Members may recall that FAA added new departure routes and planned PBN/RNAV routes in late 2010 when the theoretical peak hour was 160 operations per hour --100 arrivals and 60 departures. This was a serious flaw in the 2010-2030 MSP LTCP. As predicted by SMAAC,this plan depended for safety on Next Gen features still under development and was less than safe or practical long-term considering that 40 or more aircraft would be parked waiting for a gate and congesting ground traffic. Evidently the disjoint between peak-hour capacity and forecast passengers, as SMAAC commented on the MSP LTCP and CIP and testified to in 2010-11 before Met Council, continues.
It was reported on-line by the MAC Noise Department and in draft minutes released before the July NOC meeting that Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Great Lakes Regional Administrator, Rebecca MacPherson, attended the May 15 NOC meeting and foretold a change at MSP reducing peak hour runway use in ‘northerly’ flow by 25% or more. We have not discovered when and how NOC came to be the locale, but the reported discussion was not restricted to noise exposure.
The May 15 Noise Oversight Committee minutes suggest that FAA committed to work on finalizing the change "through the NOC." Responding to a Eagan request, Rep. Angie Craig wrote FAA's Rebeccas MacPherson requesting coordination with the NOC on noise mitigation and environmental reviews. SMAAC has made Rep. Craig aware of the 9+ year delay in assessing the cost, safety and environmental impacts of hourly and daily operation rates, PBN/RNAV routes, and MSP facilities related to capacity, airline demand forecasts and Metro economic growth needs.
President Spensley asked MAC PR Manager Pat Hogan to clarify a few differences in the article and the minutes, and SMAAC was sent a paper "from Ms. MacPherson," with no letterhead or signature (see exrcted text below). President Spensley also had a short telephone converstion with MAC Executive Director Ryks about the above, and Ryks said that NOC was a small part of MSP planning, He also said that a "Stakeholder Advisory Committee" had been set up.
Spensley later emailed Chair King and Ryks that "SMAAC is strongly opposed to CRO, max ops per hour, and PBN routes being discussed with FAA by the NOC in advance of the LTCP and CIP drafts." Not NOC's job at all.
History. The MAC began projects last year to decrease the number of gates at Lindbergh Terminal to accommodate larger aircraft. Evidently the disjoint between peak-hour capacity and forecast passengers, as SMAAC commented on the MSP LTCP and CIP and testified to in 2010-11 before Met Council, continues.
In 2013, the National Transportation Safety Board warned MSP (the MAC and the ATC Tower and TRACON) that using R30L/R and R35 independently was inherently unsafe. MAC ignored the warning, publically accusing SMAAC of fear-mongering by "saying MSP was inherently unsafe" --as if we had not quoted NTSB in spech and written comments to the PDE Committee and the full commission.
In 2014, FAA suspended operations on R35 when R30L/R were active, and removed the maximum hourly operations rate oending a study. The new maximum has not been determined. Daily use of MSP in 2014-15 was such that departure delays were relieved by lack of arrival demand before or after a large arrival bank was accommodated. The MAC began projects last year to decrease the number of gates at Lindbergh Terminal to accommodate larger aircraft.
This May, FAA revised the air traffic control Standard Operating Procedures for MSP, changing how arrivals are accepted, giving prioity to R35 arrivals (on demand) and limiting operations on the main parallel runways in NW flow. FAA says it is theoretically possible but impractical (because of limited departures) to accept 90 arrivals in 60 minutes. 75 arrivals per hour has been mentioned for the 7 AM and 4 and 6 PM arrival schedule peaks at MSP. "Demand" at those hours is from Delta Airlines and the Delta NOC Co-Chair should recuse himself from discussions of arrival rates and routes used to time them as an ethical conflict of interest, even as a noise mitigation consideration, since how flights are scheduled is a cost of capacity driver and airport capacity is an agreement between an airport and the FAA, a scheduling given.
What the Rules Allow. Our analysis is that MSP will lack the space to safely move and hold aircraft (park at gates or elsewhere) between 4 PM and 8 PM and likely between 7 and 9 AM if as many as 75 aircraft land in an hour in either flow. In SE flow, MSP could allow perhaps 60 take-offs and 80 take-offs if 60 or 70 aircraft were available and the turn-around of rrivals was swift.
Safe and affordable (costs financed by airfares do not hobble Twin Cities economic growth capacity) MSP facilities and operating costs, an annual O&D passenger goal, and increases in GHG, carbon sub-micron particulates or other overflight emissions limits, and the issue of land use or land acquisition are beyond the sole authority of MAC.
Please complete the survey of members on actions the Board should consider to the raise public and government awareness of the stakes involved in the MSP CIP and LTCP plan updates.Read more
Kudoes to the Metropolitan Council for promoting clean enegy initiatives by cities and counties and public agencies (except MAC?).
For nine years, Met Council has not reviewed MSP plans to restore some hourly flight capacity and allow airlines to further concentrate connecting fleet operations in consecutive hours because these plans remain sequestered by MAC.
MetC hasn't accepted evidence that routing flights in MSP airspace at higher operational rates steeply increases fuel burn volume and reduces fuel efficiency. An estimated 40 percent increase in carbon particulates and GHG emissions per flight is associated with lower, slower and longer flight paths around MSP --to allow less than 10 percent more operations per hour. This is because there has been no Public Hearing on MSP Long-Term planning and capital investments and the likely environmental impacts and land use restrictions since 2010.
A slight increase in MSP use as a major hub probably would result in more carbon emissions than a total switch to wind and solar power for city requirements would save in, say, Minnetonka or Richfield.
SMAAC is very concerned that millions of dollars have been spent, and many millions more planned, for operations and facilties at MSP since the last-reviewed capital improvements program was funded. Indeed the 2011-2016 programs were soon amended implying changes to the MSP LTCP last approved in early 2011 (CIP numbers for 2011-2017).
A study in progress near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEATAC) found concencrated ultra-fine particulates (UFP) timed with overflights. That is, more paticulate density (measured in a mobile sensor array) as a jetliner passed overhead.
The data allows aviation-produced volumes to be stated as a percent of the total volume and refine exposure (dosage) to small areas for correlation with health statistics. Mobility also allows measuring under routes used in different "flow" and runway use configurations.
The SEATAC study also expanded the USC study around LAX, with similar results.
SMAAC Note: FAA flight recordings can count flights over a small area and use height and speed data to derive the UFP density over time. If UFP emissions by density were modeled in the International Noise Model based on the above findings, there would be a high correlation with noise exposure intensity on the ground. Since intensity (loudness) is expressed as an expotential function and density, weight and volume for particulates are linear:
1. There would be a correlation of high-DNL (or ldn) and a much higher UFP density at modeled points.
2. Per flight, UFP density at a lower DNL contour would be proportionally higher.
3. This means that UFP densities would coincide with DNL values as mapped but are more likely the cause of increased adverse health outcomes than noise intensity.
Aviation Watch -- formerly Aviation Watch or AvWatch as a Yahoo Group is being re-organized. The blog is under construction but active at
SMAAC is temporarily hosting the blog and the AviationWatch@YahooGroups.com e-mail version may be restored.
For 2011 through 2017 at MSP "improvement" projects were approved and facilities built at MSP without updating the need for and purposes of many airfield and terminal facilities changes. Clues remain that passenger arrivals per hour are anticipated for two reasons: slightly larger aircraft and more flights arriving per hour (more than FAA currently considers safe, and more than can be accepted without accumulating aircraft at MSP).
MSP officials told SMAAC that, this year, a Draft Long-Range Comprehensive Plan Update and the Capital Improvments Plan as funded for 2020 and planned for 2021-26 will be reviewed by Met Council. Perhaps some internal agreemen tresolving the Converging Runway Operations safety order --maximum operations per hour in two flows, ground traffic and aircraft accumulation resulting from consecutive high-rate-hours in the same flow --has been reached with FAA and airlines.
A furteh complication for the MSP LTCP seems to be emerging: plans are based on forecasted passenger/flight "demand." No doubt, faults in the Boeing and FAA aircraft safety cetifications for the B-737 MAX 800, 900 revealed after the two disasters are a foreboding issue in polls about air travel plans. A new forecasting method was introduced for capacity planning in about 2012, without considering economic demand in the Metro, or the local-connecting passenger ratio, or lower public confidence in safe air travel.
So there is a lot to consider, we hope openly. It would be better if the MAC and Met Council insisted on openly planning flights with more attention to costs and public health and safety risks.Read more
Airport groups offered and received help through Aviation Watch for many years. "Airport Noise" in various forms and places resulted in protests, lawsuits, and occasionally changes in airport management. Over the years, airport noise was encapsulated by US DOT and FAA laws and rules (i.e. 14 CFR Part 150 and Part 161). Airlines successfully lobbied to stuff all protests of overflights into these grinders until protestors were exhausted and disillusioned.
In the social media age, anyone can put out a web site named "Quiet Skies" this or that and many have. We have a problem in that the title funnels the actions into limited practices and Rules. Even the Congressional Quiet Skies Caucus's boldest proposal 55 DNL and over mitigation under 14 CFR Part 150 would by no means result in noise or pollution reductions and mitigation can be evaded by noiser flights over more people using more overflight courses per day.
So, with help from other groups promised, we are taking two small steps toward a reduction in aviation noise and pollution per actual flight --by shortening the length and time of the average trip and reducing airport operations involved in the average trip.
1, We're oganizing a technical base for airport capacity plan protests called, for the moment, the Special Meto Airports Analysis Consortium (US)
2. We are hosting the Aviation Watch blog.Read more