Wednesday, December 21, 2011

UPDATE: 21 December 2011

Happy Holidays!
Recent Kodiak Airport EIS project updates have been used to alert you to
meetings or let you know what progress has been made since previous
communications.  I think we are now sufficiently advanced with our project
planning and alternatives development to start using these updates to
provide more in-depth information, especially concerning topics or issues
of widespread interest.  We have plenty of material with which to work, but
don’t hesitate to let me know if you have suggestions for future updates.
FAA fielded a number of questions concerning runway use during our Runway
Safety Area EIS meetings in November.  For example, while most people are
generally aware of the types of aircraft flying in and out of that airport,
especially the commercial aircraft, there was widespread interest in
learning which runways are the busiest and why.  This project update should
answer some of those questions.
Let me start by reviewing runway characteristics and some of the key
factors influencing runway use at Kodiak Airport.  I’ve attached a figure
that will help you to follow the different runway references.
As you know, Kodiak has three runways.
   Runway 07/25 is the longest runway at 7,542 feet and is the most often
   used, especially for commercial and military aircraft. This is the
   runway used when landing from, or taking off to, the east.
   Runway 18/36 is 5,013 feet long and used by both commercial and military
   aircraft.  Even though Runway 18/36 is shorter than Runway 11/29, the
   north-south alignment and generally favorable terrain beyond the runway
   ends allow it to be used by larger aircraft.
   Runway 11/29 is 5,399 feet in total length and, because of the
   mountainous terrain inland of this runway, is normally used only by
   smaller general aviation aircraft.  FAA is not considering expansion of
   the Runway 11/29 Runway Safety Areas because they already meet standards
   for the smaller general aviation aircraft that are the primary users of
   that runway.  Larger aircraft do use this runway, but not often enough
   to warrant development of larger safety areas.
Runway length is certainly a factor in the process of deciding which runway
to use for an operation (i.e. a takeoff or landing), but not the only one.
Terrain is an important consideration relative to Kodiak Airport; for
example, Barometer Mountain limits approaches from, or departures to, the
west on Runway 07/25.
Aircraft characteristics are also a key factor in runway use.  Generally
speaking, the larger (in terms of weight and wing-span) and faster (in
terms of landing or takeoff speeds) aircraft need more runway.  Finally,
wind direction is a critical element of the decision-making process for
each operation.  It is easier and safer for aircraft to land or takeoff
into the wind.  Other considerations may include the types of navigational
aids for a particular runway, such as landing lights or approach slope
indicators, or the availability of special approach procedures.
So, knowing the runway lengths and something about the other elements that
influence operational decisions, what does the data tell us about runway
utilization at Kodiak Airport?
Air traffic control tower staff estimated that about half of the aircraft
activity takes place on Runway 07/25.  Of the remaining operations, the
north-south Runway 18/36 gets slightly more use (~28% of operations) than
does the northwest-southeast trending Runway 11/29 (~22% of operations).
Again, though, these numbers reflect all fixed-wing aircraft, large or
small, and include military, commercial and general aviation (but not
helicopter operations).
It is equally instructive to consider runway use in terms of the types of
operation and the individual aircraft types. We’ve compiled information
supplied by Alaska Airlines, Era Aviation, and the Coast Guard concerning
the larger aircraft they fly into Kodiak:
   · Alaska Airlines (Boeing 737-400 aircraft):
         o 99% of takeoffs are conducted on Runway 07; 90% of landings are
            conducted on Runway 25.
         o 10% of landings are conducted on Runway 36; less than 1% of
            operations take place on Runway 18, and Runway 11/29.
   · Era Aviation (Dash-8 Turboprop aircraft):
         o 80% of takeoffs are conducted on Runway 07; 75% of landings are
            conducted on Runway 25.
         o Approximately 17% of takeoffs and landings are conducted on
            Runway 36; most of the remainder of their operations (about 5%)
            is on Runway 18.  Rarely, and primarily due to wind conditions,
            the Dash-8 will use Runway 11/29.
   · Coast Guard (C-130 cargo aircraft):
         o Approximately 80% of annual operations take place on Runway
         o Runway 36 is used for about 15% of operations, and Runway 18
            for another 5%.
The data for these three operators can’t be directly compared because of
differences in how each of them estimated runway usage for their own
aircraft.  However, it is obvious that Runway 07/25 not only accommodates
about as many annual operations as the other two runways combined, but more
than ¾ of the “large” aircraft operations take place on it as well. Indeed,
because of its length and a “precision” instrument approach to Runway end
25 for landings from the east, Runway 07/25 is the most used runway at
Kodiak Airport.  Runway 18/36 serves to accommodate aircraft operations
when the winds are not favorable for takeoffs or landings on Runway 07/25.
I hope this information helps explain the differences in runway use at
Kodiak Airport.  We should have other opportunities to answer some of your
questions from the meetings in future updates.  By the way, we’ve loaded
all the previous project updates from 2011 on the website at
Again, thank you for continuing to stay involved in this project.  Please
don’t hesitate to call (271-5453) or write ( if you
have questions, comments or concerns.
Leslie Grey
Environmental Protection Specialist
FAA - Alaskan Region, Airports Division

Thursday, November 10, 2011

UPDATE: Kodiak Airport Runway Extension Proposals 10 November 2011

This post contains the contents of two separate emails from Leslie Grey at the FAA.  The first email was sent to all interested parties on the Kodiak Aiport Runway Extension Project email list; the second was sent to Stacy Studebaker in Kodiak in response to her query.
For more information on this project, go to the  Kodiak Airport EIS site.

Last week we held meetings in Kodiak and Anchorage to present and explain
the alternatives FAA will include in the Draft EIS.  Thanks so much to many
of you for attending.  As usual, a lot of important issues were discussed
and good questions asked.  Before the end of the year I’ll send another
update with information responding to some of those questions.
In the meantime, I wanted to quickly respond to a couple of your needs.
For those of you who like to keep track of interagency participation or
want to follow up with others who attended, attached are the sign-in sheets
from both meetings.  I’ve also had the powerpoint presentation from these
meetings posted on our project website at under
the “documents” link on the left of the homepage.  The presentation is the
first document, titled “Project Alternatives Presentation – November 2011.”
Those of you who attended in Kodiak may notice that we added two slides for
the Anchorage meeting.  These figures are helpful in comparing the features
and disturbance areas of each alternative for Runway 07/25 (page 29 of the
presentation) and Runway 18/36 (page 37).
Again, thank you for continuing to stay involved in this project.  Please
don’t hesitate to call (271-5453) or write ( if you
have questions, comments or concerns.
 Regards,  Leslie
Leslie A. Grey
Environmental Protection Specialist
FAA - Alaskan Region, Airports Division

Hello Stacy,
First of all, thank you for coming to the meeting last week, I appreciate
your interest and attendance.  Regarding your request, as promised, we are
making last week's presentation available to all.  We just posted the
meeting presentation which includes graphics of the alternatives as well as
the other information we discussed up on the project web site.  You can
find it at under the documents link located on the
left side of the homepage.  Shortly I'll be sending out a message to the
entire contact list to make sure everyone is aware of where they can get
the presentation.

Regarding the botany work completed recently, right now we are in the
process of compiling the data and documenting the results.  I will make
arrangements for distribution of the findings either concurrent with the
Draft EIS or perhaps before hand, depending upon how quickly we can get all
of our review completed.  I'll provide you with an update on this as soon
as I have a clearer picture of the timing.  In the meantime, don't hesitate
at all to call or email me with any further questions.  Leslie

Leslie A. Grey
Environmental Protection Specialist
FAA - Alaskan Region, Airports Division

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Kodiak Meeting for Airport EIS Details: Nov 1 2011

I’m really pleased so many of you will probably be able to attend our meetings to discuss runway safety area alternatives that will be evaluated in the Kodiak Airport EIS.  We will have one interagency meeting in Kodiak and one in Anchorage, at the following locations and times:
    • Date:  Tuesday, November 1
    • Time:   1:30 pm
    • Place:  Kodiak Harbor Convention Center, Katurwik Room
    • Directions: Located at the corner of Rezanof Drive and Marine Way
  • Date:  Thursday, November 3
  • Time:  9:00 am
  • Place:  Anchorage Federal Office Building Annex, Room B
  • Directions:  The Annex building entrance is located on 8th, across the street to the south from the main Federal building (the main Federal bldg is the big 5-story or so structure at 222 W. 7th Avenue).  It looks like a building that is mostly underground.  The security guard can direct you to conference room A.
I expect that each meeting will take no more than two hours.  As I’ve mentioned before, please let me know if you would like us to meet separately with your organization concerning issues other than alternatives and we’ll work hard to accommodate your schedule.
Leslie A. Grey
Environmental Protection Specialist
FAA - Alaskan Region, Airports Division

Monday, October 17, 2011

Kodiak Airport EIS meetings scheduled for Nov 1 & 2

Good afternoon,
Based on feedback from a number of our key agency representatives, I have
scheduled Kodiak Airport EIS meetings in Kodiak and Anchorage for the week
of October 31, 2011.  The intent of these meetings will be to present
runway safety area alternatives that will be included in the Draft EIS.
FAA and members of the EIS consulting team will take this opportunity to
describe the alternatives, provide rationale for why some alternatives work
and others won’t, and explain the factors considered in developing a range
for full environment analysis.  We are inviting agency and tribal
representatives, as well as other project stakeholders and interested
persons, to attend.  Our schedule will be:
      Kodiak Meetings
            Tuesday Afternoon, November 1 – Alternatives Meeting for All
            Wednesday Morning, November 2 – Available for individual
            agency/tribal/stakeholder meetings
      Anchorage Meetings
            Thursday Morning, November 3 – Alternatives Meeting for All
            Thursday Afternoon, November 3 - Available for individual
            agency/tribal/stakeholder meetings
As you can see from the schedule, I have also set aside time to meet with
some of you who would like further consultation or to discuss other
elements of the EIS.  I or another member of my consultant team will follow
up with you shortly to make those arrangements.  Let me know if you or
others from your organization cannot attend the alternatives meeting, and I
will do my best to arrange a conference call or some other forum to cover
this information with you in the near future.
In the next few days we will reserve meetings rooms, and I will send
another announcement with locations and times.  In the meantime, please
don’t hesitate to call me at 271-5453 if you have questions or specific
Leslie Grey
Environmental Protection Specialist
FAA - Alaskan Region, Airports Division

Saturday, October 1, 2011

UPDATE: 30 September 2011 from Leslie Grey FAA

Good morning,
I just wanted to give you a quick heads-up concerning progress on the
Kodiak Airport EIS.  FAA has completed our examination of the factors that
may constrain or influence runway safety area design for the north-south
(18/36) and east-west (07/25) runways at the airport.  We’ll provide much
more detail in the near future on how we conducted this review and
analysis, but for now I’ll note that factors considered included:
1) operational requirements such as aircraft use and approach and departure
2) landing aids such as the Runway 36 VASI and the Runway 25 glide slope,
3) runway utilization patterns,
4) federal safety requirements for the design aircraft, and
5) opportunities to avoid or minimize environmental impacts.
As a result of this effort, we’ve established a range of alternatives that
will be subject to a full examination of environmental impacts in the EIS.
Our consultants are at this time preparing materials that will depict the
details of these new alternatives (and I emphasize “new,” because most of
them were not included in the Preliminary Draft EIS).  My plan is to
schedule meetings with all of you sometime in November, in Kodiak and
Anchorage, to present these new alternatives and explain the work behind
our decisions.  Due to continuing uncertainty over the 2012 budget for
FAA’s Airports Program, unfortunately I can’t yet confirm that meetings
will take place, let alone times and dates.  But I hope to get approval
sometime in the next week or so, and will then notify you all of the
relevant details.
In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to call (271-5453) or write
( if you have questions or comments or just want to
talk about the EIS.
Thanks very much,
Leslie A. Grey
Environmental Protection Specialist
FAA - Alaskan Region, Airports Division

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

23 August 2011 FAA Email Update from Leslie Grey

 As you are probably aware, I and many of my co-workers in FAA’s Airports
Division, in Alaska and nation-wide, were part of the approximately 4,000
workforce that was temporarily furloughed.  The furlough affected a number
of Alaska projects, including the Kodiak Airport EIS.  The full impact of
the work disruption on the EIS and other projects is hard to determine, but
it certainly isn’t always limited to just a delay in schedule.  Resources
may get shifted to other priorities, contractors and consultants have to
adapt their manpower allocations, contingency plans may have to be prepared
to shut down work and, once a furlough is over, it takes extra time and
energy to get back project momentum.  The good news is, because their costs
are allocated through a previously committed grant managed by Alaska
Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT&PF), our
consulting team had some funding to continue work while I was away from the
office.  However, even the consultant’s work had to be somewhat limited in
scope, primarily because at the time of furlough FAA staff was pushing to
complete our comprehensive re-examination of runway safety alternatives.
The consultants can’t go very far with their efforts until FAA decides
which alternatives will be carried through a detailed analysis of possible
environmental impacts.  Although we still haven’t completed our analysis,
involving personnel from both Alaska Region and FAA headquarters with
critical input from ADOT&PF, Alaska Airlines, and U.S. Coast Guard, I can
report that the range of alternatives to be included in the Draft EIS will
be substantially different than was initially presented in the Preliminary
Draft EIS.  More will be forthcoming on that subject in the near future.
On a different note.  You may remember that after we had distributed the
Preliminary Draft EIS and received comments from reviewing agencies, Stacy
Studebaker, a biologist and Kodiak resident, alerted us to the presence of
a potentially rare plant in the vicinity of the Airport.  The
sessile-leaved scurvy grass (Cochlearia sessilifolia) was found in the
Buskin River estuary in late summer 2010.  The sessile-leaved scurvy grass
is not a federally listed species, and there are no state protections for
the species, but it is listed on the Alaska Rare Plant List by the Alaska
Natural Heritage Program.  The Heritage rank for Cochlearia sessilifolia (
G1G2Q/S1S2) means the species is considered either critically imperiled or
imperiled at both a global and state geographic level.
During our meetings earlier this year and in other communications, a number
of you encouraged FAA to undertake a more thorough investigation for the
presence and distribution of sessile-leaf scurvy grass in the area on or
around the Kodiak Airport.  The EIS consultants will be conducting surveys
for this plant later in August, in the EIS project area as well as in
surrounding suitable habitats within Chiniak Bay. Other potentially rare
plant species may be found in the project area, such as the Oriental
Popcornflower (Plagiobothrys orientalis) and the Alaska Mistmaiden (
Romazoffia unalaschkensis), and the surveys will document these and other
species of interest that may be found.
I hope this information is helpful.  Please don’t hesitate to call
(271-5453) or write ( if you have questions or comments
or just want to talk about the EIS.
Thanks very much,
Leslie Grey
Environmental Protection Specialist
FAA - Alaskan Region, Airports Division

Thursday, July 21, 2011

20 July 2011: Update from Leslie Grey, FAA

It’s been some time since I’ve provided all of you with information
concerning the Kodiak Airport EIS.  This message will give you a sense of
the work we’ve been doing since our meetings in Anchorage and Kodiak last
February.  I’ll also take the opportunity to let you know of a new approach
I’ve implemented to keep the public, tribes, agencies and other
stakeholders informed of our efforts.  First though, a summary of what is
happening with the EIS.
Most of our effort right now is being consumed by a comprehensive
examination of possible alternatives.  Last February I organized meetings
with tribal and agency representatives during which we held some of the
very good discussion concerning operational factors that can control or
constrain what could be done with runways at Kodiak Airport.  For example,
a common question asked was whether the north-south Runway 18/36 could be
shifted to the south, so that runway safety area could be installed on the
south runway end without adding new land that would affect the Buskin
River.  We are conducting a rigorous evaluation of the aviation
requirements for that runway to determine what, if any, degree of runway
shift would be possible without bringing obstructions such as trees or
terrain into the glide slopes for approaching aircraft.  Other factors also
have to be considered, such as impacts to critical navigational aids.  So
that all possible combinations of alternatives are being considered, a
similar analysis is being conducted for the east-west Runway 7/25.  We are
also considering other questions and options raised during those meetings
involving engineered materials arresting systems, side slope angles and
other construction requirements.
All of this analysis and re-examination of alternatives is taking more time
than any of us working on the EIS would have liked, but I’m satisfied that
the results will stand up to the very close scrutiny needed for such
important decisions.  In the meantime, I want to remind you that ADOT&PF is
still planning to initiate construction work this summer on a project
unrelated to the EIS or safety areas.  A contractor has been hired to
re-pave Runway 18/36, and at the same time replace lighting within and
along that runway.   Although much of the work will be on the surface, with
little new disturbance, there will have to be some excavation along runway
shoulders and for utility crossings.  Once ADOT&PF establishes a work
schedule we will make sure to pass that and other relevant information
After the February meetings I promised to start sending periodic project
updates, not only to keep you better informed of our work and progress, but
also to provide responses to the more substantive questions and concerns.
I’m sorry for the delay in getting that started – and I won’t bore you with
details of the contracting issues we had to resolve or other seemingly
minor bureaucratic issues to sort through – but this message serves notice
that in the coming weeks and months, the updates will be regular and
informative, even if the answers aren’t always what you would prefer to
hear.  I plan on using these communications to address a variety of topics,
but particularly the areas that seem to generate the most interest among
agency and tribal representatives, and the public.
These updates will not always come directly from me.  Certain senior
members of my EIS consulting team, depending on their particular expertise
and experience, will also be responsible for putting together the updates.
I hope you will feel comfortable calling them directly or sending a reply
e-mail if you have questions or concerns.  Of course, please call or write
me at any time, and if I can’t immediately provide the information you need
I’ll make sure we get it to you as soon as possible.
Thanks very much for your patience.  On behalf of FAA, I truly appreciate
your continued interest in the work we are doing and the necessary
processes we must follow to reach a decision concerning proposed runway
safety area improvements at Kodiak Airport.
Leslie Grey
Environmental Protection Specialist
FAA - Alaskan Region, Airports Division

Saturday, March 26, 2011

New Information on FAA Runway Extension Proposals (unconfirmed)

This information comes from an unconfirmed source:
New alternatives from the FAA. They have really scaled back on runway
18/36 to the North. They seem to favor new alternative 3. Extend
north end 450' with EMAS, extend south end 240' no EMAS. The new Alt 2
is extend north 240' w/ EMAS, extend south 600' no EMAS. Runway 7/25 is
now looking like: extend 600' to the east with 400' of EMAS.

Monday, March 14, 2011

FAA update 03 March 2011 Leslie Grey reaction to Kodiak meetings

I want to thank those of you who were able to participate in our recent
meetings concerning the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Kodiak
Airport.  As we mentioned in our discussions of runway safety area (RSA)
alternatives, FAA has put a lot of time and effort into exploring methods
for improving RSAs on two of the runways.  I hope everyone who attended the
meetings would agree that there are significant limitations on what can be
done to improve RSAs without adversely affecting Airport operations and
service.  Nevertheless, we heard some great questions and comments that
further emphasize the need for FAA to confirm our preliminary conclusions
and validate any assumptions used in developing a range of EIS
The comments, questions and criticisms generated at these meetings are not
only helpful, but always presented in a constructive manner, and I
personally appreciate the honest feedback.  As I promised during the
meetings, we will work hard to address all of the issues you raised. In the
coming months, I expect to send you periodic project updates that will
provide responses to the more substantive questions and concerns.
Please don’t hesitate to call or write if you have questions about the
project.  And, as always, please let me know if you should no longer be on
our e-mail distribution list, or if your contact information has changed.
If there are others in your organization who should receive these updates
and other information concerning the Kodiak Airport EIS, please forward
this message.  Thanks!  Leslie
Leslie A. Grey
Environmental Protection Specialist
FAA - Alaskan Region, Airports Division

FAA update 08 Feb 2011 from Leslie Grey

I would like to update you on the status and progress of the Kodiak Airport Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) currently underway.  The Federal Aviation Administration is preparing this EIS to evaluate actions proposed by the Airport Operator, the Alaska State Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT&PF), to improve the Runway Safety Area (RSA).

For those of you that may be unfamiliar, the RSA is a clear and graded area surrounding a runway.  This area is there to minimize the severity of injury and aircraft damage in the event of an aircraft excursion.  The project in Kodiak is to improve the deficient RSA to the extent practical.

First, I would like to thank you for your patience and continued interest throughout the course of this project.  There has been a tremendous amount of work and progress since my last update in September 2010.  Since that last message, we have evaluated and updated a range of build alternatives that support operational needs, are reasonable, and are financially feasible.

We are currently in the process of scheduling meetings in both Kodiak and Anchorage with staff from cooperating agencies, coordinating agencies, and federally recognized tribal governments.  These meetings are a necessary part of the EIS process, and will assist us greatly in completing the Draft EIS in anticipation of a mid-summer 2010 release.

Our extended review comments and concerns generated from the preliminary draft EIS, as well as our development of updated build alternatives has impacted our schedule.  Despite that impact, we still plan to release the Draft EIS as close to the above schedule of mid-summer 2010 as possible.  As that date approaches, I will continue to provide updates letting you know were we are.  If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me at the number or e-mail address below.

Finally, if you no longer want updates, please let me know, and I will remove you from our mailing list.  Additionally, if you know of someone that needs to be included, but is not, please forward this message, and have them contact me for inclusion in future updates.

Thank you so much, Leslie

Leslie A. Grey
Environmental Protection Specialist
FAA - Alaskan Region, Airports Division

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

FAA UPDATE: January 11, 2011

Subject: Kodiak Airport EIS Update
Happy New Year!
This message is to inform agencies and other interested parties of
the status of the Kodiak Airport Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) being
prepared by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  As you
know, the purpose of the EIS is to evaluate actions proposed by the Airport
operator, Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities to
bring the facility into compliance with the most current national aviation
safety standards for runway safety areas.
 At the end of the summer I sent you a note to make you aware that FAA
was conducting a comprehensive review of the runway safety area
alternatives.  That review has taken much longer than anticipated, but I am
pleased to say it is nearing completion.  I won't use e-mail to explain all
of the changes we've made, or the policy rationale and operational
constraints dictating the range of alternatives to be included in the Draft
EIS.  I plan on meeting with you in the near future to convey that
information.  However, I will tell you that the alternatives for both
runways 18/36 and 7/25 will incorporate, to a much greater extent, the use
of EMAS technology to provide added safety margin, particularly for
aircraft overruns while landing or from an aborted takeoff.  Greater
reliance on EMAS should translate to somewhat smaller disturbance
footprints in surrounding marine waters.  (I realize that most of you don't
practice arcane aviation acronyms on a frequent basis, so I'll just remind
you that EMAS stands for Engineered Materials Arresting System, an array of
crushable cellular cement blocks at the end of a runway that cause a rapid
aircraft deceleration.)
I will soon be directing my consulting team to start evaluating
environmental impacts of the new alternatives, and to incorporate these
analyses into a revised EIS.  And, of course, we have made and are
continuing to make other changes to the analyses based in many instances on
the substantive comments made by those of you who reviewed the PDEIS.
I will be scheduling meetings in mid-February, most likely the week of
February 14 or February 21, to review our work with as many of you as are
available.  Our intent will be to present you with a detailed
explanation of the alternatives, including the physical and operational
factors that limit or even prevent consideration of some options and other
rationale used to screen alternatives.  I'll make sure that we spend as
much time as needed to explain the new alternatives and why EMAS appears to
provide Kodiak Airport with particular environmental advantages, as opposed
to more traditional but larger RSA fill construction.  I also hope to be
able to present you with FAA's preferred alternatives.
Our extended review of alternatives has affected the project schedule, but
I still plan on releasing a Draft EIS to the public in mid-2011.   As we
get closer to completion of the analysis and documentation, I will provide
additional updates to inform you of our progress and next steps.
In the next couple of weeks I will send a follow-up message with specific
dates and locations for our February meetings.  In the meantime, please let
me know if you have questions or concerns, at the contact information
below.   And, as always, please let me know if you should no longer be on
our e-mail distribution list, or if your contact information has changed.
If there are others in your organization who should receive these updates
and other information concerning the Kodiak Airport EIS, please forward
this message.  Thanks!  Leslie
Leslie A. Grey
Environmental Protection Specialist
FAA - Alaskan Region, Airports Division