Synthesis Topics

The Impact of Changes to the Runway Condition Assessment Matrix (RCAM) on Airports

Changes to the RCAM have impacted how and when airports remove contaminants on the runway and in turn has impacted the hours needed for personnel and equipment to remove contaminants as well as the useful life of markings and pavement surfaces.

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

In 2016, FAA AC 150/5200-30D - Airport Field Condition Assessments and Winter Operations Safety was updated to incorporate a new Runway Condition Assessment Matrix (RCAM) which changed how runway conditions are reported. This included the requirement to report more than 1/8" of contaminant as a Code 3 which in turn impacts an aircraft's takeoff and landing performance calculations. For commercial service airports, this may require a reduction in useful load to meet aircraft performance requirements.

To prevent the accumulation of contaminants of greater than 1/8" now requires nearly continuous snow removal during winter events. This has increased the use of personnel, deicing chemicals, and equipment. This has also impacted the useful life of snow removal equipment and changed the type of equipment airport's utilize to remove contaminants. The increased use of equipment on the runway has also reduced the life of pavement markings and impacted the pavement surface.

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

Provide a resource to understand the impacts of the changes to the RCAM on
airports and understand how airports are adjusting to the changes.

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

This project would synthesize the various impacts to airports from changes to the RCAM as well as the best practices, lessons learned, and recommendations they have implemented to adjust to the changes. The information would be obtained from surveys of a variety of airports in size, type, and geography.

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.

AC 150/5200-30D - Airport Field Condition Assessments and Winter Operations Safety

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Idea No. 242