have conducted extensive research to better understand how migratory birds are negatively affected by
obstruction lights, which are used at night to warn pilots that they are approaching an obstruction hazard. The research concluded
that migratory birds appear to be attracted to the steady-burning (i.e., nonflashing) obstruction lights on communication towers
and, as a result, thousands of birds are killed annually through collisions with these obstructions. Wildlife organizations, the
telecommunication industry, and the Federal Communication Commission collectively approached the Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) and requested that the FAA consider redefining their standards for obstruction lighting to either omit or
flash the normally steady-burning red lights to reduce their impact on the mortality rates of migratory birds.

In the research reported here, the FAA Airport Technology Research and Development Team evaluated the proposal to omit or
flash the normally steady-burning red lights. In addition, researchers evaluated the potential benefit of using light-emitting diode
obstruction lights instead of conventional incandescent obstruction lights as a way to mitigate their impact on birds, due to their
unique color and flash pattern. A series of flight evaluations was conducted to compare the obstruction lighting on several
communication towers in the northern Michigan area. A tower that was equipped with a nonstandard lighting configuration in
which the steady-burning red lights were programmed to flash in unison with the red flashing lights was also included in the
flight evaluation.

The results showed that flashing the steady-burning lights was acceptable for small towers (151 to 350 feet in height) and that
they could be omitted on taller towers (over 351 feet) so long as the remaining brighter, flashing lights were operational. The
optimal flash rate for the brighter lights to flash simultaneously was determined to be between 27 and 33 flashes per minute
(fpm). Flashing at slower speeds (under 27 fpm) did not provide the necessary conspicuity for pilots to clearly acquire the
obstruction at night without the steady-burning lights, and flashing at faster speeds (over 33 fpm), the lights were not off long
enough to be less of an attractant to migratory birds.

Based on the results of this research, the FAA proposes to make specific changes to the obstruction lighting standards, including
a proposal to omit or flash steady-burning red lights from several obstruction lighting configurations.

EVALUATION OF NEW OBSTRUCTION LIGHTING TECHNIQUES TO REDUCE AVIAN FATALITIES

DOT/FAA/TC-TN12/9
Author: James W. Patterson, Jr.
Format: Adobe Acrobat
File Size: 1.08 MB


new.gifAirport sponsors who accept federal funding are obligated to make the aircraft facility available to all aeronautical activities, including parachuting and skydiving. Due to the lack of guidance concerning parachute landing areas (PLA) for airports that are able to accommodate nontraditional aeronautical activities (such as skydiving), research was conducted to determine the recommended size and location of PLAs on airports and provide guidance material.
To do this, transition data were collected from airports currently supporting parachute operations, and international and military standards were examined. Site visits were conducted and subject matter experts were consulted.
It was determined that the experience of the parachutist and type of parachute used should be considered in developing the size of the PLA. It was also determined that the edge of the PLA should be located no closer than 40 feet from a hazard. In addition, the report includes recommendations for operational procedures and practices.

Development of Criteria for Parachute Landing Areas on Airports

DOT/FAA/AR-11/30
Author: Lauren Vitagliano, Donald W. Gallagher, and Holly Cyrus
Format: Adobe Acrobat
File Size: 577 KB


new.gifIn 2008, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airport Technology Research and Development Team conducted a performance assessment of the iFerret™, electro-optical, foreign object debris (FOD) detection system. This assessment included the system’s capability to detect objects of various shapes, sizes, and materials at all locations on the runway surface. The system’s capability to detect FOD during both nighttime and daytime conditions, in periods of sun, rain, mist, fog, and snow was also assessed.

A comprehensive performance assessment of the technology was demonstrated at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD). Installation of iFerret sensors was completed at ORD in late 2008, and extensive data collection was conducted from June 2009 through July 2010. These were supplemented by an assessment of an iFerret installation at Singapore’s Changi International Airport in May 2009. At the conclusion of the data collection process, the FAA had sufficient data to conclude the performance assessment. The iFerret FOD detection system was able to detect objects of various shapes, sizes, and materials on runway surfaces, taxiways, and aprons and was able to perform satisfactorily in nighttime, daytime, sun, rain, mist, fog, and snow conditions, as required by FAA Advisory Circular 150/5220-24, “Airport Foreign Object Debris (FOD) Detection Equipment.”

Performance Assessment of an Electro-Optical-Based Foreign Object Debris Detection System

DOT/FAA/AR-11/13
Author: Edwin E. Herricks*, Peter Lazar III*,
Elizabeth Woodworth*, and James Patterson, Jr.**
Format: Adobe Acrobat
File Size: 628 KB


new.gifSince the introduction of the High-Reach Extendable Turret (HRET) to the Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) industry, approximately 400 HRET, have been retrofitted into existing ARFF vehicles or purchased with new ARFF vehicles worldwide. Some advantages and benefits of this technology include increased throw range performance, increased range of turret motion, more efficient agent application by applying agent at the seat of the fire, faster extinguishment of two-dimensional pool and three-dimensional flowing fuel fires, and the ability to penetrate inside an aircraft to cool the interior cabin and extinguish the fire. This added capability can increase passenger survivability, protect property, and extinguish fire faster during an aircraft postcrash incident.

The purpose of this research was to document the effects of the installation of the 65-ft HRET on the predelivery inspection test of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Striker ARFF research vehicle (FAA Striker). The second key objective was to evaluate the performance and firefighting effectiveness of the 65-ft HRET in and around new large aircraft, such as the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 747-8.

TEST AND EVALUATION OF NEXT GENERATION 65-FOOT, HIGH-REACH EXTENDABLE TURRET

DOT/FAA/AR-11/15
Author: Keith Bagot and John Hawk
Format: Adobe Acrobat
File Size: 1.77MB


new.gifThis report describes the details of a theoretical analysis of the firefighting agent amounts carried by aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) equipment. The report is a detailed heat transfer and suppression analysis of fuel spill fires on exposed aircraft. This analysis addressed various factors in assessing current ARFF agent requirements. The amount of firefighting agent necessary to prevent interior aircraft ignition and allow for safe egress is presented for representative fuel spill fire scenarios and ARFF arrival times. The scenarios consider wind conditions, aircraft and fuel spill sizes, aircraft skin thickness, and aircraft insulation/construction. For example, fires burning in wind conditions will have a different flame shape and flame length than a fire burning under calm conditions with all other parameters held constant. The analysis also found that the time required to melt the aluminum skin is strongly dependent on the exposure heat flux and on the skin thickness but not on the insulation thickness.


Analysis of Suppression Effects on Aviation Fuel Fires Around an Aircraft

DOT/FAA/AR-11/27
Author: Joseph L. Scheffey, Robert L. Darwin, and Sean Hunt
Format: Adobe Acrobat
File Size: 1.63MB


new.gifThe Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) continues to assess ways to prevent runway incursions and other airport operational incursions, especially during ground vehicle operations at airport. The FAA Airport Technology Research and Development Team conducted research for the development of an airport ground vehicle runway incursion warning system. The objectives were to evaluate navigation devices and their technology for use in airport vehicles to prevent airport incursions, provide recommendations for criteria for the design and operation of a system defining both minimum and optimal features, and provide cost estimates for the procurement of the equipment.

DEVELOPMENT OF AN AIRPORT GROUND VEHICLE RUNWAY INCURSION WARNING SYSTEM

DOT/FAA/AR-11/26
Author: Nicholas Subbotin
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 1.40 MB


new.gifIn 2008, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airport Technology Research and Development Team initiated research to conduct a performance assessment of the Trex Enterprises FOD Finder™, a mobile, radar-based foreign object debris (FOD) detection system. This assessment included the system’s capability to detect objects of various shapes, sizes, and materials at all locations on the runway surface. The system’s capability to detect FOD during both nighttime and daytime conditions, in periods of sun, rain, mist, fog, and snow was also assessed.

Performance Assessment of a Mobile, Radar-Based Foreign Object Debris Detection System

DOT/FAA/AR-11/12
Author: Edwin E. Herricks, Elizabeth Woodworth, Sid Majumdar, and James Patterson, Jr.
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 1.03 MB


In 2004, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airport Technology Research and Development Team initiated a research program to conduct a performance assessment of the QinetiQ, Ltd. Tarsier Foreign Object Debris (FOD) detection radar system. The purpose of this assessment was to identify key operational characteristics and limitations of the system at an active air carrier airport, including the system’s ability to detect objects of various shapes, sizes, and materials at all locations on the runway surface. The system’s ability to detect FOD during both nighttime and daytime conditions, in periods of sun, rain, mist, fog, and in light and heavy snow was also assessed. In January 2005, the FAA developed plans for a comprehensive performance assessment of the technology at the Providence T. F. Green International Airport. Installation of the Tarsier system was completed in April 2007. Extensive data collection campaigns were conducted from June 2007 to March 2008. At the conclusion of the data collection process, the FAA had sufficient data to conclude the performance assessment. The QinetiQ Ltd. Tarsier FOD detection radar system was found to detect the necessary objects of various shapes, sizes, and materials on the runway surface and was able to perform satisfactorily in nighttime, daytime, sun, rain, mist, fog, and snow conditions, as required by FAA Advisory Circular 150/5220-24, “Airport Foreign Object Debris (FOD) Detection Equipment.”

Performance Assessment of a Radar-Based Foreign Object Debris Detection System

DOT/FAA/AR-10/33

Author: Edwin E. Herricks, Elizabeth Woodworth, Sid Majumdar, and James Patterson, Jr.
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 1.97 MB


The objective was to evaluate the performance of the FAA 6x6 ARFF research vehicle with and without the RWS system. The performance was measured in terms of changes in turning diameter, tire deflection, tread wear, and actual tire life data from U.S. airports operating 6x6 ARFF vehicles. The results show RWS improved the turning diameter in both the clockwise and counterclockwise directions. Tire deflection analysis did not show any significant differences with or without RWS. Tread wear
results showed that the front and rear tires on both sides had significantly less tread wear over an equivalent 40-mile test distance compared to the wear measured without RWS. Responses to the airport fire department customer survey indicated that vehicles equipped with RWS showed less tire wear, resulting in extended tire life and increased stability/handling of the vehicle.

Test and Evaluation of Rear-Wheel Steering for Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Vehicles

Report Number: DOT/FAA/AR-TN08/43

Author: Keith Bagot, Jennifer Kalberer*, and Michael McDonald*
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 352 KB


Five types of retro-reflective beads were evaluated: three are currently approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for use on airfield markings, as indicated in FAA Advisory Circular 150/5370-10D and two are the newly proposed retro-reflective beads. This evaluation covered a 1-year period starting in August 2008.

This research validates previous research performed on Type I, Type III, and Type IV retro-reflective beads. No previous research was performed on the two newly proposed retro-reflective beads.
The initial application tests concerning coverage, water, and pull-off strength were deemed successful.
On new HMA, the test marking with Type IV retro-reflective beads remained conspicuous for the longest period of time. Type I, Type III, and Manufacturer B retro-reflective beads remained conspicuous for approximately half that time, and Manufacturer A for approximately one-quarter of the time.

All the approved retro-reflective beads proved suitable for use on aged HMA and aged PCC over a 1-year period. The proposed retro-reflective beads from Manufacturer A and Manufacturer B also proved suitable for use on aged HMA and aged PCC.

Evaluation of Retro-Reflective Beads to Increase Airport Surface Marking Conspicuity

DOT/FAA/AR-TN10/10

Author: Anthony J. Previti*, Holly Cyrus, and Donald W. Gallagher
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 1.45 MB

Retro-reflective beads are designed to redirect and return light back to its source. The inclusion of retro-reflective beads in painted surface markings can increase their conspicuity. It has been suggested that Type III retro-reflective beads, which have a higher index of refraction (IOR) compared to Type I beads, will substantially increase the conspicuity of paint markings and could help prevent runway incursions. The FAA uses Federal Specification TT-B-1325D, “Beads (Glass Spheres) Retro-Reflective,” to specify retro-reflective beads.

The majority of the test subjects involved in the tests at both ACY and SAV stated they do not use runway markings as a visual cue on approach to a runway at night. They focus on the runway lights. Of the subjects participating, all but one reported no difference in ease of detection between Type I and Type III bead markings.

Airborne Evaluation of Retro-Reflective Beads

DOT/FAA/AR-TN10/8

Author: Anthony J. Previti*, Holly Cyrus, and Donald W. Gallagher
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 793 KB

As part of a multiple-year Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airport Safety Technology Research & Development Program, avian radar units were deployed at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and the Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Oak Harbor, Washington, by the University of Illinois Center of Excellence in Airport Technology. This report provides a general protocol for avian radar deployment and addresses a wide range of issues associated with radar use in the complex environment of a typical civil airport. The actual activities that must be completed for avian radar deployment will be site- and situation-specific.

DEPLOYMENT OF AVIAN RADARS AT CIVIL AIRPORTS

DOT/FAA/AR-09/61
Author: Edwin E. Herricks*, Elizabeth Woodworth*, and Ryan King**
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 4166 KB


This report is the first of a two-part study focused on the subject of reporting wildlife strikes with civil aircraft in the U.S. and examines current strike reporting trends to determine if the current voluntary system is providing a sufficient quantity of data to support an accurate, statistical understanding of the national wildlife strike issue.

TRENDS IN WILDLIFE STRIKE REPORTING, PART 1—VOLUNTARY SYSTEM 1990-2008

DOT/FAA/AR-09/65
Author: Richard A. Dolbeer, Ph.D.*
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 468 KB

This report is Part 2 of a two-part study to determine if changes are needed in the way wildlife strike data are collected by the FAA, and in particular, if mandatory strike reporting is needed.

WILDLIFE STRIKE REPORTING, PART 2—SOURCES OF DATA IN VOLUNTARY SYSTEM

DOT/FAA/AR-09/63
Author: Richard A. Dolbeer, Ph.D.*
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 277 KB


This paper brings under one cover the subject of aircraft braking performance and a variety of related phenomena that lead to aircraft hydroplaning, overruns, and toss of directional control. Complex processes involving tire deformation, tire slipping, and fluid pressures in the tire runway contact area develop the friction forces for retarding the aircraft; this paper describes the physics of these processes. The paper reviews the past and present research efforts and concludes that the most effective way to combat the hazards associated with aircraft landings and takeoffs on contaminated runways is by measuring and displaying in realtime the braking performance parameters in the aircraft cockpit.

Braking Performance of Aircraft Tires

Author: Satish K. Agrawal, Ph.D.
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 4.32 MB


The Benefit of Runway Grooving

Presentation slides by Hector Daiutolo providing a synopsis of the information in the three reports listed below.

A Runway Grooving Video is embedded in the above presentation. If you want to download the presentation make sure you also download the video.


Introduction of transverse grooves on runways improves braking and cornering performance of aircraft during operations In wet weather conditions and helps to alleviate hydroplaning. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has recommended 1/4-inch
square grooves spaced at 1-1/2 inches for installation on runways where the potential of hydroplaning exists. However, a large number of runways remain nongrooved. The major reasons are the high cost of groove installation and limited evidence as to the
effectiveness of the grooved surfaces at the touchdown speeds of modern aircraft.

THE BRAKING PERFORMANCE OF AN AIRCRAFT TIRE ON GROOVED PORTLAND CEMENT CONCRETE SURFACES

DOT/FAA/RD 80-78
Author: Satish K. Agrawal and Hector Daiutolo
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 30.6 MB


Runway grooving is an effective surface treatment that reduces the danger of hydroplaning to an aircraft landing on a water covered runway. Grooves are usually cut by diamond-tipped rotatory blades; square grooves of l/4-inch size are widely used.
Other surface treatments include grooving by a reflex-percussive cutting process, Grooving while the concrete is in plastic state, and the porous friction overlays. Grooving in plastic state is limited to portland cement concrete runways only while the other treatments can be applied to both the portland cement concrete and the asphaltic concrete surfaces. The effectiveness of some of these treatments has not been evaluated on asphaltic concrete surfaces prior to the initiation of this study.

Braking of an Aircraft Tire on Grooved and Porous Asphaltic Concrete


DOT/FAA/CT-82/147
Author: Satish K. Agrawal
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 26.7 MB


Runway surface treatments, such as grooves, can minimize the danger of aircraft hydroplaning by reducing the water buildup on the runway and by facilitating forced water escape from the tire-runway interface. Square saw-cut grooves of 1/4-inch size with spacing between 1 inch and 2 1/2 inches have been widely used, the former providing a higher resistance to hydroplaning. Other surface treatments that have been reported as being effective in minimizing aircraft hydroplaning include porous friction overlay and reflex-percussive grooves. The latter being offered as a potential cost-effective alternative to square saw-cut grooves.

Modified Reflex-Percussive Grooves for Runways

DOT/FAA/CT-84/7
Author: Satish K. Agrawal
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 15.6 MB


Takeoff hold lights (THL) are positioned along the runway centerline, and when illuminated, they are visible to an aircraft pilot at the beginning of the runway preparing for takeoff. Normally, these lights are off. A Runway Status Light (RWSL) System monitors the runway occupancy status and conveys this information to the pilots, ground vehicle operators, and others using special lighting components such as the THLs. Specifically, when a runway is occupied, the RWSL System turns on the THLs and provides a conspicuous visual warning to pilots preparing for takeoff that they should not continue.
Project personnel from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airport Safety Technology Research and Development Subteam evaluated four THL configurations on Runway 13 at the Atlantic City International Airport. Three configurations contained a double row of red lights and one contained a single row of red lights. Project personnel collected data on the appearance of each configuration and recorded their findings on questionnaires.
The results of this evaluation validated previous findings by the FAA Airport Safety Technology Research and Development Subteam that the double-row THL configuration spaced 6 ft from the runway centerline was more effective than the other three configurations. The 6-ft spacing created very distinct lines that did not, at any time, blend with the runway centerline fixtures. As a result, this configuration created a more conspicuous signal that was easily acquired by the pilots. Using double-row THLs significantly enhanced the THL system.

Runway Status Lights: Takeoff Hold Lighting System Evaluation

DOT/FAA/AR-TN09/25
Author: James Patterson
August 2009
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 1.58 MB


Due to the harsh conditions of airport environments, frequent repainting of existing waterborne pavement markings is required. This painting is expensive and affects life-cycle costs. A thermoplastic marking material has been identified as an alternative to the existing waterborne material. The purpose of this research effort was to determine if this thermoplastic marking material is as effective as the current waterborne material in terms of its retro-reflectivity, chromaticity, friction properties, and its adherence to the airport pavement surface.

Two types of thermoplastic materials were applied on asphalt and concrete surfaces at the Federal Aviation Administration William J. Hughes Technical Center and were evaluated for 1 year starting in June 2006. These materials were also applied on concrete pavement surfaces at the Newark Liberty International Airport and evaluated for 1 year starting in August 2006. One thermoplastic material was 60-mil thick with Type I and III beads and was applied on a heated surface; the other material was 90-mil thick with Type I and IV beads and was applied on cold surface. Retro-reflectivity was measured using a retro-reflectometer; a spectrophotometer was used to measure chromaticity, a Dyna-Meter Pull-Off tester was used to measure adherence strength, and a Saab Surface Friction Tester was used to measure friction properties. Most measurements were taken on a monthly basis.

The results showed that the retro-reflectivity characteristics of thermoplastic marking materials were acceptable. The chromaticity of the thermoplastic was within tolerance for white, red, yellow, and black. The average friction readings recorded on thermoplastic were significantly lower than those taken on bare pavement and about 50% less than waterborne paint. The adherence showed that preparation is necessary for a good bond. The tensile strength of the bond between the thermoplastic marking material and hot-mix asphalt was acceptable. The tensile strength of the bond between the thermoplastic marking material and Portland cement concrete was acceptable when an additional adhesive was applied.

Based on the result of this evaluation, thermoplastic marking material is recommended for taxiways.

Evaluation of Thermoplastic Marking Materials

DOT/FAA/AR-TN08/22
Authors: Holly Cyrus and Anthony J. Previti
May 2008
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 2.74MB


This study was conducted to determine how light emitting diode (LED) taxiway edge lights affect the operation of Constant Current Regulators (CCR). Some CCRs turn off due to overvoltage or overcurrent because of LED taxiway edge lights.

A test bed was developed to measure and record the voltage and current supplied to an LED taxiway edge fixture as power was applied. The test bed setup consisted of an LED taxiway edge fixture, circuit current control subsystem for constant current to the taxiway edge fixture, and a data acquisition subsystem, which collected the data for analysis. Five types of LED taxiway edge fixtures were used for the testing.

The baseline incandescent taxiway edge fixture had a smooth power curve. Two of the five LED taxiway edge light fixtures showed significant peak power volt ampere (VA) loading after power-up compared to the loading during normal operation. The highest peak power VA was 163% of the nominal VA required.

Based on the results of this study, the following are recommendations for future operation of LED taxiway edge lighting fixtures.

  •  The peak power VA required by an LED taxiway edge lighting fixture should not exceed the nominal operating power VA by more than 10% for the fixture. When the peak load is limited to 10%, the CCR will have enough reserve capacity to support the load and should easily adjust so that it will not trip off due to an overvoltage condition.

  •  The LED taxiway edge light fixture should not drop the power VA required at a given step by more than 10%. When the power VA load suddenly drops, the CCR can trip off due to overcurrent. By limiting the power VA drop to 10%, the overcurrent protection function of the CCR should easily adjust so that it will not trip off due to an overcurrent condition.

Light Emitting Diode Taxiway Lighting Effects on Constant Current Regulator Stability

DOT/FAA/AR-TN08/29
May 2008
Authors: Holly M. Cyrus and Jess Nadel
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 221KB


Airports generally use two common strategies for keeping snow and ice buildup on aircraft movement areas to a minimum. The practice of anti-icing is primarily preventive, where the formation or development of bonded snow and ice is minimized by timely applications of a chemical freezing-point depressant (FPD) in advance and sometimes during each winter precipitation event. Deicing on the other hand is a primarily reactive practice because the FPD is not applied until snow or ice has already accumulated and formed a bond to the pavement surface. There are advantages and disadvantages to both practices. Anti-icing has the potential of lower costs due to less chemical being used than in deicing; however, a more systematic approach is often needed.

This report documents a study that was conducted on a new pavement coating that offers unique anti-icing characteristics that have the potential to reduce the costs and environmental impact associated with airport pavement anti-icing. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the anti-icing coating in terms of its anti-icing performance compared to adjacent pavement surfaces that did not have the coating. In addition, the durability and friction characteristics of the coating were measured and observed over the course of the evaluation. The anti-icing coating was applied to a 200-foot section of pavement on taxiway Kilo at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. The evaluation was conducted from November 2004 through July 2005.

Anti-icing Pavement Coating Study at Chicago O'Hare International Airport

DOT/FAA/AR-06/58
Authors: Nathan M. Carroll and Barry J. Dempsey
March 2007
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 2.06MB


The National Transportation Safety Board accident/incident database and the Aviation Safety Reporting System have reported pilots mistakenly landing on the taxiways adjacent to runways. As of August 23, 2007, 267 such events have occurred at 110 airports in the United States. These inadvertent landings create a safety hazard that must be eliminated. This technical note provides guidance on techniques that can be implemented at airports to reduce or eliminate this problem. Two scenarios were considered during this research effort: (1) prevent the pilot from inadvertently lining up with the taxiway during the approach, and (2) prevent the pilot from landing on the taxiway if the first effort fails. Four visual aid enhancements were tested at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and Palm Beach International Airport: an elevated lighted X, artificial turf, omnidirectional runway end identifier lights, and an in-pavement lighted X. Each piece of equipment was placed on the taxiway and was evaluated one at a time while making final approaches to the runway with the exception of the artificial turf and omnidirectional lights, which were turned on constantly. Based on the results, it was concluded that an elevated lighted X and an in-pavement lighted X were seen at an average distance of 4.5 nm. Omnidirectional lights and green artificial turf were seen at a distance of 5.0 nm.

To eliminate similar occurrences at Lincoln Airport, the Airport Authority has implemented installation of nonstandard taxiway markings, such as surface-painted A, surface-painted TAXI ONLY, and a painted serpentine marking. This investigation found that all solutions have some deficiencies: the painted A looks similar to a displaced threshold chevron, the word TAXI in the painted TAXI ONLY is sufficient to perform the intended task, and the serpentine markings were not clearly visible from the air. It was concluded that airport geometry is a major causal factor in all these incidents and should be eliminated in the early design phases of the airport.

Identification Techniques to Reduce Confusion Between Taxiways and Adjacent Runways

DOT/FAA/AR-TN07/54
Authors: James W. Patterson, Jr. & Renee N. Frierson
September 2007
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 1.7MB


Note: Changes have been made to this report, click the link below for the updated version.

Technological advances and firefighting research have helped improve new firefighting systems on large and small aircraft rescue and firefighting vehicles at airports. One such technology is a quad-agent firefighting system that has the capability to discharge four firefighting agents, i.e., water, foam, dry chemical (potassium bicarbonate (PK)), and clean agent (Halotron), individually or simultaneously. Water by itself is typically not used for aviation fuel firefighting. The water in the quad-agent system is used to mix with foam concentrate solution to create firefighting foam. The quad-agent firefighting system attempts to advance the concept of multiple agents simultaneously applied to the fire to affect a more rapid extinguishment of pool and flowing fuel fires, and maximize fire fighter safety by extending the distance needed to properly apply agent to the fire using its pulse delivery technology.

This research evaluated the capabilities and effectiveness of a quad-agent firefighting system. The research was done in terms of using different combinations of firefighting agents from the same discharge point during an agent flow duration test, agent discharge distance test, engine nacelle flowing fuel fires, and large-scale pool fires.

The results showed that during the agent flow duration tests, using aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) only, the quad-agent system produced an average flow duration of 155 seconds in compressed air foam (CAF) mode. Agent discharge distance results, using AFFF only, showed that the system produced its greatest average distance at a 20° discharge angle. The results from the engine nacelle with 30-ft-diameter ring and concrete pad flowing fuel fires showed the quad-agent system was capable of extinguishing the fires using AFFF only and its agent combinations with AFFF. Individual test results and agent combination averages differed throughout testing. Discharging AFFF, PK, and Halotron agents simultaneously did not significantly decrease the extinguishment time compared to the AFFF and PK combination. The results from the large-scale pool fires showed that the quad-agent system was capable of extinguishing the fire using AFFF only and its agent combinations with AFFF. Individual test results and agent combination averages differed throughout testing. Discharging AFFF, PK, and Halotron agents simultaneously did not significantly decrease the total extinguishment time or total agent discharge times compared to other agent combinations. During the engine nacelle flowing fuel fires and large-scale pool fires, discharging, AFFF, PK, and Halotron agents simultaneously was a less efficient use of available firefighting agent based on average test results. However, the quad-agent system’s ability to discharge its agents at the same discharge point will allow a fire fighter to adapt a fire attack as to what agent or agents they could use when extinguishing a fire.

Evaluation of Quad-Agent Small Firefighting System

DOT/FAA/AR-TN06/13
Authors: Keith Bagot & Nick Subbotin
May 2006
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 1.5MB


This report describes a research effort that was accomplished to correct a safety deficiency with a Visual Approach Slope Indicator (VASI) system at the Pearson Field Airpark in Vancouver, Washington. During a recent inspection flight, the VASI system was found to be emitting signals that could potentially draw an approaching aircraft dangerously close to an obstruction near the final approach path. As a result, the system was shut down. Engineers from the Airport Technology Research and Development Branch visited the site to analyze the problem, collect data on the geometry of the obstruction, the baffles, and the general layout of the airport, and finally install and test the new baffles to make sure they operate properly. Engineers designed, constructed, and installed aluminum baffles that blocked the signal from the obstruction area, and provided a 2 degree margin of safety between the obstruction and the visible signal of the VASI.

Modification of Visual Approach Slope Indicator Baffles at Pearson Field Airpark, Vancouver, WA
DOT/FAA/AR-TN-07-12
Author: James W. Patterson, Jr.
June 2007
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 700KB


 

Paint markings on runways and taxiways are damaged from ultraviolet rays, stained by aircraft fuel, and discolored. Glass coatings, used as a sealant for the paint, have shown promise as a possible solution to these problems.

The research effort described in this report investigates the effectiveness of an Anchored Dendritic Silicate Interactive Linkages (Adsil) Ambient Temperature Cure glass coating material in protecting the color and retro-reflectivity of the paint markings. The paint markings in this study included two types of beads for better visual acquisition.

Testing was conducted at the Jacksonville Naval Air Station and Whitehouse Outlying Landing Field. The tests measured resistance to abrasion, mildew, rust staining, oil staining, and ultraviolet weathering.

The results of the tests showed Adsil glass coating reduced retro-reflectivity. The white markings with type I beads and Adsil reduced the retro-reflectivity by 66% from 318 to 109 millicandelas per meter squared per lux (mcd/m2/lx). The white markings with type III beads and Adsil reduced the retro-reflectivity by 57% from 1270 to 549 mcd/m2/lx. The yellow marking with type I beads and Adsil reduced the retro-reflectivity by 34% from 144 to 94 mcd/m2/lx. The yellow markings with type III beads and Adsil reduced the retro-reflectivity by 44% from 475 to 265 mcd/m2/lx. The combination of Adsil coating with type I beads was not recommended due to the very low retro-reflectivity of 109 mcd/m2/lx for white and 94 mcd/m2/lx for yellow. When using type III beads, the retro-reflectivity, while still reduced (549 mcd/m2/lx for white and 265 mcd/m2/lx for yellow), was not as low as with type I beads. In the second case, Adsil should only be considered when other benefits such as resistance to mildew, rust staining, and oil staining would make the reduced retro-reflectivity an acceptable compromise.

The following research paper is available in Adobe Acrobat Reader format if you click on the document description below.

Adsil Glass Coating Study
DOT/FAA/AR-TN05-43
Author: Holly Cyrus
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 266KB

Contact Project Lead: Holly Cyrus, AAR-411


This research was conducted to determine if polyester marking material would be an acceptable addition to the existing paint materials specified in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Advisory Circular 150/5370-10A Item P-620, Runway and Taxiway Painting. The polyester marking material was applied on the FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center at the FAA ramp, Pangborne Road, and the Pavement Test Facility for an evaluation period of 1 year starting in August 2004. Three different types of pavement were used during the tests: Hot-Mix Asphalt, Aged Portland Cement Concrete, and New Portland Cement Concrete. The chromaticity, retro-reflectivity, baseline, pull-off strength, and friction tests were performed on the polyester marking material.

Based on the test results, the polyester marking material maintained its retro-reflectivity, but the chromaticity level for yellow was not acceptable. When simulated in a high-traffic airport environment, the polyester marking material failed (disintegrated) after less than a day’s worth of operations. Therefore, the polyester marking material is not suitable for the airport environment.

The research paper entitled “Polyester Marking Material Study” can be obtained in adobe format if you click on this link. This document describes the research performed concerning the suitability of polyester on the airport environment.

Polyester Marking Material Study
DOT/FAA/AR-TN06-33
Author: Holly Cyrus
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 550KB

Contact Project Lead: Holly Cyrus, AAR-411


Pavement markings must endure the harsh airport environment. Standard waterborne, epoxy, methacrylate, and solvent base markings require frequent repainting causing the life-cycle cost to increase significantly. An elastomer material used on highways, called polyurea, has been identified as a potential alternative to existing standard pavement marking materials.

This research effort was undertaken (1) to determine the effectiveness of the polyurea marking material for use on airport surfaces, (2) to determine if retro-reflective beads are compatible with the polyurea marking material, (3) to determine if grading or sieving the beads during application results in a better retro-reflectivity, and (4) to determine how well polyurea marking material bonds to the pavement if a seal coat is applied first.

Three manufacturers’ products were applied at two locations: the Federal Aviation Administration William J. Hughes Technical Center and Newark Liberty International Airport. Both asphalt and concrete test surfaces were chosen. The polyurea marking material was applied at a thickness of 20 mil on each test surface. The Four types of beads applied to the polyurea marking material during the evaluation were Type I – 1.5 Index of Refraction (IOR), Type III – 1.9 IOR, Ceramic – 1.8 IOR, and Plus 9 – 1.9 IOR. During the 1-year test period, retro-reflectivity, chromaticity, pull-off strength, friction, and water recovery tests were conducted.

The results showed that:

  1. Polyurea is not effective in a high-traffic area on both asphalt and concrete surfaces when using Type III beads based on retro-reflectivity. Polyurea tested on concrete with Type I beads was still effective after 6 months, based on retro-reflectivity.

  2. Ceramic beads are not compatible with polyurea marking material in a high-traffic area. Plus 9 beads were found to be compatible with polyurea marking material when installed in a low-traffic area.

  3. Sieving the beads does not improve the retro-reflectivity.

  4. Polyurea marking material does not bond well to pavements if a seal coat is applied first.
    It is recommended that additional tests be conducted to determine if polyurea marking material using Plus 9 beads is effective in high-traffic areas.


Polyurea Paint Marking Material Study
DOT/FAA/AR-TN06-46
Author: Holly Cyrus
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 817KB

Contact Project Lead: Holly Cyrus, AAR-411


This report describes the evaluation of L-853 cylindrical retro-reflective markers that are used on airports to increase night identification of runway edges, centerline, and taxiway edges. Approved retro-reflective markers use either retro-reflective sheeting or tape, which are mounted on plastic-molded material that are cylindrical or flat surfaces. The minimum standard size for a cylinder-mounted marker is 96 square inches. This evaluation was performed to determine if increasing the standard size to 200 square inches would improve the markers’ conspicuity to aircraft and ground vehicles and to determine if the location of aircraft-mounted landing lamps have any effect on the visibility of the retro-reflective markers. Based on the results, it was determined that 96-square inch retro-reflective material is adequate. The results of this study also indicated that aircraft landing lamps mounted closer to the observer’s eye gave the best visibility of the retro-reflective markers, whereas the aircraft landing lamps mounted at the wing tips gave the worst visibility of the retro-reflective markers.

The research paper entitled “L-853 Cylindrical Runway and Taxiway Retro-Reflective Markers Study” is available in Adobe Acrobat Reader format if you click on the document description below.

L-853 Cylindrical Runway and Taxiway Retro-Reflective Markers Study
Author: Holly Cyrus
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 715KB

Contact Project Lead: Holly Cyrus, AAR-411


Taxiways that go around the runway ends are called End Around Taxiways, or EAT. Airports with dual and triple parallel runways can have increased operational capacity and reduced risk of potential runway incursions when EATs are created. EAT visual screens are generally required at the end of the operational runway to clearly indicate to the pilot if an aircraft is in the process of crossing the active runway, or if they are on the EAT. This report describes the best design characteristics of an EAT visual screens. It was determined that a 13 foot high screen consisting of engineering grade reflective material with 12 foot wide red and white diagonal striping proved most effective, and that the use of the reflective material prevents the need for additional external lighting to enhance screen visibility at night.

End - Around Taxiway Screen Evaluation

DOT/FAA/AR-TN06/59
Author: James W. Patterson, Jr.
March 2007
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 1.43MB


Runway Guard Lights (RGL), both in-pavement and elevated, when used in conjunction with FAA approved illuminated signs and painted hold position markings, have successfully reduced the potential for runway incursions at major air carrier airports. RGLs have not yet, however, been recommended for use at general aviation (GA) airports.

The purpose of this research effort was to determine if RGLs, either in the in-pavement, elevated, or “T” configuration, could offer the same safety enhancement to general aviation airports as they do to air carrier airports, despite the fact general aviation airports are smaller in size, are far less complex in design, and have closer separations between runways and taxiways. Eight test locations were selected at the North Las Vegas Airport for evaluation. Subject pilots were asked to navigate a vehicle on the airport surface, and indicated the distances at which selected lights, signs, and markings were visible, and to clearly indicate the point at which they must stop until clearance to enter or cross an active runway is received from Air Traffic Control.

Evaluation of Runway Guard Light Configurations at North Las Vegas Airport

DOT/FAA/AR-TN06/19
Authors: James W. Patterson
January 2007
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 840KB


The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Advisory Circular (AC) 150/5340-30, “Design and Installation Details of Airport Visual Aids,” requires that properly installed taxiway centerline fixtures should, when placed on a taxiway curve with radii between 75 and 399 feet, maintain that three lights are visible from the cockpit, provide information to the pilot on how sharp the curve is, provide the pilot with an indication of how far off the taxiway centerline the aircraft might be, and visually look the same from both directions of travel.

Typically, the FAA type L-852D taxiway centerline fixture is spaced at 12.5 feet when placed on a taxiway curve with radii between 75 and 399 feet. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) version of the taxiway centerline fixture, which is designed specifically for curved applications, is spaced at 25 feet when placed on the same taxiway curve.

The objective of this research was to determine what would happen if the FAA type L-852D taxiway centerline fixture was placed at a spacing of 25 feet; the same spacing as the ICAO fixture.

Installation Criteria for Taxiway Centerline Lights

DOT/FAA/AR-TN06/6

Authors: James W. Patterson
May 2006
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 275KB


This report describes a research effort that was conducted to investigate and validate the feasibility of installing alternating yellow and green taxiway centerline lights on taxiway segments located between the runway hold position markings and the runway centerline in the direction approaching the runway. This lighting configuration would serve as a visual cue to pilots and vehicle drivers that they are about to enter the runway environment/runway safety area (RSA). The objective of this research effort was to determine how the proposed lighting configuration would appear to pilots approaching the hold line (runway environment/RSA), to determine if presently available lighting fixtures are adequate for the purpose, if present spacing standards are adequate for the purpose, if pilots interpret the purpose of the new configuration correctly, and the cost factors involved in making such a change.


After considering all of the data and information gathered during the evaluation effort, the concept of illuminating the runway environment area with alternating yellow and green centerline fixtures was found to be a cost-efficient, easy to deploy tool that will have an impact on reducing runway incursions at those airports that have existing taxiway centerline lights.

Alternating Yellow and Green Taxiway Centerline as a Runway Safety Enhancement

DOT/FAA/AR-TN05-51
Authors: James W. Patterson
November 2005
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 146KB


Wind turbines are being utilized in 32 of the 50 states in America, with predictions that turbines will at one time be constructed in all 50 states. The U.S. Department of Energy has mandated that renewable energy sources, such as wind turbines, will provide six percent of the nation’s electricity by the year 2020. With mandates such as this, it is almost certain that the country will see the rate of turbine construction greatly increase over the next several years.

Since these giant structures are considered obstructions, of the greatest concerns is how they will affect air navigation. Standing at heights of up to 442 feet, the turbines have now become obstructions, as they exceed the 200 foot height limit as defined by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Federal Aviation Regulations (FARS). At heights above 200 feet, the FARS require that obstructions to air traffic be illuminated with the appropriate FAA approved flashing red, flashing white, or steady burning red light lighting as described in FAA Advisory Circular AC 70/7460-1K, titled Obstruction Lighting and Marking. The document includes some provisions for lighting or marking a single wind turbine, but does not provide any guidance for lighting a large group, or farm, of wind turbines.

Working jointly with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the FAA conducted an evaluation to develop standards that would provide necessary guidance for air traffic to easily acquire, identify, and avoid the wind turbines, yet at the same time, minimize any impact to the surrounding community or to any nearby wildlife. Researchers visited eleven wind turbine sites to document how the lighting was installed, how it appeared from the air during both daytime and nighttime conditions, and how it was perceived from the surrounding community.

This report describes the research that was conducted to provide the foundation for the creation of new guidelines for lighting wind turbine farms as obstructions. It includes information on the site visits, various research activities, and the construction and evaluation of a test site in Lawton, Oklahoma that was used to validate the new suggested guidelines. Finally, it provides specific recommendations on how wind turbines should be illuminated.

Development of Obstruction Lighting Standards for Wind Turbine Farms

DOT/FAA/AR-TN05-50
Authors: James W. Patterson
November 2005
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 451KB


A new liquid fire-extinguishing agent for combustible metal fires was evaluated. Aircraft rescue fire fighters may confront metal fires, such as magnesium and titanium, in aircraft brake assemblies, landing gear components, aircraft engines, and other structural components of aircraft. A combustible metal on fire could be a possible ignition source or a continuing source of ignition in an aircraft fire. The standard method for extinguishing combustible metal fires consists of using sodium chloride dry powder to smother the burning metal.

This evaluation determined the optimum chemical formulation and best extinguishing method using FEM-12 SC in hand-held extinguishers during the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) Research Program’s combustible metal fire-testing protocol. A further evaluation included aquatic-toxicity testing of FEM-12 SC, and the extinguishing performance of FEM-12 SC compared to sodium chloride dry powder in accordance with the parameters set forth in the American National Standards Institute/Underwriters Laboratories Incorporated 711 “Rating and Testing of Fire Extinguishers,” Section 10.2, Magnesium Fire Tests, Section 10.2.28, Magnesium Casting Fire Tests.

The tests conducted by the FAA ARFF Research Program determined optimum chemical formulation, FEM-12 SC, and the best extinguishing method using 240 pounds per square inch, high-pressure extinguishers in a straight-stream configuration. The aquatic-toxicity test results showed that FEM-12 SC was tested at 675 parts per million (ppm) median lethal concentration and was within the acceptable accuracy range of greater than 500 ppm. The extinguishing performance comparison results showed that sodium chloride extinguished a magnesium fire in an average of 102 seconds, twice as fast as FEM-12 SC. However, it created a potential long-term fire hazard due to its inability to cool the metal, which could redevelop into a fire if the sodium chloride-covered metal was disturbed. FEM-12 SC provided better cooling than sodium chloride so that the magnesium could be handled with bare hands within minutes of extinguishment. However, when FEM-12 SC came in direct contact with the burning magnesium, violent flare ups of the fire and flying magnesium sparks created potential fire hazards. Once the fire was extinguished, the fire hazards were eliminated.

Evaluation of New Liquid Fire-Extinguishing Agent for Combustible Metal Fires
DOT/FAA/AR-TN06-26
Authors: Keith Bagot & Nicholas Subbotin
November 2006
Format Adobe Acrobat
Size:  425KB


New tools like the high reach extendable turret (HRET) and aircraft skin penetrating nozzle are innovative devices that could potentially increase survivability of aircraft accidents, extinguish fires faster, and save lives. The evaluation was to determine the capabilities of a HRET, compare the results with the capabilities of a United States Air Force’s (USAF) P-19 Crash Truck, and to gain insight into the complexities of interior cabin suppression and extinguishment in a variety of possible postcrash aircraft fire scenarios. The high reach extendable turret and aircraft skin penetrating nozzle performed extraordinarily well in both research efforts. The HRET proved to be superior to the P-19 in its ability to use various attack modes, increased accuracy, faster extinguishing times, and safer delivery system. The penetrator nozzle demonstrated the control, suppression, and elimination of interior fire dynamics, fire growth, and reduced high interior cabin fire temperatures, including the ability to provide rapid positive pressure smoke ventilation. The HRET and penetrator nozzle presented new tools that will increase cabin survivability.

High-Reach Extendible Turrets With Skin Penetrating Nozzle
DOT/FAA/AR-05/53
Authors: Keith Bagot & Nicholas Subbotin
November 2005
Format Adobe Acrobat
Size:1.28MB


The medium intensity approach lighting system with runway alignment indicator lights operating on runway 32 at the Acrata/Eureka Airport in McKinleyville, California, was causing a severe glare hazard to motorists driving on a nearby highway that crossed through the system, approximately 1400 feet from the end of the runway. Engineers designed, developed, and constructed three different aluminum baffles specifically for the situation at the airport. Ground and flight evaluations were conducted to determine if the glare hazard had been evaluated without effecting the usability of the lights for approaching aircraft. The results of those evaluations have been released in the following Technical Note.

Design and Installation of Flasher Baffles at the Arcata/Eureka Airport
DOT/FAA/AR-TN05-41
Authors: James W. Patterson
August 2005
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 259KB


Advances in firefighting research have brought forth new concepts that have the potential for greatly enhancing firefighting capabilities of airport fire fighters.  The following link to FAA Technical Note 05/18 describes research conducted to evaluate various operating characteristics of a high-performance, multiposition, bumper-mounted turret and compared those characteristics to a roof-mounted turret.

Comparative Evaluation of the Effectiveness of a High-Performance, Multiposition, Bumper-mounted Turret to the Performance of a P-19 Roof-mounted Turret
DOT/FAA/AR-TN05/18
Authors: James Patterson, Charles Risinger, and Jennifer Kalberer
June 2005
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 1.2MB


 The following link to FAA Technical Note 05/10 describes a study to to evaluate taxiway edge fixtures using light emitting diode (LED) technology to determine (1) if electrical emission levels from these fixtures are sufficient to cause interference to airfield circuits and warrant further investigation and (2) if there is a need to change the certification requirements for these electrical emissions.

Light Emitting Diode Taxiway Edge Lights Emissions Evaluation
DOT/FAA/AR-TN05/10
Author: Holly M. Cyrus
March 2005
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 2.44MB


The following FAA Technical Note describes the evaluation that was conducted to determine the effectiveness and applicability of the LED configured in a linear array to enhance paint markings on the airport surface, and to develop specifications and certification procedures for these sources.

Evaluation of Light Emitting Diode Linear Source Devices
DOT/FAA/AR-TN05/2
Author: Donald W. Gallagher
January 2005
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 5.7MB


The following FAA Technical Note describes the evaluation of in-pavement runway guard lights, which are a series of alternate-flashing yellow, unidirectional in-pavement lighting fixtures equally spaced along a runway holding position marking that are only visible to aircraft approaching the hold position from the taxiway side of the fixture.

Evaluation of In-pavement Runway Guard Lights
DOT/FAA/AR-TN04/49
Author: James W. Patterson, Jr.
December 2004
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 398KB


The following report describes an evaluation of the L-853 cylindrical retro-reflective markers that are used on airports to increase night identification of runway edges, centerline, and taxiway edges. The evaluation was performed to determine if increasing the standard size would improve the markers' conspicuity to aircraft and ground vehicles and to determine if the location of aircraft mounted landing lamps have any effect on the visibility of the retro-reflective markers.

L-853 Cylindrical Runway and Taxiway Retro-reflective Markers Study
DOT/FAA/AR-TN04/10
Author: Holly M. Cyrus
June 2004
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 715KB


The following report describes an evaluation conducted to determine the feasibility of equipping airport vehicles with supplemental warning beacons that would be illuminated only when the vehicle is on an active runway, ...

Development of Airport Active Runway Vehicle Lighting
DOT/FAA/AR-TN04/9
Author: James W. Patterson, Jr.
May 2004
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 499KB


The following document describes the glass bead and waterborne paint research performed at the Technical Center.

Paint and Bead Durability Study
DOT/FAA/AR-TN02/128
Author: Holly Cyrus
May 2003
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 25.2MB


The following document describes a test program to evaluate the effectiveness of a low cost fire suppression system designed specifically for combating aircraft fires at small airports.

Test and Evaluation of the Effectiveness of a Small Airport Firefighting System (SAFS) in Extinguishing Two and Three Dimensional Hydrocarbon Fuel Fires
DOT/FAA/AR-TN03/45
Authors: Charles Risinger, Jennifer Kalberer, Keith Bagot
May 2003
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 7.4MB


The following document describes the research performed concerning when to repaint airport pavement markings.

Development of Methods for Determining Airport Pavement Marking Effectiveness
DOT/FAA/AR-TN03/22
Author: Holly Cyrus
May 2003
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 9.8MB


Evaluation of Retrofit ARFF Vehicle Suspension Enhancement to Reduce Vehicle Rollovers
DOT/FAA/AR-TN02/14
Author: Keith Bagot
March 2002
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 10.9MB

The ARFF industry has experienced several vehicle rollovers in recent years. Emergency One Corporation and Davis Technologies, of Dallas, TX, collectively developed a prototype hydraulic suspension strut that replaces the standard shock absorber. This strut is intended to attenuate undesirable vehicle dynamics, thereby significantly reducing the potential for rollover. This evaluation compares the performance of the standard to the prototype system.


Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Training Fuel Comparative Evaluation
DOT/FAA/AR-TN01/4
Author: Keith Bagot
February 2001
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 7.5MB

The Federal Aviation Administration William J. Hughes Technical Center's ARFF research program conducted a comparative evaluation of one of the existing fuels for training (JP8) and two recently developed products produced specifically for fire fighting training by Exxon Chemical Company and Envirofuel Incorporated. Both of the new training products showed major improvements in reducing the production of environmentally harmful by-products. Data indicate that the Exxon product produced the least amount of smoke output and contaminated water runoff.


Temporary Installation Methods for PAPI/A-PAPI Systems
DOT/FAA/AR-01/111
Author: Keith Bagot
January 2002
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 2.2MB


Rescue and Firefighting Research Program
DOT/FAA/AR-00/67
Author: Joseph Wright
January 2001
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 7MB

The Airport Technology Research and Development Branch's Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) Research Program works to advance firefighting state of the art to provide an increase in passenger survivability under the extreme harsh conditions of a postcrash fire. 


In-Pavement Light Emitting Diode (LED) Light Strip Evaluation
DOT/FAA/AR-01/139
Author: Donald W. Gallagher
August 2001
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 8.1MB


Evaluation of a Prototype Advanced Taxiway Guidance System (ATGS)
DOT/FAA/AR-TN00/9
Author: Eric S. Katz
February 2000
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 301KB


Evaluation of Conductivity Meters for Firefighting Foams
DOT/FAA/AR-02/115
Author: Keith Bagot
March 2002
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 1.5MB

Five conductivity meters were evaluated against the standard refractometer. There were some variations to the operation and calibration of the conductivity meters that made some meters slightly better than others. It was determined, however, that all five conductivity meters were more accurate and easier to use for conducting tests on foam-proportioning systems than the refractometer.


Evaluation of Wind-Loading on Airport Signs
DOT/FAA/AR-TN00/32
Author: Keith Bagot
June 2000
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 1.2MB

Airport signs at certain critical locations at O’Hare International Airport and other major U.S. airports are being sheared off their mounting legs at the frangible coupling from aircraft jet engine blast and/or wake turbulence forces. This damage to the sign increases the chance of foreign object damage (FOD) as well as the loss, of visual guidance for other aircraft. There is a need to better understand and more precisely determine the forces on the signs at these locations.


Evaluation of Alternative Pavement Marking Materials
DOT/FAA/CT-94/119
Author: Keith W. Bagot
January 1995
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 3.4MB


Airport Pavement Marking Evaluation for Reducing Runway Incursion
DOT/FAA/AR-TN01/2
Author: Holly M. Cyrus
February 2001
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 23MB


Reduced Approach Lighting Systems (ALS) Configuration Simulation Testing
DOT/FAA/AR-02/81
Author: Donald W. Gallagher
July 2002
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 1.8MB


This report describes evaluation of two candidate agents tested by the FAA as alternatives to Halon 1211. These agents were Halotron I and perfluorohexane. The objective was to evaluate these extinguishing agents in terms of extinguishment time and quantity of agent required to extinguish unique flight line type test fires. The test results showed that Halotron I required an average of 1 1/2 pounds of agent to perform the same extinguishment as 1 pound of Halon 1211.

Full-Scale Evaluation of Halon 1211 Replacement Agents for Airport Fire Fighting

DOT/FAA/AR-95-87
Author: Joe Wright
October 1995
Format: Adobe Acrobat
Size: 1.43MB


 


Last Update: 11/12/14