The National Academies

ACRP 09-22 [Pending]

Guidance for Small Airports on Safe Maintenance of Airfield Electrical Systems

  Project Data
Funds: $300,000
Contract Time: 16 months
Staff Responsibility: Matthew J. Griffin


Nonqualified or improperly trained airport staff may not be able to recognize airfield electrical systems hazards that may lead to serious injury or loss of life. Airport sponsors of many of the country’s smallest airports may not have qualified onsite management or staff familiar with the operational needs and risks to appropriately manage an airfield electrical system. The maintenance of airfield electrical systems may be left to general airport staff, airport sponsor staff, or outside individuals, all of whom may lack proper training. The unintended consequences of improper routine maintenance or catastrophic failure is not only dangerous, but will disrupt safe airfield operations. It appears that there is no cost-effective training on basic airfield electrical system maintenance available for small-hub, non-hub, reliever, and general aviation (GA) airports. 

Airport sponsors could benefit from assistance in understanding how to appropriately train, select, and assign individuals and/or resources to safely maintain the airfield electrical systems, including the means to identify qualified local or regional resources. 




The objective of this research is to provide guidance and best practices for safely maintaining airfield electrical systems that are accessible and practical for small-hub, non-hub, reliever, and GA airports. The guidance should include tools; compile means and methods for recognizing hazards and mitigating risks; and provide curriculum outlines and job aids that sponsors can use to ensure that individuals are fully qualified to perform tasks assigned. 


The guidance and best practices should include and/or address, at a minimum, the following:

  • A management decision tree and risk assessment of resources to be assigned to specific tasks as determined by severity and complexity of the duties; 
  • A summary of industry standards, regulations, and definitions including qualified persons, electrical safe work conditions, etc.;
  • A list of standard practices that should be considered by airport sponsors;
  • Existing and or recommended airfield electrical training resources and funding mechanisms; and
  • Guidance for cost-effective sourcing of electrical work including how to identify and select qualified contractors and provide contract oversight.

As a way to disseminate the guidance and best practices, create a curriculum of training for front-line individuals to demonstrate competency for specific airfield electrical job duties including but not limited to the following:

  • A matrix of tasks and the qualifications necessary to complete each task or duty; and
  • An overview of basic minimum standards that includes understanding hazards, proper personal protective equipment (PPE), recurring skills training, etc. 



The research plan should include deliverables, for ACRP and panel review and approval, that include at a minimum:

  • Within four months of Notice to Proceed (NTP), (1) a gap analysis (including a literature review) of the current state-of-play of training and maintenance of airfield electrical systems at small-hub, non-hub, reliever, and GA airports; and (2) an airport outreach plan. The plan should include airports from all FAA regions of the United States including airport listed and not listed in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS); 
  • An interim report summarizing research to date, a draft of the management decision tree, and an updated work plan to address the needs identified in the gap analysis; and
  • An annotated outline of the final deliverables.

The research plan should also include checkpoints with the ACRP panel, including at a minimum (1) a kick-off teleconference meeting to be held within 1 month of the NTP; 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 interim deliverables.   


The final deliverables will include: (1) the guidance and best practices for safely maintaining airfield electrical systems; (2) a Summary of Key Findings; (3) a Further Recommended Research Memo; and (4) a technical memo titled, “Implementation of Research Findings and Products”.



STATUS: Proposals have been received in response to the RFP. The project panel will meet to select a contractor to perform the work.


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