Tag Archives: FAA

Dickson Named FAA Administrator

The Hon. Stephen M. Dickson was sworn in Monday by U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao as the 18th Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

With almost 40 years of aviation industry experience, Dickson is widely respected and takes on the role of FAA Administrator during a critical moment for aviation safety, according to an FAA press release.

As Administrator, Dickson will lead an agency responsible for the safety and efficiency of the largest aerospace system in the world — a system that operates more than 50,000 flights per day. He will oversee a $16.4 billion-dollar budget, more than 47,000 employees, and focus on ensuring the agency and its employees are the best prepared and trained professionals to meet the growing demands and requirements of the industry, the press release continues.

“I am honored to join the outstanding team at the Federal Aviation Administration and look forward to ensuring our aviation system maintains its proper place, leading the world in both safety and operational performance,” said Captain Dickson, a retired Delta Air Lines official and former U.S. Air Force officer and F-15 pilot.

Acting Administrator Daniel K. Elwell will continue his service to the FAA as Deputy Administrator.  

Photo:  Federal Aviation Administration file photo.

Follow this link to see ACPA’s government affairs repository.

FAA Issues Errata for Airport Pavement Specs

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued errata for advisory circular, AC 150/5370-10H, the agency’s standard specifications for airport construction. 

Gary Mitchell, ACPA Vice President of Airports and Pavement Technology, says the document mostly corrects typos and clarifies language. He adds one notable revision is language that allows an additional option for collecting straightedge data using a rolling inclinometer.  Click here to see a “landing” page that includes a link to the complete list of errata, as well as the revised AC in both Word and PDF formats. 

Related articles may be found by clicking on the links below: 

Team Effort Leads to Changes in Airport Pavement Specifications

A joint effort led to the inclusion of full-depth reclamation (FDR)* in the FAA’s Standard Specifications for Construction of Airports, also referred to as FAA Advisory Circular 150/5370-10H.

It started from the FDR being promoted to airport owners, most notably by the Southeast Chapter, says Gary Mitchell, ACPA’s VP of Airports and Technology. He says the Chapter and other ACPA promoters have done an outstanding job promoting FAA projects, adding, “they’ve completed several where they’ve rehabilitated pavements with in-place cement-treated base material, but those projects often had to be completed through a modification of existing airport pavement construction standards.”

“A lot of times, promoters would discuss projects with engineers, who expressed interest, but explained they would have to do a modification of standards and often would hear there wasn’t enough time to do so,” Gary says. It’s often difficult to get engineers to push a modification of standards through the FAA because it takes a long time for them to go through the process, he adds.

The process involves the engineer submitting the modification request and reasoning to the FAA district office or ADO. “The ADO can make decisions on some modifications, but for that particular type of modification, they would have to send it up to the region for review, and if they agreed with it, they would have to send it to the engineers at FAA headquarters,” Gary says. If they approved it, he says, the response would then have to follow the same path back to the ADO and then to the engineer.

“In all, the process could take anywhere between a few weeks to as much as three months,” Mitchell says, adding, “It was really a burdensome process and it wasn’t done as often as we would have liked, so the FDR strategy wasn’t considered an alternate on a lot of projects because it was too difficult to get the modification quickly.”

All of this changed during the process when Gary, with support from contractors and other members of ACPA’s Airport Task Force were working together with the FAA on a revision of the FAA’s 150/5370-10 standard.  The  entire construction guide specifications were revised during the review and revision process, including specifications for concrete pavement construction (P-501), aggregate base course (P- 209), cement-treated base course (P-304), and other specifications. 

“We discussed with the FAA the development of the FDR spec so we could avoid going through modifications,” he says. “They were receptive to the idea, which we advocated because it would give engineers the option using a specification instead of the cumbersome modification of standards.”

Gary says during almost daily conversations with key FAA officials, notably Doug Johnson and Greg Cline, were instrumental in identifying potential challenges and working through changes efficiently. Messrs. Johnson and Cline are both Senior Civil Engineers and pavement subject matter experts (SME) for the FAA’s Office of Airports Safety and Standards, Airport Engineering Division in Washington, DC.

On a parallel path, Gary said he was also having discussions with key personnel at PCA, including Wayne Adaska, Director of Pavements & Geotechnical Markets, Dr. Paul Tennis, Director, Product Standards & Technology, and others at PCA who recommended specification language, provided technical guidance, and joined in the discussion. He also credits long-time PCA member Al Innes, who remains active with LafargeHolcim and the MIT Sustainability Hub. Together, this group provided sound engineering judgment and technical information, which led to the FDR specification.

During the months-long process of marking up the FAA’s 5370-10 standard, now known as FAA Advisory Circular 150/5370-10H, Gary says the PCA representatives, Al Innis, and ACPA Airport Task Force provided excellent support and expertise. He adds that  members of the ACPA Airport Task Force also participated in the reviews of the specs related to concrete pavement construction. He adds that Martin Holt of Interstate Highway Construction, Angela Folkestad of the Colorado-Wyoming Chapter-ACPA, and Harold Honey of Michael Baker International participated in a comprehensive review and mark-up of the standard.

Gary emphasizes that long-term relationships and open and forthright discussions with Doug Johnson and Greg Cline also helped the revision process go smoothly. Gary is also quick to credit other organizations** that provided input on the standard.

The net result of this team effort is a standard that now includes FDR specification language, which allows engineers to easily and quickly incorporate the FDR strategy into airport rehabilitation plans, while at the same time, streamlining the overall pavement rehabilitation process. The ultimate beneficiaries are the airports, airport owners’ representatives, and of course, the taxpaying public.

* Full-depth reclamation (FDR) is one of several cement-based rehabilitation strategies, which involves recycling an existing asphalt pavement and its underlying layer(s) into a new base layer, according to the National Concrete Pavement Technology Center (CP Tech Center).  FDR with cement increase the structural capacity of the new roadway by providing a stronger, more consistent base, the CP Tech Center says.

** Other organizations included: Airports Consultant Council, American Society of Civil Engineers, Asphalt Institute, Geosynthetic Materials Association, and National Stone Sand Gravel Association.

Photo courtesy of Greg Dean, Carolinas Concrete Paving Association.


Meeting Focuses on Collaborative Airport Pavement Research

Officials from the FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center, ACPA, and CP Tech Center met in Atlantic City this week to discuss ways the three organizations may work collaboratively on applied research for airfield concrete pavements.

“We appreciate the warm reception, tour, and generous amount of time we spent with Dr. Michel Hovan, FAA Airport Technology Manager and Jeff Gagnon, FAA Airport Pavement R&D Section Manager,” said ACPA President & CEO Jerry Voigt. “It gave us greater insights into some of the research the FAA is doing in the area of airside pavements.  The meeting also afforded ACPA and the CP Tech Center the opportunity to discuss research efforts with the FHWA and ACPA’s ongoing advocacy efforts, which have included specific airport pavement and highway pavement research programs.”

The meeting included an overview and discussion of current FAA research projects; CP Tech Center’s highway research & tech transfer efforts; and ACPA’s ongoing Federal advocacy efforts. 

“We discussed funding and how ACPA has worked with Federal agencies such as the FAA, FHWA, and Military Tri-Services, as well as elected officials in Washington, D.C.,” says Gary Mitchell, VP of Airports and Pavement Technology. “Our efforts include both highway and airport programmatic funding, but provisions that directly support funding for applied research.” This includes the long-standing AID-PT program, as well as a similar research provision included in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 Sec. 744 (Research and deployment of certain airfield pavement technologies). 

Mitchell serves on the FAA’s Research, Engineering, & Development Advisory Committee (REDAC), Subcommittee on Airports, which supports the development of the FAA‘s research and development portfolio through strategic planning, budget formulation, program execution, and program evaluation. ACPA’s Chairman Mack, P.E., (CEMEX) has recently been nominated to serve on the Subcommittee as well and is waiting conformation from the current Administration.

“In the near term,” Mitchell explains, “We will continue the dialogue as we also continue to push for funding to support research for airfield concrete pavements.  Longer term, our goal is to partner with the CP Tech Center and work collaboratively on  applied research projects with the FAA.”


Photo:  Top photo (L to R) shows Dr. Michel Hovan, Gary Mitchell, Jerry Voigt, Dr. Peter Taylor, Gordon Smith, Jim Mack, Leif Wathne, and Jeff Gagnon at the Hughes Technical Center. The photo below shows one of two accelerated load facilities at the FAA’s research center.  Mitchell explained the two ALF machines are capable of simulating wheel loads of virtually any fixed wing aircraft in the US fleet. The machine shown also allows testing under various climatic conditions.

*  The Accelerated Implementation and Deployment of Pavement Technologies (AID-PT) is a provision first included in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP 21).  This ACPA-led initiative created both a mechanism and funding for the delivery of pavement technology.  In 2015, Congress included the program in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which provides funding through 2020.

Follow this link to see ACPA’s government affairs repository.




FAA’s REDAC to Develop Long-Range Plan

The FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center will soon be developing a 10-year plan, according to Gary Mitchell, a member of the airport subcommittee of FAA’s REDAC.* 

Mitchell met with other submcommittee members late last week at the technical center, located just outside of Atlantic City, NJ.

The plan will encompass the 2020-2030 Research Landscape for the National Airspace System and will include input from the entire technical center. 

The plan is being developed in consideration of current and future changes facing the aviation industry, including unmanned aerial vehicles, spaceports, aircraft changes, infrastructure materials, air space challenges, terminal needs, etc.

“The FAA has requested the subcommittee develop a list of research drivers that we see will drive airspace and airport research over the next 10 years,” Mitchell says. The FAA will be relying in part on the asphalt and concrete pavement industries to provide input about where we envision the future of airfield infrastructure lies, he adds. 

* The Research, Engineering, & Development Advisory Committee (REDAC) supports the development of the FAA’s research and development portfolio through strategic planning, budget formulation, program execution, and program evaluation.

Follow this link to see ACPA’s government affairs repository.

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