January 22 2020 0Comment

FAA & TriServices Discussions Yield Positive Results

A series of meetings last week set a positive tone for developing a collaborative applied research & technology program and for improving airport concrete pavement specifications. 

Representatives of ACPA met with John Dermody, Director of the Office of Airport Safety and Standards; Khalil Kodsi, Airports Division Manager; and Doug Johnson, FAA Headquarters Paving Engineer. Gary Mitchell, ACPA’s Vice President of Airports, says they had a productive discussion about various research topics, as well as how to structure an applied research program that would facilitate agency and industry collaboration.

As ACPA has been reporting, Gary and others representing the concrete pavement industry have fostered an excellent relationship with the agency and have been working closely with officials from  FAA Headquarters and the William J. Hughes Technical Center to discuss both a viable collaboration and specific focal points for applied research that is focused on improving the quality of concrete pavements. As reported in ACPA  TODAY, the 2020 appropriations legislation, signed into law in December, provides funding for R&T similar to what ACPA developed and led to create the Accelerated Implementation and Deployment of Pavement Technologies (AID-PT) program with the FHWA. ACPA worked closely with PCA and NAPA on both programs, and it should be noted that the asphalt pavement industry is also engaged in similar discussions about R&T with FAA officials.

Also last week, there were two meetings with the US military Tri-Services, the first of which involved military officials, ACPA staff, Airfield task force Chairman Martin Holt (Interstate Highway Construction), other contractors, vendors and architectural and engineering (A/E) firms to discuss specifications. The group had a thorough and detailed discussion about the military’s Unified Facilities Guide Specifications, all with the aim of fine tuning and improving the concrete pavement spec.

Later in the week, Gary, Martin Holt and Jerry Voigt, met with the Tri-Services to discuss specifics ways to help improve concrete pavements and concrete pavement construction. “We agreed to enter into a close working relationship,” Gary says, adding that this relationship is focusing on a “better understanding of each other’s perspectives.”

He adds the military has some very exacting standards for quality, and those standards have everything to do with both the overall mission, as well as the type of aircraft taking off and landing on pavements, often in less than ideal conditions. “We understand and appreciate the Department of Defense requirements and why they are so exacting.”

The working relationship is very important and underscores the important point that our goals are the same: to increase the quality of airfield concrete pavements, he says.

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