The National Academies

ACRP 02-38 [Final]

Guidebook for Energy Facilities Compatibility with Airports and Airspace

  Project Data
Funds: $450,000
Research Agency: HMMH
Principal Investigator: Stephen Barrett
Effective Date: 5/2/2012
Completion Date: 11/2/2013


Projected demand for energy will increase in the upcoming years requiring the development of new or expanded energy sources. Recognizing the need to significantly increase energy production and transmission infrastructure, energy stakeholders must consider aviation safety and airport safety concerns. The FAA recently published Technical Guidance for Evaluating Selected Solar Technologies on Airports (November 2010). The ACRP Synthesis 28: Investigating Safety Impacts of Energy Technologies on Airports and Aviation takes another step in describing how various energy technologies affect airports. Initial findings and discussions with experts suggest, though, that the scope of the safety impacts may be greater, extending far beyond the immediate airport environs. Research is needed to further evaluate the safety effects that energy technologies may have on the air transportation system, (including aircraft in flight and on and off the airport environment) and to develop best practices to address such effects.


The objective of this research is to produce a guidebook, supported by empirical evidence, that provides best practices for aviation safety associated with planning, developing and constructing energy production and transmission technologies at and around airports.

The guidebook includes at a minimum:
  • A review of FAA guidance, related ACRP and other research, and relevant federal and state regulations. Acknowledge any overlap, such as FAA and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regulations;
  • Descriptions of different types of energy technologies that could be installed in and around airports, including but not limited to, solar, wind, power generation plants, oil and gas drilling, and electricity transmission lines and towers;
  • Best practices and guidelines for a wide range of types and sizes of airports compatible with air transportation systems, for all airspace, including special use airspace, both on and off airports;
  • Design and siting or location guidelines for each of these types of energy technologies, in order to mitigate and minimize the impact on aviation, such as, height and distance criteria for wind turbines, distance and angular criteria for solar panels, and thermal plume effects on aviation operations.
STATUS: The research is completed and is published under Report 108.

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