Facilities & Capabilities
Airport Technology Research & Development (ATR)’s state-of-the-art research capabilities support leading research, mission-critical objectives, and specific industry needs.
A number of laboratories and specialized equipment have been developed to provide exceptional value while supporting collaboration with industry partners for integrated or expanded competencies. Most reside at the William J. Hughes Technical Center located in Atlantic City, NJ.
The National Airport Pavement Test Facility, built in partnership with the Boeing Company, is dedicated to airport pavement research. Rigid and flexible pavements embedded with more than 1,000 sensors are subjected to simulated aircraft traffic enabling researchers to collect high quality, accelerated test data. Major features of the facility include a fully enclosed instrumented test track 900 ft. long by 60 ft. wide, a rail-based test vehicle capable of simulating aircraft weighing up to 1.3 million pounds, and twenty independently adjustable test wheels.
The National Airport Pavement and Materials Research Center provides the ability to test the effects of high tire pressures on pavement surface layers, pavement materials, and alternative pavement materials with the Heavy Vehicle Simulator for Airports (HVS-A), “Mark VI.” Equipped with enhanced control systems, Mark VI can replicate the high temperatures pavements face in summer, even during wintertime. The HVS-A is the largest of its kind at 121 ft. long, 16 ft. wide, and 14 ft. high.
The NextGen Pavement Materials Lab is fully equipped to test and characterize asphalt, concrete, soils, and aggregate materials used in airport pavement construction. The output from the materials research program is used to update FAA standards, specifications and guidelines for use of conventional, sustainable, and eco-friendly materials for airport pavements. Guidelines for airport pavement material properties will be used as inputs in the FAA's pavement thickness design software, FAARFIELD.
The Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting test facility is a combination of outdoor fire testing mockups and aircraft interior fire test chambers. The facility is utilized to evaluate the effectiveness of various types of extinguishing agents on aircraft-related fires such as jet fuel spills and cargo fires.
An Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting test laboratory will include a single-floor office space, a small 1200-square-feet shop area, and a large 13,000-square-feet hangar-like test cell for conducting a multitude of fire tests. A large 5000- square-feet warehouse attached to the main test cell will store supplies, components, vehicles, and other equipment necessary to carry out the range of tests conducted in the facility. The laboratory is anticipated to open in Fall of 2019.
The Research Taxiway opened in 2017 at Cape May County Airport (WWD) in Erma, NJ with a full array of taxiway and runway lights, state-of-the-art lighting vault, and six pavement test strips. Design, test and evaluation, monitoring, and reporting on advanced airport safety and pavement technologies are performed at the dedicated Taxiway.
Continuous friction measuring equipment support a variety of research programs where the measurement of macro and micro texture of a runway surface must be considered. The pictured Saab friction tester and other equipped vehicles process measurements via a computer and produce strip charts with continuous friction values versus distance traveled.
Developed as a platform for non-destructive testing of airport pavement, the NDT Van can acquire 2D and 3D images, day or night, with 4 meter wide coverage. The NDT van has been used for pavement evaluation during Construction Cycles at the National Airport Pavement Test Facility and remotely to acquire data in support of the Extended Pavement Life project.
A specially instrumented Boeing 727 replicates realistic full-scale aircraft environment for testing and data collection at the William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, NJ. Assessments include the gathering of operational data on contaminated runway surfaces, as well as high fidelity pilot perspective of new airfield lighting and signage technologies.
ATR operates a KUAB HWD at the National Airport Pavement Test Facility. The device can accommodate up to 8 sensors, has 2 loading plate options, and can apply loads from 20 to 240 kN (4,496 to 53,954 lbf).