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ACRP Report 113 – Guidebook on General Aviation Facility Planning Facility Planning
Deborah Ale Flint Oakland International Airport Thella F. Bowens San Diego County Regional Airport Authority Benito DeLeon Federal Aviation Administration Richard de Neufville Massachusetts Institute of Technology Steve Grossman Jacksonville Aviation Authority Kelly Johnson Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport Authority F. Paul Martinez Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport Bob Montgomery Southwest Airlines Eric Potts Freese and Nichols, Inc. Richard Tucker Huntsville International Airport Paul J. Wiedefeld Baltimore/Washington International Airport
Sabrina Johnson U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Richard Marchi Airports Council International—North America Laura McKee Airlines for America Melissa Sabatine American Association of Airport Executives T.J. Schulz Airport Consultants Council Robert E. Skinner, Jr. Transportation Research Board vacant National Association of State Aviation Officials
Christopher W. Jenks Transportation Research Board
OFFICERS Chair: Kirk T. Steudle, Director, Michigan DOT, Lansing ViCe Chair: Daniel Sperling, Professor of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science and Policy;
Director, Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis exeCutiVe DireCtor: Robert E. Skinner, Jr., Transportation Research Board
MEMBERS Victoria A. Arroyo, Executive Director, Georgetown Climate Center, and Visiting Professor,
Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, DC Scott E. Bennett, Director, Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department, Little Rock Deborah H. Butler, Executive Vice President, Planning, and CIO, Norfolk Southern Corporation,
Norfolk, VA James M. Crites, Executive Vice President of Operations, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, TX Malcolm Dougherty, Director, California Department of Transportation, Sacramento A. Stewart Fotheringham, Professor and Director, Centre for Geoinformatics, School of Geography
and Geosciences, University of St. Andrews, Fife, United Kingdom John S. Halikowski, Director, Arizona DOT, Phoenix Michael W. Hancock, Secretary, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Frankfort Susan Hanson, Distinguished University Professor Emerita, School of Geography, Clark University,
Worcester, MA Steve Heminger, Executive Director, Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Oakland, CA Chris T. Hendrickson, Duquesne Light Professor of Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University,
Pittsburgh, PA Jeffrey D. Holt, Managing Director, Bank of Montreal Capital Markets, and Chairman, Utah
Transportation Commission, Huntsville, Utah Gary P. LaGrange, President and CEO, Port of New Orleans, LA Michael P. Lewis, Director, Rhode Island DOT, Providence Joan McDonald, Commissioner, New York State DOT, Albany Abbas Mohaddes, President and CEO, Iteris, Inc., Santa Ana, CA Donald A. Osterberg, Senior Vice President, Safety and Security, Schneider National, Inc., Green Bay, WI Steven W. Palmer, Vice President of Transportation, Lowe’s Companies, Inc., Mooresville, NC Sandra Rosenbloom, Professor, University of Texas, Austin Henry G. (Gerry) Schwartz, Jr., Chairman (retired), Jacobs/Sverdrup Civil, Inc., St. Louis, MO Kumares C. Sinha, Olson Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering, Purdue University,
West Lafayette, IN Gary C. Thomas, President and Executive Director, Dallas Area Rapid Transit, Dallas, TX Paul Trombino III, Director, Iowa DOT, Ames Phillip A. Washington, General Manager, Regional Transportation District, Denver, CO
EX OFFICIO MEMBERS Thomas P. Bostick (Lt. General, U.S. Army), Chief of Engineers and Commanding General,
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Washington, DC Alison Jane Conway, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, City College of New York, NY,
and Chair, TRB Young Member Council Anne S. Ferro, Administrator, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, U.S. DOT David J. Friedman, Acting Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. DOT John T. Gray II, Senior Vice President, Policy and Economics, Association of American Railroads,
Washington, DC Michael P. Huerta, Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. DOT Paul N. Jaenichen, Sr., Acting Administrator, Maritime Administration, U.S. DOT Therese W. McMillan, Acting Administrator, Federal Transit Administration, U.S. DOT Michael P. Melaniphy, President and CEO, American Public Transportation Association, Washington, DC Victor M. Mendez, Administrator, Federal Highway Administration, and Acting Deputy Secretary,
U.S. DOT Robert J. Papp (Adm., U.S. Coast Guard), Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Department of
Homeland Security Cynthia L. Quarterman, Administrator, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration,
U.S. DOT Peter M. Rogoff, Acting Under Secretary for Policy, U.S. DOT Craig A. Rutland, U.S. Air Force Pavement Engineer, Air Force Civil Engineer Center, Tyndall Air
Force Base, FL Joseph C. Szabo, Administrator, Federal Railroad Administration, U.S. DOT Barry R. Wallerstein, Executive Officer, South Coast Air Quality Management District, Diamond Bar, CA Gregory D. Winfree, Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology, Office of the Secretary, U.S. DOT Frederick G. (Bud) Wright, Executive Director, American Association of State Highway and
Transportation Officials, Washington, DC
* Membership as of May 2014.* Membership as of February 2014.
Subscriber Categories
Guidebook on General Aviation Facility Planning
Douglas E. Sander and Robert B. Chapman Delta airport Consultants, inC.
Raleigh, NC, and Atlanta, GA
Stephanie A.D. Ward MeaD & Hunt, inC.
Lansing, MI
Summer Marr and Sarah Arnold Marr arnolD planning, llC Ames, IA, and Cincinnati, OH
Airports are vital national resources. They serve a key role in trans­ portation of people and goods and in regional, national, and inter­ national commerce. They are where the nation’s aviation system connects with other modes of transportation and where federal respon­ sibility for managing and regulating air traffic operations intersects with the role of state and local governments that own and operate most airports. Research is necessary to solve common operating problems, to adapt appropriate new technologies from other industries, and to introduce innovations into the airport industry. The Airport Coopera­ tive Research Program (ACRP) serves as one of the principal means by which the airport industry can develop innovative near­term solutions to meet demands placed on it.
The need for ACRP was identified in TRB Special Report 272: Airport Research Needs: Cooperative Solutions in 2003, based on a study spon­ sored by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The ACRP carries out applied research on problems that are shared by airport operating agencies and are not being adequately addressed by existing federal research programs. It is modeled after the successful National Coopera­ tive Highway Research Program and Transit Cooperative Research Pro­ gram. The ACRP undertakes research and other technical activities in a variety of airport subject areas, including design, construction, mainte­ nance, operations, safety, security, policy, planning, human resources, and administration. The ACRP provides a forum where airport opera­ tors can cooperatively address common operational problems.
The ACRP was authorized in December 2003 as part of the Vision 100­Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act. The primary participants in the ACRP are (1) an independent governing board, the ACRP Oversight Committee (AOC), appointed by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation with representation from airport operating agencies, other stakeholders, and relevant industry organizations such as the Airports Council International­North America (ACI­NA), the American Associa­ tion of Airport Executives (AAAE), the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO), Airlines for America (A4A), and the Airport Consultants Council (ACC) as vital links to the airport community; (2) the TRB as program manager and secretariat for the governing board; and (3) the FAA as program sponsor. In October 2005, the FAA executed a contract with the National Academies formally initiating the program.
The ACRP benefits from the cooperation and participation of airport professionals, air carriers, shippers, state and local government officials, equipment and service suppliers, other airport users, and research orga­ nizations. Each of these participants has different interests and respon­ sibilities, and each is an integral part of this cooperative research effort.
Research problem statements for the ACRP are solicited periodically but may be submitted to the TRB by anyone at any time. It is the responsibility of the AOC to formulate the research program by iden­ tifying the highest priority projects and defining funding levels and expected products.
Once selected, each ACRP project is assigned to an expert panel, appointed by the TRB. Panels include experienced practitioners and research specialists; heavy emphasis is placed on including airport pro­ fessionals, the intended users of the research products. The panels pre­ pare project statements (requests for proposals), select contractors, and provide technical guidance and counsel throughout the life of the project. The process for developing research problem statements and selecting research agencies has been used by TRB in managing cooper­ ative research programs since 1962. As in other TRB activities, ACRP project panels serve voluntarily without compensation.
Primary emphasis is placed on disseminating ACRP results to the intended end­users of the research: airport operating agencies, service providers, and suppliers. The ACRP produces a series of research reports for use by airport operators, local agencies, the FAA, and other interested parties, and industry associations may arrange for work­ shops, training aids, field visits, and other activities to ensure that results are implemented by airport­industry practitioners.
Project 07­10 ISSN 1935­9802 ISBN 978­0­309­28406­6 Library of Congress Control Number 2014940548
© 2014 National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Authors herein are responsible for the authenticity of their materials and for obtaining written permissions from publishers or persons who own the copyright to any previously published or copyrighted material used herein.
Cooperative Research Programs (CRP) grants permission to reproduce material in this publication for classroom and not­for­profit purposes. Permission is given with the understanding that none of the material will be used to imply TRB or FAA endorsement of a particular product, method, or practice. It is expected that those reproducing the material in this document for educational and not­for­profit uses will give appropriate acknowledgment of the source of any reprinted or reproduced material. For other uses of the material, request permission from CRP.
The project that is the subject of this report was a part of the Airport Cooperative Research Program, conducted by the Transportation Research Board with the approval of the Governing Board of the National Research Council.
The members of the technical panel selected to monitor this project and to review this report were chosen for their special competencies and with regard for appropriate balance. The report was reviewed by the technical panel and accepted for publication according to procedures established and overseen by the Transportation Research Board and approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council.
The opinions and conclusions expressed or implied in this report are those of the researchers who performed the research and are not necessarily those of the Transportation Research Board, the National Research Council, or the program sponsors.
The Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, the National Research Council, and the sponsors of the Airport Cooperative Research Program do not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade or manufacturers’ names appear herein solely because they are considered essential to the object of the report.
Published reports of the
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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific
and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the
authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal
government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences.
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National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and
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Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.
The Transportation Research Board is one of six major divisions of the National Research Council. The mission of the Transporta-
tion Research Board is to provide leadership in transportation innovation and progress through research and information exchange,
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Christopher W. Jenks, Director, Cooperative Research Programs Michael R. Salamone, ACRP Manager Joseph D. Navarrete, Senior Program Officer Terri Baker, Senior Program Assistant Eileen P. Delaney, Director of Publications Hilary Freer, Senior Editor
ACRP PROJECT 07-10 PANEL Field of Design
Kenneth L. Penney, Jr., KLJ, Rapid City, SD (Chair) Michael S. Hines, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, Washington, DC Richard T. Lanman, Auburn-Lewiston Municipal Airport, Auburn, ME David B. Lucas, AV Ports, Quonset State Airport, North Kingstown, RI Thomas F. Mahoney, Massachusetts DOT, East Boston, MA Sara D. McCook, United Airlines, Denver, CO Douglas R. Anderson, FAA Liaison Bill Dunn, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Liaison Christine Gerencher, TRB Liaison
ACRP Report 113: Guidebook on General Aviation Facility Planning (the Guidebook) pro­ vides practical guidance for planning airport facilities designed to accommodate general aviation (GA) aircraft. Airport practitioners will find the Guidebook helpful for translating anticipated GA activity into facility requirements and layouts. Although the Guidebook is geared to airport industry practitioners, the lay reader will also benefit from the sections that provide background on GA aircraft and activities and the unique facility needs of this segment of the industry.
General aviation (GA) is the largest category of aviation and consists of all activity not considered to be commercial service or military. GA operations occur at airports of all sizes and types, including commercial service airports, GA airports, and military joint­use facili­ ties. The GA fleet is varied, ranging from single­engine aircraft to large business jets and helicopters; in addition, there is a broad range of GA activity, including flight training, rec­ reation, business, and agriculture. Yet current guidance for GA facility planning is limited and does not reflect the changes occurring in the industry. Research was needed to provide comprehensive guidance to help airport practitioners plan GA facilities that are responsive to industry needs, flexible, and cost­effective.
The research, led by Delta Airport Consultants, included a review of FAA Advisory Circu­ lars and Orders, as well as other relevant literature. This was followed by industry outreach to understand current GA planning practice and needs. The research team visited numer­ ous airports and interviewed many stakeholders, including airport management, opera­ tions/maintenance staff, consultants, and service providers. This research, combined with the contractor’s expertise, was used to develop the Guidebook.
Chapter 1 provides background and suggestions for using the Guidebook. A description of GA activity is provided in Chapter 2. The benefits of airport planning and its relevance to airport operations and long­term development are described in Chapter 3. Chapter 4 provides a framework for GA facility planning—discussing governing documents, grant assurances, financing, GA services, and the activity indicators that drive facility planning. Chapter 5 addresses planning for specific facilities, including terminals and fixed­base operator buildings, auto parking, aircraft parking aprons, hangars, fuel farms, wash racks, helicopter parking, and other facilities. A key feature of this guidance is adjacency consid­ erations (i.e., how various facilities should be located relative to each other based on func­ tion). The appendices consist of a list of abbreviations and terms, a discussion on how to size a parking area, a process for estimating the number of aircraft parking positions, and a bibliography of planning resources.
By Joseph D. Navarrete Staff Officer Transportation Research Board
1 Chapter 1 Introduction 1 Purpose 2 Organization 2 Using the Guidebook
4 Chapter 2 General Aviation—Overview 4 GA Operation Types 5 GA Aircraft Types 7 Airport Types 9 GA Services and Facilities on an Airport 21 Models for Providing Services and Facilities
23 Chapter 3 Airport Planning—General 25 Airport Strategic Plan 25 Airport Master Plan 30 Standalone Airport Layout Plan 31 Environmental Planning
33 Chapter 4 General GA Facility Planning 34 Basic Principles 34 Key Governing Documents 36 GA Services—Airport Ownership/Operation Models 36 Planning Considerations 37 Grant Assurances 38 Financing GA Facilities 40 GA Facility Planning 41 Indicators of Activity that Drive GA Facility Planning
43 Chapter 5 GA Facility Planning by Type 43 Aircraft Aprons 57 Helicopter Parking Area 61 Conventional Aircraft Hangars 73 T­Hangars 80 Fuel Farm Facility 88 Aircraft Wash Facility (Wash Rack) 93 GA Terminal Building 99 FBO Building 101 Airport Administration Building 104 MES Buildings 111 Automobile Parking and Access
118 Appendix A Abbreviations and Terms
125 Appendix B Tie-Down Parking Areas
130 Appendix C Determining the Number of Aircraft Parking Positions
133 Appendix D Bibliography of Planning Resources
C H A P T E R 1
Well-planned GA facilities are often the key to a financially healthy airport. Good GA facilities are critical to an airport’s ability to meet user needs and are a significant revenue source for GA and commercial service airports. ACRP Report 113: Guidebook on General Aviation Facility Plan- ning (the Guidebook) recommends a planning process for GA facilities, addresses many consider- ations that go into such planning, and provides economical and efficient layouts for each facility. The Guidebook is intended to be useful for all airports, regardless of type, size, or activity level.
The types of GA facilities covered by this Guidebook include
• Aprons and tie-downs
• Helicopter parking
This Guidebook has been developed to help airport owners, planners, engineers, local/state/ federal aviation officials, and airport business tenants [e.g., fixed-base operators (FBOs)] better plan and develop facilities to meet the needs of an airport’s GA users. Specific purposes of the Guidebook are to
• Provide an overview of general aviation and airport planning • Suggest a planning processes for GA facilities • Provide guidance on what information to consider when determining facility requirements • Identify and provide guidance for factoring in the many considerations and principles that
govern a good plan • Help Guidebook users develop efficient and cost-effective GA facility layouts • Provide examples of facility layouts for various…

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