Research Projects

Delivering Cost-Effective Training for Airfield Electricians for General Aviation and Other Small Airports In Reserve

When a natural disaster or accident disrupts the airfield lighting and electrical system, the lack of staff or available local qualified airfield electricians may seriously delay the recovery of airfield operations. Airfield electrical systems are inherently dangerous; therefore, special training is required to maintain safely.

Background (Describe the current situation or problem in the industry, and how your idea would address it.)

If a GA airport or small Part 139 airport experiences serious damage to its (mostly underground) electrical system for lighting and avionics, it may not have an electrician on staff who can diagnose and repair the system. In a regional disaster or emergency, the small airport may be priced out of the market for qualified airfield electricians, or there may be too few such specialists to handle the demand. An example of this was Newark Liberty International Airport after it was flooded by saltwater during Superstorm Sandy in 2012; recovery was delayed by a shortage of electricians even though EWR had the financial resources to pay for their services.

A small airport, especially a GA airport, will typically have a small full-time staff and may not have an electrician on staff. The airport may lack the financial resources to pay for the training and certification of one of its maintenance or operations staff members to be able to diagnose and repair airfield electrical issues. Electricians from sponsors or nearby non-aviation industries cannot work on airfield electrical systems.

Objective (What is the desired product or result that will help the airport industry?)

To provide a low-cost airport electrical training module to enable safe troubleshooting and repairs of airfield lighting systems in cases where there is no experienced person to teach on-the-job training for specialized electrical systems.

Approach (Describe in general terms the steps you think are needed to achieve the objective.)

o Identify major topics related to airfield lighting electrical systems requiring training at small airports.

o Develop training materials (online, video, written, other, or combinations).

o Field test training materials.

Cost Estimate and Backup (Provide a cost estimate and support for how you arrived at the estimate.)

$300,000 based on similar ACRP research projects that involve the development and field testing of new training materials and procedures.

Related Research - List related ACRP and other industry research; describe gaps (see link to Research Roadmaps above), and describe how your idea would address these gaps. This is a critical element of a synthesis topic submission.

See YouTube video by Anchorage International Airport airfield electrician

This research problem pertains to four of the seven ACRP Emerging Issues: Airport Sustainability, Enhancing Resiliency of Airports and Interrelated Systems, Airport Workforce Development, and Enhancing the Aviation Ecosystem.

Idea No. 684