A meeting of the FAA Research, Engineering, and Development Advisory Committee (REDAC)—Subcommittee on Airports presented an opportunity for ACPA to discuss some important airfield pavement topics.

Gary Mitchell and Jim Mack of CEMEX (and past Chairman of the ACPA Board)—members of the REDAC* Subcommittee—had the opportunity to participate in the summer/fall meeting last week.

The shortened-format meeting was held by web conference and centered around research pertaining to safety and environmental issues that have been mandated to be addressed by Congress in the 2020 Appropriation Bill.  Even so, a few pavement research topic updates were presented to the Subcommittee. These pavement related topics included emerging pavement materials and additives; state specifications for airport pavements; and updates to FAARFIELD 2.0., the FAA pavement design software.

Gary and Jim both provided valuable input for research into the use of state highway specifications for airports, which is now an option to designers for use in general aviation paving projects. In addition, they provided recommendations to the research team on updating failure criteria for pavement design that would ultimately lead to more efficient pavement design for the FAARFIELD software.

ACPA, through its Quality Construction Committee, has already provided a review and recommendations to the FAA for the Pavement Design Advisory Circular (AC), which accompanies the FAARFIELD software. The emerging pavement materials and additives research is looking into the use of nano-particles in concrete mixtures as a real time, self-monitoring system to track damage development in concrete pavements. This research was identified in the FAA’s 10-year research plan and is in the early stages.

Gary and Jim also provide findings and recommendations on emerging pavement materials and additives research that would align the research to be more inclusive with pavement construction. Because of the shortened format of the meeting, an update to the extended pavement design life program was postponed until the winter/spring REDAC Subcommittee meeting scheduled for next March.   

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* Established in 1989, the FAA’s Research, Engineering and Development Advisory Committee (REDAC) provides advice and recommendations to the FAA Administrator on the needs, objectives, plans, approaches, content, and accomplishments of the aviation research portfolio. The REDAC also assists in ensuring FAA research activities are coordinated with other government agencies and industry. The REDAC considers aviation research needs in five areas: NAS operations, airport technology, aviation safety, human factors, and environment and energy./span>