Hello Again! In December I sent out an update that provided some answers to questions raised during our November meetings, with a focus on the Kodiak Airport runways: their dimensions and orientation, and how often they are used by the different aircraft types, including commercial jets, turboprops, and Coast Guard planes. This update builds on that earlier message by making the connection between runway use – particularly the type of aircraft regularly using a runway – and the applicable runway safety area (RSA) standards. I will also compare the standard RSA dimensions with what currently exists at Kodiak Airport. What is a Runway Safety Area? In the Advisory Circular Airport Design (#150-5300-13; 1989), FAA has described the RSA as “A defined surface surrounding the runway prepared or suitable for reducing the risk of damage to airplanes in the event of an undershoot, overshoot, or excursion from the runway.” I’ll supplement that description a little. By “defined” we mean the RSA has published dimensions of width, as measured from the runway centerline to both sides, and length, or the distance of safety area beyond the runway end. (We usually give these dimensions in feet). So, not only is there RSA at the runway ends, designed to offer aircraft undershoot or overshoot protection, but it also is found parallel to and along the sides of the runway. This lateral safety area provides protection in case an aircraft veers off during landing or takeoff. Our analysis of Kodiak Airport RSAs tends to focus on the runway ends, but each of the alternatives for Runway 18/36 also includes improvement to lateral safety area on the east side of the runway near the Runway 36 end. The attached, simple schematic from the Airport Design Advisory Circular should help to illustrate the concept. A way to establish that an RSA is “prepared or suitable for reducing the risk of damage…” is by requiring it to be capable, under normal (dry) conditions, of supporting aircraft that deviate from the runway without causing structural damage to the aircraft or injury to its occupants. RSAs make airports and flying safer, and reduce the potential for an aircraft to be damaged if a landing or takeoff has problems. RSAs also make it easier to get firefighting and rescue personnel and equipment to the scene of the accident if an aircraft does deviate from the runway. How are RSA Dimensions Determined? The minimum size for a particular RSA (known as the Design Standard) can vary depending on the type of aircraft expected to use the runway. Generally speaking, the largest and heaviest aircraft regularly operating on a runway dictates the RSA size. At Kodiak Airport this aircraft is the Boeing 737-400, operated by Alaska Airlines. The Boeing 737-400 falls within wingspan category Group III, which is based on primarily on an aircraft’s wingspan and tail height, and approach category of C, a classification based on an aircraft’s speed when approaching a runway for landing. (In case you were wondering, all of the B737-series aircraft using or potentially using Kodiak Airport, such as the B737-200 or newer -700/800/900 series, fall within the same design categories and would require the same RSA dimensions.) What are the RSA Standards for Kodiak Airport Runways? The RSA design standards for the Boeing 737-400 are Q 600 feet of approach (i.e., undershoot) protection on each end, Q 1,000 feet of overrun protection on each end, and Q 250 feet of lateral protection on either side of the runway centerline, for the length of the runway. This equates to a 500-foot wide lateral RSA. Since most runways support arrivals and departures in each direction, the 600 feet of approach protection is incorporated in the 1,000 feet of overrun protection. The net result, for a runway regularly serviced by the B737-400, is a 500-foot wide rectangular area centered upon the runway and extending 1,000 feet beyond each runway end. The description above is for what we might term a “traditional” runway safety area. Another option that requires a smaller footprint and still complies with FAA’s design standards is to use Engineered Materials Arresting System (EMAS). I’ll have more information on EMAS in another project update. While RSA design standards are based on the largest and heaviest aircraft regularly operating on a runway, smaller aircraft use the Kodiak Airport and do not require the same RSA areas. The Dash-8, flown by Era Aviation several times a day into the airport, is also a group III category aircraft based on wingspan, but it falls into approach category A because it has a slower approach speed for landings. Accordingly, the RSA design standard for the Dash 8 is smaller than for the 737 aircraft: 300 ft wide by 600 long. As I discussed in the last project update, both the Dash-8 and the B737-400 regularly use Runways 07/25 and 18/36. However, the required RSA dimensions for those runways are based upon the design standard for the larger aircraft, the B737-400. Why is FAA Considering Expansion of the Kodiak Airport RSAs? Public Law 109-115 states that not later than December 31, 2015, the owner or operator of an airport certificated under 49 U.S.C. 44706 (such as the Kodiak Airport) shall improve the airport's runway safety areas to comply with the FAA design standards required by 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 139. In other words, the RSAs at Kodiak Airport must meet the FAA’s design standards, contained in FAA Advisory Circular 150/5300-13, by the end of 2015. The following information describes the extent of RSA shortcoming on the runways ends at Kodiak Airport. Runway 07/25, the (almost) east-west runways Q Runway 07 Landings on this runway are from the west and departures are toward the east. Although the RSA undershoot protection on Runway 7 meets FAA standards, the proximity of Barometer Mountain precludes virtually any landings by larger commercial aircraft. Overrun standards are not met as there is no RSA on the east runway end. Q Runway 25 This runway is the opposite of Runway 07; landings are from the east and departures would be toward the west. There is no RSA to provide undershoot protection for aircraft approaching over the water from the east, nor is there RSA on the west runway end to provide overrun protection. Runway 18/36, the north-south runways Q Runway 18 Aircraft approach this runway for landings from the north, over the Buskin River estuary, and take off to the south. There is no RSA on the north runway end to provide undershoot protection, nor is there RSA on the south end of the runway, toward the Coast Guard station, for overrun protection. Q Runway 36 Since this runway is oriented 180 degrees from Runway 18, the directions of operation are reversed. Aircraft approach Runway 36 from the south and depart to the north. As with Runway 18, there is no RSA on either runway end for overrun or undershoot protection. Runway 11/29 These runways accommodate operations from and to the southeast, marine end of the runway or the northwest, interior of Kodiak Island. The runway safety area in place around Runway 11/29 is 300 feet wide for the length of the runway and extends 600 feet beyond the ends of the runway. This RSA meets the design standards for smaller commercial and larger general aviation aircraft, and no further improvement is required. Summary Federal law requires that RSAs at airports such as Kodiak comply with FAA design standards. Further, the owner or operator of such airports – ADOT&PF is the operator at Kodiak – must meet those standards not later than December 31, 2015. Two of the runways at Kodiak Airport, 18/36 and 07/25, do not meet design standards for the largest aircraft regularly using those runways. FAA has initiated an environmental impact statement to evaluate the effects of improving those RSAs. I hope this information is useful. Thanks again for continuing to stay involved in this project. Please don’t hesitate to call (271-5453) or write (Leslie.Grey@faa.gov) if you have questions, comments or concerns. Regards, Leslie (See attached file: RSA Schematic.pdf) Leslie A. Grey Environmental Protection Specialist FAA - Alaskan Region, Airports Division 907-271-5453
Monday, January 30, 2012
Sunday, January 22, 2012
Thank you for sending me the Rare Plant Survey Species Report. I have read it over and have the following comments:
1) The first aerial photo on page 6 does not specify the location within the study area. Buskin River?
2) The photo of the sessile-leaf scurvy grass on page 4, figure 1, shows the plants mostly in fruit and not in flower even though it as labeled as being in flower.
3) The photo on page 5, figure 2 is labeled "sessile-leaf scurvy grass and oriental popcorn flower in Woman's Bay".
I don't see either species in this photo but instead, Spergularia canadensis (Canadian Scurvygrass) is poking up out of the shallow water.
This is a common intertidal species within the study area but it is not listed on the species list on Table 1, page 3.
4) Plagiobothrys is misspelled throughout the report as Plagiobothryus.
5) This report appears to have been quickly put together. Given the misidentified plants in the photo on page 5, the accuracy of their findings in Woman's Bay is questionable. Did they really find Cochlearia sessilifolia and Plagiobothrys orientalis there? There is no photo documentation of Plagiobothrys in the report to show that they actually found it or correctly identified it.
With this report, what kind of "management" decisions can be made? The authors really did not add anything to the information that Carolyn Parker and I already supplied. There is nothing in the report that says that these rare plants would or would not be impacted by the various alternatives in the PDEIS.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Hello, We have completed the Alaska Rare Plant Species Survey Report in support of the analysis being done for the Kodiak Airport Environmental Impact Statement. This work adds to previous findings concerning the presence of sensitive plant species in the Buskin River drainage just north of the airport. The report documents the results of the plant surveys conducted by FAA's consultants last August, not only in the Buskin River estuary, but also in estuarine habitats of drainages entering Women's Bay. The report has been posted on the project website at http://www.kodiakairporteis.com/documents/documents.htm. If you have any questions about the report or other aspects of the EIS, please don’t hesitate to e-mail or call me at 271-5453. Leslie Leslie A. Grey Environmental Protection Specialist FAA - Alaskan Region, Airports Division 907-271-5453