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25 CHAPTER 2 Airport and Airline Surveys Introduction Defined threat and risk alert levels; Means of alerting airport staff and operators on aircraft The science of lightning and technologies that detect light- ramps to lightning events (airport surveys); ning events were briefly reviewed in Chapter 1. This chapter Means of alerting airline staff and other airport ramp op- describes how airport and airline management uses those erators to lightning events (airline surveys); technologies to control ramp activities and afford a safer Deficiencies in lightning detection systems and associated working environment when lighting occurs at the airport. warning procedures; Survey candidates were jointly identified by the project panel Effectiveness of the equipment, threat and risk levels, and and the MDA Federal team. the candidates included several air- notification process; and ports that have installed lightning detection and warning sys- Applicability of standardization to lightning detection and tems to support their operations, as well as several airlines. warning system procedures. The airports surveyed included For comparative purposes, the input obtained from each Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, NC (CLT), airport and airline is grouped by query item. The responses Chicago-O'Hare International Airport, IL (ORD), reflect the use of certain types of equipment to monitor light- Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport, TX (DFW), ning threats and the variety in how that data are interpreted Denver International Airport, CO (DEN), and used to control ramp operations. Orlando International Airport, FL (MCO), In general, lightning detection systems convey information Phoenix-Sky Harbor International Airport, AZ (PHX), to users through computer monitor displays, as illustrated in Pittsburgh International Airport, PA (PIT), and Chapter 1. These systems apply algorithms to advise users as Tampa International Airport, FL (TPA) to the potential for, or the actual existence of, a lightning event; the warnings are conveyed to field crews and personnel The following four airlines were also surveyed: in a number of ways, as summarized in the following sections. American Airlines (AA), Northwest Airlines (NW), Lightning Detection Equipment United Airlines (UA), and United Parcel Service (UPS). Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (CLT) Vaisala Precision Lightning Weather System (PLWS), a predecessor of the TWX1200 (Vaisala Thunderstorm Warn- Survey Results ing System 1200) with NLDN feed and two electric field In general, the airports and airlines were questioned with mills (EFM). respect to Chicago-O'Hare International Airport (ORD) Type of lightning detection and warning system equipment installed; No airport-owned or provided equipment. Users rely on Complementary weather data support systems; self-installed equipment.

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26 Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW) At Louisville, UPS utilizes the WSI Weather Workstation, which provides weather radar observations, weather maps No airport-owned or provided equipment. Users rely on and forecasts, and NLDN real-time cloud-to-ground light- self-installed equipment. ning observations that are monitored 24/7 at the ramp operations center. The system automatically generates a Denver International Airport (DEN) pre-alert, fuel ban alert, and operations alert at the center with visual cues when lightning is detected within the pre- No airport-owned or provided equipment. Users rely on defined ranges. self-installed equipment. UPS is considering switching to the TOA System's USPLN in the expectation of faster throughput of observations, lower Orlando International Airport (MCO) costs, and possible improved warnings through the USPLN's reports of within-cloud lightning strikes, in addition to cloud- Vaisala TWX1200 with NLDN feed and two EFMs. This sys- to-ground strikes. tem is referred to locally as "ForeWarn II," which is the brand name used by ARINC when it sells and installs the Vaisala product. MCO is planning to add a third EFM and use its local Complementary Weather Data area network to transmit alarms to remote alarm display Support Systems (RAD) units. Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (CLT) Phoenix-Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) Weather radar feed. Vaisala TWX300 with NLDN feed and two EFMs. Chicago-O'Hare International Airport (ORD) Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) Uses outside contractor and media reports. Has access to weather radar feed. Vaisala PLWS with NLDN feed and two EFMs. System to be upgraded to TWX300. Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW) Tampa International Airport (TPA) Utilizes an outside contractor for weather forecasts and warnings. Vaisala PLWS with NLDN feed and two EFMs. System to be upgraded to TWX300. Denver International Airport (DEN) American Airlines--DFW Only "Borrows" observations taken by a weather observer Vaisala TWX300 with NLDN and two EFMs. stationed in the Ramp B tower and retained by another party. Also subscribes to the Weather Support for Deicing Decision-Making (WSSDM) provided by Vaisala in con- Northwest Airlines--Systemwide (eight airports) junction with the National Center for Atmospheric Re- DTN/Meteorologix Aviation WX Sentry and one EFM. search (NCAR). The WSSDM system includes lightning observations from the NLDN, but the lightning data path is not secure and is not intended for lightning safety United Airlines--ORD Only applications. Vaisala TWX1200 with NLDN feed and two EFMs. System to be upgraded to Vaisala TWX300. Orlando International Airport (MCO) No airport-owned or provided equipment. Users rely on United Parcel Service--Louisville, KY, Only self-installed equipment. UPS has operations at about 100 airports. Two airports (main hubs)--at Rockford, IL, and Louisville, KY--have their Phoenix-Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) own lightning detection systems. Approximately 12 airports have lighting information provided by the airport authority No airport-owned or provided equipment. Users rely on or other airlines. self-installed equipment.

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27 Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (CLT) Weather radar display from Meteorlogix. Utilizes the light signals automatically presented by the Vaisala TWX1200 based on customized software, as follows: Tampa International Airport (TPA) Satellite weather radar antenna. Green indicates EFMs do not exceed alarm thresholds and no lightning within 12 mi, or no EFM alarm and no light- American Airlines--DFW Only ning in past 5 min. Green/yellow indicates one EFM at alarm threshold, or Has access to American Airlines Meteorology Department lightning strike within 12 mi. at headquarters, but relies on Vaisala TWX1200 system. Yellow indicates two EFMs at alarm threshold, or lightning strike within 12 mi and one EFM at alarm threshold, or Northwest Airlines--Systemwide (eight airports) lightning strike within 6 mi. Yellow/red indicates two EFMs at alarm threshold and a Internet with Google map overlay. Surface radar and visual lightning strike within 12 mi, or lightning strike within observations. 8 mi and one EFM at alarm threshold. Red indicates lightning strike within 3 mi, or a lightning United Airlines--ORD Only strike within 8 mi and two EFMs at alarm threshold. Has access to data collected at the nearby off-airport The light signals are intended to convey current condi- United Airlines Operations Center, including real-time radar tions for thunderstorms and potential for lightning strikes as observations, satellite imagery, and forecasts. follows: Green indicates no activity that will affect local operations. United Parcel Service--Louisville, KY, Only Green/yellow indicates conditions favor thunderstorms, or Has access to weather data and forecasts at their on-airport one or more storms are nearby and are active or forming. airline operations center. Yellow indicates activity is close and will influence, or may have already affected, operations. Yellow/red indicates activity is close enough that a red light Defined Threat and Risk Alert Levels can be anticipated within 5 to 10 min, or storm is just be- The majority of users of lightning detection systems employ ginning to display less influence. visual warning cues to signal lightning events and a course of Red indicates storm is having a direct impact on opera- action with respect to ramp activities. tions. An interruption can normally be anticipated. Because of the range of activity centers at an airport, users may opt to equip management/operations centers with RAD systems that readily convey the required course of action based Chicago-O'Hare International Airport (ORD) on the data input received and evaluated at the central loca- None. May rely on observed action of airlines. tion. Visual displays typically use color-coded signal lights to convey whether no lightning is anticipated or being monitored, the potential for termination of ramp activities, or ramp Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW) closure. The colors green, yellow, red, as well as combinations None. of those colors, are well suited to convey the required course of action with respect to ramp activity. An example of a RAD system is shown in Figure 17. Denver International Airport (DEN) DEN Communications Center issues Lightning advisory when lightning is observed 10 mi out, Lightning warning when lightning is observed 5 mi out, and Lightning "secure" when no lightning is observed within a Figure 17. RAD system manufactured by Vaisala. 5-mi radius for 15 min.

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28 Orlando International Airport (MCO) Tampa International Airport (TPA) Utilizes the light signals automatically presented by the Utilizes the light signals automatically presented by the Vaisala TWX1200 based on customized software, as follows: Vaisala TWX1200 based on customized software, as follows: Green indicates EFMs do not exceed alarm thresholds and Green indicates no cloud-to-ground lightning within no lightning within 6 mi. 18 mi, and no EFM alarm threshold reached. Green/yellow indicates one EFM at alarm threshold, or Green/yellow indicates lightning within 18 mi. lightning strike within 6 mi. Yellow indicates lightning within 18 mi and one EFM at Yellow indicates two EFMs at alarm threshold, or lightning alarm threshold, or lightning strike within 4.8 mi. strike within 6 mi and one EFM at alarm threshold, or Yellow/red indicates lightning within 18 mi and two EFMs lightning strike within 4 mi. at alarm threshold, or lightning within 4.8 mi and one EFM Yellow/red indicates two EFMs at alarm threshold and a at alarm threshold. lightning strike within 6 mi, or lightning strike within 4 mi Red indicates lightning strike within 3.1 mi, or lightning and one EFM at alarm threshold. within 4.8 mi and two EFMs at alarm threshold. Red indicates lightning strike within 2.5 mi, or a lightning After a 5-min delay and no change, system moves to next strike within 4 mi and two EFMs at alarm threshold. lower threat level. Phoenix-Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) American Airlines--DFW Only Utilizes the light signals automatically presented by American Airlines Safety Department, with input from the Vaisala TWX1200 based on customized software, as labor unions, uses the following standards: follows: If a lightning strike is within 5 mi, use hand signals on the ramp; Green/green on both monitors indicates lightning at least If a lightning strike is within 3 mi, shut down all ramp op- 17 mi distant, erations; and Green/yellow on one or both monitors indicates lightning Minimum time to restart ramp activity is 10 min without within 17 mi, and a lightning strike within 3 mi. Yellow/red on one or both monitors indicates lightning within 5 mi. Northwest Airlines--Systemwide (eight airports) Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) Northwest uses the following standards: Utilizes the light signals automatically presented by the If a lightning strike is within 5 mi, stop fueling and cease all Vaisala TWX1200 based on customized software, as follows: headset communications; If a lightning strike is within 3 mi, cease ramp operations; and Green indicates no lightning within 17 mi, and no EFM Ramp activities can be restarted only when there have been alarm threshold reached. no lightning strikes within past 10-15 min (using judgment). Green/yellow indicates lightning within 17 mi but greater than 12.5 mi, or one EFM at alarm threshold. The 5-mi and 3-mi limits are those recommended by the Air Yellow indicates lightning within 17 mi but not within Transport Association and the International Air Transport As- 12.5 mi and one EFM at alarm threshold, or two EFMs at sociation. The impact on ramp activities associated with these alarm threshold and no lightning strike within 17 mi, or standards was determined with input from the labor unions. lightning strike within 12.5 mi but not within 5 mi and no EFM at alarm threshold. Yellow/red indicates lightning within 12.5 mi but not United Airlines--ORD Only within 5 mi and one EFM at alarm threshold. The following standards were set with input from United Red indicates lightning strike within 5 mi, or lightning Airlines headquarters and labor unions: within 12.5 mi but not within 5 mi and two EFMs at alarm threshold. After a 10-min delay, system moves to the next If lightning is detected within 50-mi radius, alert status is appropriate threat level. activated;

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29 If lightning detected within 25-mi radius, aircraft Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW) are grounded and preparations begin to clear ramp DFW Operations Communications Center initiates radio personnel; If lightning is detected within a 10-mi radius, strobe lights calls to staff and coordinates with American Airlines ramp tower staff. and electronic flight information display system (EFIDS) are automatically activated and the ramp is cleared of per- sonnel; and Denver International Airport (DEN) If lightning is beyond 50-mi radius, then normal activity. DEN Communications Center has a briefing phone hotlinked to airlines, air traffic control tower, terminal Note: unions had requested increase from 7 mi to 10 mi radar control center (TRACON), aircraft fuelers, caterers, and installation of EFIDS. cargo operators, and the DEN Public Affairs Department, which uses a phone-tree to contact other DEN property ten- United Parcel Service--Louisville Only ants and terminal tenants. DEN field staff are contacted by radio. UPS default operating rules are as follows: Provide a pre-alert to all personnel when lightning is Orlando International Airport (MCO) within 12 mi; Fully automated system based on customized software that Ban fueling when lightning is within 5 mi; and activates Ban ramp operations when lightning is within 3 mi. MADS at MCO Communications Room; and These rules can be modified by local station operating RAD system at MCO Operations, participating airlines' op- management depending on the history of storm events at erations, and 13 locations in Terminal A and Terminal B. each airport and the distances that ramp personnel need to cover to reach an area of safety. These rules can also be No visual alarms are installed. amended by time of year, to account for differing storm MCO field staff are contacted by radio, but not always characteristics. reached. The aircraft mechanics union has expressed concern with Aircraft fuelers are not served by RAD system; instead, they respect to lightning issues and encourages the use of "reliable rely on wireless data transmission from MCO Communica- systems" to support decision making. tions Room. Notification Process Phoenix-Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (CLT) PHX Communications Center initiates a 800 MHz radio Fully automated system based on customized software that all-call to field staff. activates Airlines and ramp users are not notified. Master alarm distribution system (MADS) at CLT Opera- No visual or audible alarms are activated. tions Control Center (OCC), RAD system at airlines' operations center and North Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) Carolina Air National Guard, and Red/yellow/green traffic signals for ramp vehicles. Warning lights in sets of yellow and red are strategically placed on all four wings of the airside terminal, the fin- The CLT OCC notifies general aviation and fixed base gers of the E-gates, and the hangars. At least two sets of operator by telephone. No audible alarms are sounded. warning lights are visible from anywhere on the aircraft ramps. Radio calls are made to all PIT staff. Chicago-O'Hare International Airport (ORD) Automated telephone calls are made to certain tenants. Advises ORD staff by radio and telephone. PIT hosts a lightning warning committee three times per Does not alert airlines or other airport tenants. year to review procedures and appropriate actions.

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30 Tampa International Airport (TPA) Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (CLT) Fully automated system based on customized software that Satisfied with the system in place. Airlines rely on CLT activates for alarm notification through the automated system (RAD system). Those airlines that are not provided with MADS at TPA Communications Center, RAD system generally follow the lead of the hub carrier, RAD system at participating airlines' operations, and USAirways. Remote enunciators (horn and beacon) at participating airline airsides A, C, E, and F; at A baggage sort; and at Chicago-O'Hare International Airport (ORD) landside terminal baggage makeup. System and program in place does not allow for identifying the location of lightning strikes. Airlines, primarily American American Airlines--DFW Only and United, operate independent lightning detection and American Airlines' fully automated system activates strobe warning systems. lights and ramp information displays at all gate positions. The DFW Operations Communications Center is telephoned, Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW) and advice is provided to other airlines and tenants in re- sponse to direct queries. Relies on system installed by American Airlines, which activates flashing strobes at terminal facilities and hangars. American Airlines telephones the primary fixed base operator. Northwest Airlines--Systemwide (eight airports) Other airlines and ramp users follow the lead of American Northwest Airlines' notification process includes Airlines. However, these ramp users apply independent judg- ment as to stop/restart activity. FedEx and UPS may have Activating blue lights at ramp locations, independent lightning detection and warning systems for Initiating radio and telephone calls to notify other North- their use. west personnel, and Advising air traffic control tower operators. Denver International Airport (DEN) The contract weather observer in the Ramp B tower initiates United Airlines--ORD Only the lightning advisory, warning, or "secure" message based United's notification system consists of primarily on visual reference. This can generate an earlier than necessary notification. The observer would benefit from An alarm activated at station manager's office, which must the use of newer technology equipment. be acknowledged; 800 MHz radio call to employees who are unable to see Orlando International Airport (MCO) strobe lights or EFIDS; Radio and telephone calls to fuelers, caterers, air freight, and Prefers current arrangement, which provides a central other ramp operators that support United operations; and location for data inputs and alarm notification. A Blackberry message to vendor contractors. Phoenix-Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) United Parcel Service--Louisville Only Notification system is adequate for PHX personnel. How- When the WSI system signals a lightning event, ramp oper- ever, there is no communication with airlines or other airport ations center (RCC) personnel manually activate a radio tenants. Unsure how these tenants make stop/restart decisions communications system that blocks all frequencies for intra- when lightning threatens. airline use to a receive-only mode. A voice message announces a pre-alert, fuel ban, or operations ban. Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) Airlines and other airport tenants generally follow lead Deficiencies and Effectiveness of primary carrier, USAirways, but there are deviations in Respondents made the following comments regarding application. Airlines or other tenants have not installed inde- notification deficiencies and effectiveness. pendent lightning detection and warning systems.

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31 Tampa International Airport (TPA) Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW) Some users allow for more time than the system suggests Prefers a single system for airport and tenants to rely upon. to restart ramp activity despite 5-min built-in delay. Could be implemented on a cost-share basis as defined in a The warnings provided by TPA are advisory only. Airlines new operating lease. and other tenants make independent stop/restart decisions that can vary among them. Denver International Airport (DEN) Favors a common approach to issuance of lightning threats American Airlines--DFW Only at airports. No deficiencies in their operations. System in place at DFW is the most advanced of those used in other American Airlines stations with at least 30 daily flights. A remote display system Orlando International Airport (MCO) may be leased at other airports where such capability exists as Some tenants have requested that MCO make the stop/ generally provided by the airport owner. restart decision. However, MCO has resisted because of lia- bility concerns. Northwest Airlines--Systemwide (eight airports) None noted. Other airlines tend to follow Northwest Air- Phoenix-Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) lines lead at airports where it is the primary carrier. FedEx has Believes that liability issues will limit implementation of an independent lightning detection and warning system at central system. Memphis International Airport, TN. Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) United Airlines--ORD Only Does not believe this is a significant issue. Airlines and No deficiencies noted; no deaths, injuries, or loss of equip- unions usually have differing points of view as to stop/restart ment in past 5 years. Noticed that other airlines at ORD use ramp activities. differing risk threshold levels. Tampa International Airport (TPA) United Parcel Service--Louisville Only The lightning detection and warning system at TPA has Concerned about reliance on totally automated systems, evolved over time, and the airlines have participated with TPA which are described as often being overly cautious. This gen- staff in deciding best practices, type and location of equipment erates ramp activity stoppages that can be expensive to their to be installed, and the alarm level thresholds. Nonetheless, time-sensitive operations. adherence is voluntary, and airlines and others with ramp access exercise autonomy in deciding whether to stop ramp Standardization activity and when to restart. Standardization of the system can be a goal, but in practice is not achievable due to the variances Respondents made the following comments regarding in airline and ramp user policies and business models. standardization of lightning detection and warning system technologies and practices. American Airlines--DFW Only Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (CLT) American Airlines' risk levels have been regarded as too con- servative by some airlines. Inasmuch as they have not standard- Due to the uniqueness of each airport, the process does not ized a system for their other airport stations, standardization lend itself to standardization. would seem to be even more impractical for other users. Views liability concerns as overriding justification for a central system. Chicago-O'Hare International Airport (ORD) Northwest Airline--Systemwide (eight airports) Airlines had requested a central system operated by ORD. Under the advice of legal counsel, however, ORD has declined Supports a single system provided by the airport, with due to liability concerns. establishment and operating costs included in airline and