The typical commercialairport is a busy place.There are manyindividuals and agenciesperforming multiple tasks.Successful operationrequires everyone to worktogether efficiently.
AIRPORT FAMILIARIZATIONCASE STUDY
June 1st, 1999American Airlines Flight 1420 crashes 24 seconds after touchdown at Little Rock National Airport.
Rescue crews are initially unable to find the crash site. Bad weather, limited visibility and miscommunications delay the rescue process.Afterword, the NTSB report speculates that a quicker ARFF response might have resulted in fewer casualties.
Regardless of the responding department or size of theairport, emergency response personnel must be able to reach any point on the airport – even at night or in inclement weather. What does an Aircraft Rescue Firefighter need to know about the airport in order to quickly and efficiently respond to an emergency?
AIRPORT FAMILIARIZATIONIMPORTANT DOCUMENTATION
The Airport Certification Manual and Airport Emergency Plan provide detailed information about the airport and the responsibilities of the airport fire department.
All airports are required to have an Airport Certification Manual (ACM)that describes how the airport meets its operating requirements. Each airport’s ACM is approved by the FAA. The manual is provided to pertinent airport officials, including ARFF personnel.
The Airport Certification Manual includes:• Information about the airport’s owners• A grid map and other ways to identify airport locations and features• The airport’s system of runway and taxiway identification• ARFF responsibilities and requirements• Hazardous materials and cargo information• Copies of self-inspection forms
The Airport Emergency Plan (AEP) is a specific plan for responding toemergency situations, and may be included as part of the ACM or as a standalone document.
The Airport Emergency Plan is required to contain:• Assignment of emergency responsibility• Lines of authority and organizational relationships• Emergency response coordination• Emergency protection of people and property• Identification of available response and recovery
These documents contain lifesaving information.All ARFF personnel should be familiar with both the Airport Emergency Plan and Airport Certification Manual.
AIRPORT FAMILIARIZATIONTYPES OF AIRPORTS
There are numerous ways tocategorize airports. Differentfederal, state and nonprofitorganizations classify airportsdifferently, based onvolume, function or aircraftsize.
CATEGORIZED BY AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL STATUS: Controlled Airports have an operation tower and air traffic controllers. Uncontrolled Airports do not have a staffed control tower, but may during specific times.
Airports, categorized by size:• LARGE HUB – Serving >1% of the nation’s air traffic• MEDIUM HUB – Serving .25-1% of the nation’s air traffic• SMALL HUB – Serving .05-.25% of the nation’s air traffic• NON HUB PRIMARY – Serving more than 10,000 passengers annually, but less than .05% of the nation’s air traffic• NON PRIMARY COMMERCIAL – Serving 2,500-10,000 passengers annually• RELIEVER – Relieves congestion at primary airports; provides general aviation services to the community
It is important that you are familiar with your airport’sclassification, because this designation determines the needed fire protection.
AIRPORT FAMILIARIZATIONUNDERSTANDING AIR TRAFFICPATTERNS
The vast majority of aircraft incidents occur during takeoff andlanding, despite the fact that departure and arrival represent a small percentage of total flight time. Understanding these flight patterns is critical for ARFF personnel.
• CROSSWIND LEG – A flight path atComponents of a right angles to the landing runway ofTypical Traffic Pattern: its upwind leg • DOWNWIND LEG – A flight path parallel to the landing runway in the direction opposite to landing • BASE LEG – A flight path at right angles to the landing runway’s approach end • FINAL APPROACH – The portion of the landing in which the aircraft is lined up with the runway and is heading straight to land
All aircraft must fly this traffic pattern unless they have declared an emergency.Aircraft that have declared an emergency are given priority to land and may deviate from standard flight patterns.
The Segmented Circle is anairport marker system thatis located in the center ofsome airports. Illuminatedby lights at night, it usuallycontains a windsock. Trafficpattern indicators extendoutward from the circle andidentify the appropriatelanding pattern for theairport.
AIRPORT FAMILIARIZATIONNAVIGATING THE AIRPORT
Understanding the airport’s physical layout – its markings, policies and communication procures – is essential for effective and safe emergency response.
The Air Operations Area (AOA) is the area inside the airportwhere aircraft movement takes place. The AOA is divided intotwo primary areas:MOVEMENT AREAS include runways, taxiways andsafety areas.NON-MOVEMENT AREAS include all areas inside the airportboundary other than runways, taxiways and safety areas.
Movement areas may have largepaved areas to park vehiclesduring an emergency situation.Most airports also have freemovement areas – perimeter andsurface roads – where vehiclescan move independent of airtraffic control.
Aircraft always have theright-of-way over groundvehicles. The only exceptionis when air traffic controlexplicitly authorizes groundvehicles to have the right-of-way.
On-Airport Navigation Aids (NAVAIDs) provide point-to-pointguidance information or position data to aircraft in flight.
AIRPORT BEACONSColor Combinations• White and Green – Lighted land airport• White and Yellow – Water airport• Green, Yellow and White – Lighted heliport• White, White and Green – Military airport• White, Green and Red – Hospital and/or emergency services heliport
AIRPORT BEACONSFlashing Rates• 24-48 per minute for beacons marking airports, landmarks and points on Federal airways• 30-45 per minute for beacons marking heliports
LOCALIZERThe localizer provides runwaycenterline guidance to aircraft. Itis placed about 1,000 feet fromthe far end of the approachrunway.
GLIDE-SLOPE PATHThe glide-slope path is thesignal that provides verticalguidance to aircraft during theILS approach. The standardglide-slope path is 3 degreesdownhill to the approach-end ofthe runway. The antenna islocated 1,000 feet from the endof the runway.
PRECISION APPROACH PATH INDICATOR (PAPI)A light system positioned beside the runway that consists of fourboxes of lights that provide a visual indication of an aircraftsposition on the glide path for the associated runway. The PAPI isusually located on the left side of the runway and can be seen upto five miles away during the day and twenty miles at night.
ALSF – 2• A high-intensity approach lighting system that provides a visual lighting path for landing aircraft on Cat II and Cat III Runways• Lights are spaced 100 feet apart, starting from the runway threshold. Usually consists of a 2,400 foot-long array of lights but can be longer or shorter, depending on local terrain and requirements.
ALSF – 2System control of the sequentialflashing lights is accomplishedthrough the master controllerselecting one of three light intensities:• Low• Medium• HighBoth the sequence flashing and thesteady light systems provide for localor remote control.
MALSR• Medium-intensity approach lighting system that provides a visual lighting path for landing aircraft• Lights are spaced 200 feet apart, starting from the runway threshold. Usually consists of a 2,400 foot-long array of lights but can be longer or shorter, depending on local terrain and requirements.
MALSRSystem control of the sequentialflashing lights is accomplishedthrough the master controllerselecting one of three light intensities:• Low• Medium• HighBoth the sequence flashing and thesteady burning light systems providefor either local or remote control.
WIND SOCKLighted and frangible mountedwind socks are installed near theapproach end of eachrunway, opposite the 1,000 footmark (fixed distance marker) and150 feet off the left side of therunway.
Airport firefighters:• Need to be able to identify and locate NAVAID equipment• Should choose routes that do not hamper NAVAID
Airport ramps are the most congested areas on the airport.ARFF personnel should be aware of:• Pedestrian traffic• Fuelling, maintenance and baggage operations• Ground power units• Hazardous materials
Ground vehicles should beaware of foreign object debris(FOD), avoid parking behindaircraft and watch for movingaircraft.
Taxiways are roadways for aircraft surface movement. They may run parallel to or cross runways. Taxiways designations are not standardized and are generally determined locally. Taxiways are given letter names such as taxiway "Alpha", "Foxtrot", "Hotel" according to the International Phonetic Alphabet.
Primary taxiways are indicated on signs and markings by just theirletter: "A", "F", “H". Secondary taxiways are indicated on signs and markings by two letters: “EL”, “EK”, “EM”.Taxiways such as high speed exits (HSE’s) can be designated by a letter-number combination such as E1, A6, R2.
TAXIWAY LIGHTINGDenied Access LightsIndicates a closed taxiway or taxiway end.Taxiway Intersection LightsOne steady, yellow, omni-directional light thatindicates intersecting taxiways.Taxiway Edge LightsBlue in color and used to outline the edgesof taxiways.Taxiway Center LightsGreen lights marking the center ofthe taxiway.
TAXIWAY LIGHTINGLead-On / Lead-Off LightsWarns pilots and vehicle operators thatthey are within the runway environmentor instrument landing system criticalarea.
TAXIWAY MARKINGSTaxiway Edge Lines Taxiway CenterlineTwo solid yellow stripes mark the One solid yellow stripe indicatesedges of the taxiway. the center of the taxiway.
TAXIWAY MARKINGSTaxiway Denied Access Pattern A – Runway Holding Position Marking Marks holding position before going onto runway. If approaching from the solid line, all traffic must stop at the line and obtain clearance fromMarks a closed runway or the tower before crossing.taxiway entrance. If approaching from the broken line side, the hold position marking is non-applicable and vehicles can cross without clearance.
TAXIWAY MARKINGSRunway B – ILS Holding Pattern C – IntermediatePosition Marking and Holding Position MarkingPOFZ MarkingThe instrument landing system Intermediate holding position(ILS) broadcasts signals that guide markings are provided at anyarriving aircraft to the runway. Each location of a taxiway where airILS has a critical area that traffic control requires the aircraftmust be kept clear of obstacles to hold.that could block the signal.
TAXIWAY MARKINGSNon-movement Area Boundary MarkingUsed to mark the areas that are not under air trafficcontrol. To cross this line, vehicles must get permission fromground control. The solid yellow line is located on the Non-Movement Area side while the dashed yellow line is on theMovement Area side.
TAXIWAY MARKINGSEnhanced Taxiway Centerline MarkingA larger centerline marking used at larger, commercial service airports. Warns the pilotthey are approaching a runway holding position marking and should prepare to stop.
TAXIWAY MARKINGSVehicle Roadway Marking Apron Entry PointThe areas within which a vehicle can Also known as spots, they have asafely drive. number and indicate access to a terminal.
Runway numbers are taken from the nearest compass bearing, relative to magnetic north, rounded off to the nearest 10 degrees. Compass bearings start at north and run clockwise from 0 to 360 degrees.
RUNWAY DESIGNATION SYSTEM• A runway with a compass heading of 360 degrees is numbered 36 for aircraft approaching from the south.• The same runway is numbered 18 for aircraft approaching from the north because from that direction it has a compass bearing of 180 degrees.• Parallel runways are indicated by a number followed by L (left), R (right) or C (center).
RUNWAY LIGHTINGRunway Edge LightsWhite lights spaced 200’ apart. Amber from 2000’ torunway end.Runway Center LightsWhite spaced 50’ apart. Alternating red/white 3000’ to 1000’from runway end. Red for last 1000’ to runway end.Runway Touchdown Zone LightsRows of white light bars (three lights in each row) spaced100’ apart on either side of the centerline over the first 3,000’.Runway Threshold LightsRed/green lights used to ensure that pilots of both landingand departing aircraft know exactly where the runway beginsand ends, respectively.
RUNWAY LIGHTINGRUNWAY LIGHTINGRunway End Identifier Lights (REILS) 31Provides rapid identification of the end of therunway. The system consists of two Lsynchronized flashing lights, one on eachcorner of the runway landing threshold at anangle of 10 to 15 degrees.
RUNWAY LIGHTINGRunway Guard LightsVisual aids to help pilots identify therunway hold bar. Consists of a pair ofelevated flashing yellow lightsinstalled on either side of the taxiway.
RUNWAY LIGHTINGRunway Status Lights – RWLSFully automatic advisory safetysystem designed to reduce thenumber and severity of runwayincursions and thus prevent runwayaccidents while not interfering withairport operations. RWSLs aredesigned to be compatible withexisting procedures and arecomprised of Runway EntranceLights (RELs), Takeoff Hold Lights(THLs), and NEW RunwayIntersection Lights (RILs).
RUNWAY LIGHTINGRunway Status Lights – Runway Entry Lights (REL) Red warning lights placed at taxiway centerlines before the hold bar to signal that it is unsafe to enter or cross a runway because it is occupied by high-speed traffic such as an aircraft taking off or landing.
RUNWAY LIGHTINGRunway Status Lights – Take-off Hold Lights (THL)Red warning lights placed on runways at departure positions that indicate itis unsafe to take off because the runway ahead is occupied by another aircraft. 36 L
RUNWAY LIGHTING 13 LRUNWAY LIGHTINGDisplaced Threshold LightsLights marking a displaced threshold- any threshold that is not at thebeginning or end of a runway.
RUNWAY MARKINGSThreshold Bar Threshold MarkingsBar at the beginning (threshold)of the runway. Indicates threshold at the beginning of the runway.
RUNWAY MARKINGSRunway DesignationNumbers that indicate the compassheading of the runway (dropping the “0”from the end of the number). Can includeadditional letters if there is more thanone runway going in that direction.
RUNWAY MARKINGS Fixed Distance Marking Blocks that indicate 1,000 feet from the beginning of the runway.
RUNWAY MARKINGSTouchdown Zone Marking CenterlineProvides pilots a visual indicator ofwhere they should makecontact with Marks the center of the runway.the runway when landing.
RUNWAY MARKINGSRunway Side Stripes ChevronMarks that indicate the edges Arrows on the blast pad in frontof the runway. of a runway.
RUNWAY MARKINGSLand and Hold Short Operations (LAHSO)Markings that indicate where a plane must hold, after landing.
AIRFIELD SIGNAGEMandatory Holding Mandatory Holding Position SignPosition Sign for Runway Approach Areas Holding position on taxiways thatDesignates the holding position for pass in front of a runway approach.the runway that is about to be Must be treated as any otherentered. holding position.
AIRFIELD SIGNAGEMandatory ILS Holding Mandatory No Entry SignPosition Designates an area that is notDesignates holding positions to be entered.prior to entering ILS areas.
AIRFIELD SIGNAGEMandatory ILS Holding Mandatory No Entry SignPositionMarks holding position for taxiway. Located on opposite side ofUsed for Land and Hold Short holding position sign. Indicates that the runway is being exited.Operations (LAHSO).
AIRFIELD SIGNAGEILS Critical Area Taxiway Location SignBoundary Sign Designates the taxiway youLocated on opposite side of ILS are currently on.holding position sign. Indicatesthat the ILS area is being exited.
AIRFIELD SIGNAGERunway Location Sign Runway Exit Direction SignDesignates which runway you are A directional sign that indicates acurrently on. taxiway exit off a runway.
AIRFIELD SIGNAGEOutbound Destination Sign Inbound Destination SignFor aircraft departing an airport. For arriving aircraft. Gives directionsGives directions to common paths to to common paths to a terminal.a runway.
AIRFIELD SIGNAGETaxiway Ending Marker Runway Distance Remaining SignIndicates end of taxiway. Gives remaining runway length, in thousands of feet.
The runway safety area is the area surrounding a runway capable of supporting aircraft without damaging them. No object or vehicle may be present in the safety area when the runway is open.
AIRPORT FAMILIARIZATIONAIRPORT SECURITY
Airports serving air carrieroperations will have a SecurityIdentification Display Area (SIDA).Personnel in this area must have anappropriate badge or be escorted.
Badges or codes may be required to access certain airport structures. Alert airport security to lapses or breeches in security.
Be aware of fences and gatesaround the airport. Know fencesthat can be removed or drivenover. Know accessible locationsthat are available even ininclement weather.
AIRPORT FAMILIARIZATIONVEHICLE MOVEMENT AND ACCESSRULES AND REGULATIONS
COMMUNICATIONSProvide a primary and, whennecessary, an alternatemeans of communicationbetween:• Control Tower and responding ARFF personnel• Dispatcher and ARFF vehicles at the incident site• ARFF Incident Commander and the Emergency Aircraft
VEHICLE LIGHTINGThe standard identification lighting is ayellow flashing light that is mounted onthe uppermost part of the vehiclestructure.
VEHICLE MARKINGSVehicles are painted or markedin colors that contrast with thebackground environment andoptimize daytime and nighttimevisibility and identification.Yellowish-green is the vehiclecolor standard.
AIRPORT FAMILIARIZATIONAIRPORT MAPS AND FEATURES
Every airport has uniquefeatures, from large bodies of waterto nearby highways.These are key factors indetermining the best route forARFF vehicles.
Grid Maps are used toidentify ground locations.They should includeresponse areas outsideairport traffic patterns andcontrol zones.
Grid maps usually include a 5-15 mile radius of the airport and shouldinclude:• Pertinent terrain features• Standard map symbols• Emergency locations• Nearby buildings for possible structural response
Many airports present structural fire protection problems similarto those of a small city.Hangers, hotels, restaurants, cargo facilities, parking garagesand offices may have their own emergencies, or be affected byaircraft emergencies.
Structures of high concern for ARFF personnel include:• TERMINALS – Large groups of people unfamiliar with exit locations• JETWAYS – Paths for smoke and fire to travel between terminal and aircraft• BAGGAGE/STORAGE AREAS – Underground locations make it difficult to reach with fire suppression operations• MAINTANANCE FACILITIES – Numerous chemicals and electronics perceptible to fire and explosion
Water sources are animportant airport feature.Hydrants are usually locatednear airport structures andperimeter roads. Mostairports do not have hydrantsin movement areas. Watermay also be delivered bywater tanker or storagetanks.
AIRPORT FAMILIARIZATIONAIRPORT FUEL SYSTEMS ANDHAZARDOUS MATERIALS
Fueling systems are thenumber one fire considerationat airports. Fire preventionmeasures focus on spillageand eliminating potentialignition sources.
Common fuel-related safety hazards include:• Poor safety practices• Fuel vapor• IgnitionIgnition sources • Static electricity • Adverse weather • Electromagnetic energy • Open flames
Fuel is loaded onto aircraft with one of three methods:• Underground piping and underground fuel hydrants• Fueling islands• Tanker truck
To transfer fuel, truck drivers must hold open a “dead-mandevice” which will shut down the fueling operation if released.Fuel trucks must also have emergency shut-down switches andfire extinguishers.
Larger aircraft receive fuel fromsingle-point connections underthe wing. In addition, almost allplanes have over-the-wing fuelconnections that fill directly intotanks.
VALVES AND PUMPS• System controls can be operated remotely from a central control room through a computer monitoring system• Electronic Emergency Backup Systems• Manual valve controls at the distribution pumps and storage tanks• Valves are the weakest link – Keep them cool
COMPROMISES ANDLEAK CONTROLSecondary Containment Systemssuch as dikes must be made of animpermeable product that oilcannot seep through.In addition, secondarycontainment must be able to hold110 percent of the total amount ofthe primary containment.
ARFF firefighters’ responsibilities include:• Studying the location of fuel facilities• Learning the functions and operations of shutoff valves and switches• Conducting quarterly inspections• Being familiar with refueling vehicles
Airport fuel drainage systems:• Are designed to control the flow of spilled fuel• Are equipped with drainage inlets with connecting piping or trenches• Divert spilled fuel away from structures• Must not drain into storm water systems
HAZARDOUS MATERIALSA key component of emergencyresponse is Situational Awareness.Know your environment.Common hazardous materialsstored/used at airport facilitiesinclude:• Jet A, Jet B, AVGAS• De-Icing Fluid• Hydraulic Fluid• Skydrol
AIRPORT FAMILIARIZATIONAIRPORT FIRE STATIONS
Airport stations are situated in a central location and allow personnel to monitor the airfield. They may incorporate an observation tower.
From ARFF fire stations, personnel should visually monitor:• Taxing operations• Fueling and defueling operations• Roads, taxiways and fire lanes• Weather conditions
CONCLUSIONIn the confusion following anemergency or incident, respondersneed to be able to respond quickly andeffectively. The ability to navigate theairport – and understand its uniquechallenges and resources – is crucialto minimizing loss of life anddestruction of property.