The National Academies

ACRP 07-18 [RFP]

Develop Airfield Design Guidelines for Large Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)

Posted Date: 11/11/2019

  Project Data
Funds: $400,000
Contract Time: 16 months
(includes 1 month for ACRP review and approval of the interim report and 3 months for ACRP review and for contractor revision of the draft final deliverables)
Authorization to Begin Work: 5/1/2020 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Theresia H. Schatz
   Phone: (202) 334-2981
   Email: tschatz@nas.edu
RFP Close Date: 1/14/2020
Fiscal Year: 2020

Unmanned aerial systems (UAS) activity for civilian purposes continues to grow and expand as operators use UAS not only for surveillance, aerial photography, and infrastructure inspection, but also for disaster relief and commercial operations.
As airports consider introduction of larger UAS that need to use airports, there are a number of questions. It is unknown if (1) current airfield surfaces are adequate for use by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) of similar-sized manned aircraft; (2) there is a design impact on capacity and safety; (3) airports should seek to integrate them with or segregate them from manned operations; and (4) in communities with multiple airports, communities should integrate UAS at the primary commercial service airport or design another airport for UAS.
As indicated in ACRP Research Report 212: UAS and Airports, Volume 2, Incorporating UAS into Airport Infrastructure Planning, airport planners and engineers are considering whether and how to update master plans/airport layout plans (ALPs) for UAS. As technologies advance, UAS operators will find airfield design guidelines useful to their business and operational decisions.  Many UAS operate in a manner similar to piloted aircraft and, therefore, need airfield facilities for their safe and efficient operation, but airfield facility planning guidance specifically tailored to address the unique needs of large UAS is limited.
The objective of this research is to develop guidelines for airfield design challenges, issues, and considerations for the unique operational needs of large UAS (currently greater than 55 lbs), considering safety and capacity at existing airfields of different types and sizes.  The primary audience for this research consists of airport managers, planners, UAS operators, and other stakeholders. 
The guidelines should address, but not be limited to the following:
·         Integration vs. segregation of operational areas at airfields;
·         Considerations for different UAS categories and capabilities;
·         Integration of technology (e.g., command and control systems (C2), detect and avoid (DAA) systems, cybersecurity, infrastructure and utilities, etc.);
·         Airport master planning,  including economic and cost considerations;
·         UAS support infrastructure (e.g., maintenance facilities, hangars, terminal, fueling, etc.);
·         Environmental impacts (e.g., hazmat, noise, battery storage); and
·         Approach surfaces and terminal airspace.
Note: This project will not address accommodations for space vehicles and spaceports.
The ACRP is seeking the insights of proposers on how best to achieve the research objectives. Proposers are asked to develop and include a detailed research plan for accomplishing the project objectives. Proposers are expected to describe research plans that can realistically be accomplished within the constraints of available funds and contract time. Proposals must present the proposers' current thinking in sufficient detail to demonstrate their understanding of the issues and the soundness of their approach to meeting the research objectives. The work proposed must be divided into tasks and proposers must describe the work proposed in each task in detail.
The research plan should include appropriate deliverables, for ACRP approval, that include at a minimum:

1. A gap analysis to identify existing design criteria and emerging airfield design challenges, issues, and considerations related to UAS;
2. An annotated outline of the draft guidance document; and

3. An interim report that describes work done in early tasks with an updated work plan for remaining tasks.
The research plan should include other appropriate checkpoints with the ACRP panel, including, at a minimum, (1) a kick-off teleconference meeting to be held within 1 month of the Notice to Proceed and (2) one face-to-face interim deliverable review meeting, as well as web-enabled teleconferences tied to the panel review and ACRP approval of other interim deliverables as deemed appropriate. 
The final deliverables will include (1) guidelines that meets the research objective; 
(2) a Summary of Key Findings (see Special Note C), and a Further Recommended Research Memo (see Special Note D). Include a feasibility plan for a potential interactive tool which provides design airfield assessments for follow-on research.
Note:  Following receipt of the draft final deliverables, there should be 3 months for ACRP review and comments and for contractor preparation of the final deliverables.   For budgeting purposes, proposers should assume that ACRP will provide access to web-enabled teleconference services.  ACRP will pay panel members’ travel costs for the face-to-face meeting. Proposers should assume that the meeting will be held in Washington, DC.

A. A large UAS is defined as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) greater than 55 lbs and its accompanying systems. Unmanned implies either remotely piloted or autonomous operation and the potential to carry passengers.
B. Consider existing FAA Guidelines (i.e., AC-150/5200, 5300 series and orders), ACRP publications, and other relevant industry-related resources when conducting this research. It is expected that portions of publications and/or resources will be discussed or linked into the final publication as appropriate, including, but not limited to, ACRP Research Report 212: UAS and Airports, Volume 2, Incorporating UAS into Airport Infrastructure Planning, ACRP Project 03-50, "An Airport-Centric Study of the Urban Air Mobility Market,” and ACRP Project 03-51, "Electric Aircraft on the Horizon,” and others. 
C. The Summary of Key Findings will be a stand-alone document.  It should (1) convey the most pertinent and applicable results of the project’s research; (2) be geared toward the airport industry practitioner while minimizing technical language; (3) present results using text and graphics as appropriate; and (4) encourage readers to explore the primary project deliverables.  The Summary of Key Findings should be limited to no more than 4 pages.
D. The Further Recommended Research Memo will be a stand-alone document.  It should (1) identify logical follow-on research that would benefit the industry but that was beyond the original scope and budget of the project; (2) describe how the proposed follow-on research relates to ACRP’s research roadmaps, if applicable; and (3), for the highest priority research needs, include research ideas and/or problem statements to be added to ACRP’s IdeaHub, the program’s online repository of research needs.
E. Airports have received many surveys in response to ACRP projects. In an effort to ensure an adequate response rate and collection of information, proposers may consider the use of focus groups, Internet/web-based technologies, social networking sites, and industry conferences or other techniques that may be appropriate.
F. Proposals are evaluated by the ACRP staff and project panels consisting of individuals collectively very knowledgeable in the problem area. Selection of an agency is made by the project panel considering the following factors: (1) the proposer's demonstrated understanding of the problem; (2) the merit of the proposed research approach and experiment design; (3) the experience, qualifications, and objectivity of the research team in the same or closely related problem area; (4) the plan for ensuring application of results; (5) how the proposer approaches inclusion and diversity in the composition of their team and research approach, including participation by certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprises; and, if relevant, (6) the adequacy of the facilities.
Note: The proposer's approach to inclusion and diversity as well as participation by Disadvantaged Business Enterprises should be incorporated in Item 12 of the proposal. 
G. Proposals should include a task-by-task breakdown of labor hours for each staff member as shown in Figure 4 in the brochure, "Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals" (http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/crp/docs/ProposalPrep.pdf). Proposals also should include a breakdown of all costs (e.g., wages, indirect costs, travel, materials, and total) for each task using Figures 5 and 6 in the brochure. Please note that TRB Cooperative Research Program subawards (selected proposers are considered subawards to the National Academy of Sciences, the parent organization of TRB) must comply with 2 CFR 200 – Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards. These requirements include a provision that proposers without a “federally” Negotiated Indirect Costs Rate Agreement (NICRA) shall be subject to a maximum allowable indirect rate of 10% of Modified Total Direct Costs. Modified Total Direct Costs include all salaries and wages, applicable fringe benefits, materials and supplies, services, travel, and up to the first $25,000 of each lower-tier subaward and subcontract. Modified Total Direct Costs exclude equipment, capital expenditures, charges for patient care, rental costs, tuition remission, scholarships and fellowships, participant support costs and the portion of each lower-tier subaward and subcontract in excess of $25,000.
H. Item 4(c), "Anticipated Research Results," in each proposal must include an Implementation Plan that describes activities to promote application of the product of this research. It is expected that the implementation plan will evolve during the project; however, proposals must describe, as a minimum, the following: (a) the "product" expected from the research, (b) the audience or "market" for this product, (c) a realistic assessment of impediments to successful implementation, (d) the institutions and individuals who might take leadership in applying the research product, (e) the activities necessary for successful implementation, and (f) the criteria for judging the progress and consequences of implementation.
I. Item 5 in the proposal, "Qualifications of the Research Team," must include a section labeled "Disclosure." Information relevant to the ACRP's need to ensure objectivity and to be aware of possible sources of significant financial or organizational conflict of interest in conducting the research must be presented in this section of the proposal. For example, under certain conditions, ownership of the proposing agency, other organizational relationships, or proprietary rights and interests could be perceived as jeopardizing an objective approach to the research effort, and proposers are asked to disclose any such circumstances and to explain how they will be accounted for in this study. If there are no issues related to objectivity, this should be stated.
J. Copyrights - All data, written materials, computer software, graphic and photographic images, and other information prepared under the contract and the copyrights therein shall be owned by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The contractor and subcontractors will be able to publish this material for non-commercial purposes, for internal use, or to further academic research or studies with permission from TRB Cooperative Research Programs. The contractor and subcontractors will not be allowed to sell the project material without prior approval by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. By signing a contract with the National Academy of Sciences, contractors accept legal responsibility for any copyright infringement that may exist in work done for TRB. Contractors are therefore responsible for obtaining all necessary permissions for use of copyrighted material in TRB’s Cooperative Research Programs publications. For guidance on TRB’s policies on using copyrighted material please consult Section 5.4, “Use of Copyrighted Material,” in the Procedural Manual for Contractors.

Proposals (15 single-bound copies) are due not later than 4:30 p.m. on 1/14/2020.

This is a firm deadline, and extensions are not granted. In order to be considered for award, all copies of the agency's proposal accompanied by the executed, unmodified Liability Statement must be in our offices not later than the deadline shown, or the proposal will be rejected. Proposers may choose any carrier or delivery service for their proposals. However, proposers assume the risk of proposal rejection if the carrier or delivery service does not deliver all the required documents by the deadline.

Delivery Address:

ATTN: Christopher J. Hedges
Director, Cooperative Research Programs
Transportation Research Board
500 Fifth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001

Liability Statement

The signature of an authorized representative of the proposing agency is required on the unaltered statement in order for the ACRP to accept the agency's proposal for consideration. Proposals submitted without this executed and unaltered statement by the proposal deadline will be summarily rejected. An executed, unaltered statement indicates the agency's intent and ability to execute a contract that includes the provisions in the statement.

Here is a printable version of the Liability Statement (pdf). A free copy of the Adobe Acrobat PDF reader is available at http://www.adobe.com.

General Notes

1. According to the provisions of Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 21, which relates to nondiscrimination in federally assisted programs, all parties are hereby notified that the contract entered into pursuant to this announcement will be awarded without discrimination on the grounds of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or disability.

2. The essential features required in a proposal for research are detailed in the current brochure entitled "Information and Instructions for Preparing Proposals" (updated March 2018). Proposals must be prepared according to this document, and attention is directed specifically to Section V for mandatory requirements. Proposals that do not conform with these requirements will be rejected. This brochure is available here.

3. The total funds available are made known in the project statement, and line items of the budget are examined to determine the reasonableness of the allocation of funds to the various tasks. If the proposed total cost exceeds the funds available, the proposal is rejected.

4. All proposals become the property of the Transportation Research Board. Final disposition will be made according to the policies thereof, including the right to reject all proposals.

5. Potential proposers should understand that follow-on activities for this project may be carried out through either a contract amendment modifying the scope of work with additional time and funds, or through a new contract (via sole source, full, or restrictive competition).

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