FAA wants more details on plan to extend airport runway

The Federal Aviation Administration wants a plan calling for extending the runway at Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport to include a transition process.

The plan to increase the runway from 5,000 to 5,500 feet calls for realigning a portion of Austin Boulevard north of its current route.

The project’s estimated cost of $10 million to $12 million last year was submitted to the FAA as part of an updated airport layout plan.

The plan also calls for changing classifications to increase speed authority at the site southeast of the Ohio 741/Austin intersection.

In order to receive FAA approval and fund the plan — including the cost of realigning Austin — the airport must show it has the traffic to support the upgrade to handle faster aircraft, said Gil Turner, deputy director of aviation for Dayton International Airport, which owns the Miami Twp. site.

It must also submit a transition process plan for during the time the runway would be extended, Turner said.

A key part of the transition would be providing an Engineer Material Arresting System (EMAS) which would involve a cushioning barrier at the end of the runway, because the safety area for the landing strip would be reduced by more than 500 feet, Turner said.

“Basically what (EMAS) does if a plane overshoots the runway and goes into the safety area then this … system slows the aircraft down so it doesn’t get into a hazardous situation,” he said.

Airport officials last year said they initially thought the FAA would decide on the updated airport layout plan by the end of 2015. Now, the end of this year is more realistic, Turner said.

Airport runway safety areas are typically 500 feet wide and extend 1,000 feet beyond each end of the landing strips, according to the FAA’s website.

Many airports were built before the current 1,000-foot runway safety area standard was adopted about 20 years ago, FAA records show. The 527-acre Wright Brothers Airport was built in the early 1950s and was known as the Montgomery County Airport.

The airport is now permitted for knot speeds that translate to a range of about 104-140 miles per hour. The classification change would increase the range to roughly 140-162 mph, Turner said.

Expanding the runway and increasing the speed limits would expand the ability for planes to use the facility, Turner has said. The amount of runway that can be used in bad weather is now restricted, prompting many to use Dayton International Airport, he said.

About 200 aircraft a day fly in and out of DWBA, said Passero Associates, the engineering firm that worked on the updated layout plan. Most of those 20 types of airplanes require a runway more than 5,000 feet long when fully loaded on a hot summer afternoon, what Passero officials described as the “most demanding” conditions.