Runway expansion could increase traffic, not weight of planes

airportA plan to add 600 feet to the runway at Dallas Executive Airport drew criticism from neighbors after a briefing in which City Council members were told the improvement would allow for heavier aircraft.

But city staff downplayed that point at a meeting with neighbors Thursday.

The airport wants to increase traffic, but it will never become a commercial airport, the city’s director of aviation, Mark Duebner, told neighbors.

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“We’re going to be the same type of airport we’ve always been,” Duebner says. “We’re not going to get any heavier aircraft.”

The heaviest plane allowed at Dallas Executive it the Gulfstream IV, about 90,000 pounds, and that won’t change, he says.

The runway at the former Red Bird Airport has worn thin, Duebner says. In spots near where the airport’s two landing strips meet, the pavement is as thin as 5 inches, he says. The airport’s staff loses sleep, he says, because the asphalt could fail and cause an accident.

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So the city is pitching in $3.5 million on a $35-million Texas Department of Transportation project to fix the runways, including the 600-foot extension. The runway extension allows for a greater “runway protection zone” on the side of the airport that is nearer Hampton Road, Duebner says. The extra 600 feet to taxi at the end of the runway allows pilots a little more wiggle room at the beginning of the runway when landing, he says.

Traffic has decreased at all of the region’s general aviation airports since the economic downturn in 2008, Duebner says. More than 146,000 planes came through Dallas Executive in 2007, compared with about 56,000 last year. About 150 aircraft land at Dallas Executive every day.

Construction is expected to start in June on the center of the runway, and traffic will decrease dramatically while the two-year runway project is underway. Work on the runway extension is expected to start in December 2016.

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  • Wylie H Dallas

    [The runway extension allows for a greater “runway protection zone” on the side of the airport that is nearer Hampton Road, Duebner says. The extra 600 feet to taxi at the end of the runway allows pilots a little more wiggle room at the beginning of the runway when landing, he says.]

    What Mr. Duebner is discussing is something called a “displaced threshold,” but the extension is 685 feet, not 600, and it is being built closer to the intersection of Westmoreland and Ledbetter, NOT Hampton. While what he said is true about landing “wiggle room,” what he omits mentioning is that jets departing runway 13 will be able to use this space for take-offs, as well, and a new taxiway will be built to allow this.

    As a result, jets will be taxiing into a hold position with their exhausts pointing squarely at the single family residences located on Willow Crest Lane, and will then apply power to enter the runway while positioned approximately 700 feet from the back doors of those residences. Then, when they turn to align with the runway for takeoff, they will be applying takeoff thrust at a point that is now 700 feet closer to the residential neighborhoods to the northwest.

  • Wylie H Dallas

    Why is Mr. Duebner allowing Dallas Executive to accept aircraft that weigh 90,000 pounds when the runway’s load limit is 60,000? Is the operator of the Gulfstream IV going to be assessed any of the cost of the runway repairs for damage caused by the excess weight?

  • New OC Resident

    By the way Ms. Stone, this map should make it clear that “we will be the same airport we have always been” could not be further from the truth: https://scontent-b-dfw.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-frc3/t31.0-8/1291307_10152407619583816_720793941_o.jpg

  • New OC Resident

    Wylie is correct, according to the provided documents it does not appear they have met their legal burden under federal law for NEPA at all. A Master plan as large as this one should come with an EIS, not a handful of pages making short sighted assumptions.

    Where is the socio-economic impact study, where is the detailed analysis of potential impacts on endangered species (Most of the table says “Unknown”). Where is the detailed noise analysis that would include traffic, other land uses and flight path?

    It appears to me that they are quietly attempting to piecemeal this project into it’s full implementation without due process. Wylie is correct again, the title of this article is incorrect and based on a single misleading statement from the city.

  • Wylie H Dallas

    Strangely, the introduction to the plan makes the claim that an active public outreach program will be a part of the master plan process. When does the City of Dallas plan to start that?

  • Wylie H Dallas

    Ms. Stone, the headline attached to this article appears to be inaccurate. Will you be able to correct it? Also, do you plan to contact any of the representatives of the neighborhood associations surrounding this project to get their perspective?

    It would be interesting if you could skim the draft master plan for the airport and then have a follow-up discussion with Mr. Duebner, as well. There seems to be an ongoing difficulty in reconciling Mr. Duebner’s statements to the media and the general public with the statements contained in the master plan that he is simultaneously in the process of completing.

  • New OC Resident

    According to the environmental appendix, the document does not fully satisfy the legal requirements of NEPA: While this portion of the Master Plan is not designed to satisfy the NEPA requirements for a categorical exclusion, EA, or EIS, it is intended to supply a preliminary review of environmental issues that would need to be analyzed in more detail within the NEPA process.

    I would like to know where this information is before they break ground and I’d also like to know where the 65 DNL comes from if they were to have larger aircraft? Noise from planes does not just happen inside the yellow lines, it cuts across the entire flight path. This mini environmental document states clearly that there is a high portion of minority residents, schools and churches in the area to be affected. Socioeconomics should be properly evaluated prior to the start of any work.

    Repairing a runway is one project, but this master plan is a full blow aggressive development plan that has not included any of the potentially affected parties.

  • Ben Giersch

    In addition to the city’s documentation saying the weight capacity is 60,000, the FAA says current weight capacity is 60,000 pounds. Mr. Duebner’s comments at the town hall were suspiciously inaccurate. . https://nfdc.faa.gov/nfdcApps/airportLookup/airportDisplay.jsp?airportId=RBD

  • Wylie H Dallas

    [“We’re going to be the same type of airport we’ve always been,” (City Director of Aviation Mark) Duebner says. “We’re not going to get any heavier aircraft.”

    The heaviest plane allowed at Dallas Executive it the Gulfstream IV, about 90,000 pounds, and that won’t change, he says.]

    I’m extremely confused by Mr. Duebner’s remarks, which appear to stand in direct contradiction to the airport’s master plan, which he is currently preparing.

    For example, page 5-5 (column 1) of the draft master plan clearly states a plan to increase the strength of runway 13-31 from 60,000 pounds dual wheel loading (DWL) to 95,000 pounds dual wheel loading.

    In addition, page 5-2 (column 2) of the same document clearly states “jet aircraft usage will increase in the future and include larger business jets such as the Global Express, Gulfstream V, and Boeing Business Jet…. (a)s a result, ultimate planning should conform to ARC D-III standards… long term planning for primary runway 13-31 should be for ARC D-III standards to accommodate the most demanding ultimate design aircraft.”

    See: http://dallasexec.airportstudy.com/files/2012/12/Chapter-5-DF.pdf

    Another portion of the same document indicates that ARC D-III standards also include well-known larger jets such as Boeing 727s, DC-9, Airbus 319, Airbus 320, etc. These are the same types of planes used by major cargo airlines as well as American Airlines, Delta, United, U.S. Air, etc. It seems like they would be able to use Executive as a maintenance hub, similar to the way Alliance Airport is used in Ft. Worth.

    Also, Exhibit 2F of this document shows the City planning to increase airport operations from 55,876 to 136,100 annually.

    See: http://dallasexec.airportstudy.com/files/2012/12/Chapter-2-DF.pdf

    All of this is indicated on the map located at the 2nd page of this document:

    See: http://dallasexec.airportstudy.com/files/2012/12/Chapter-5-DF.pdf

    Other information indicates that the total cost of this airport expansion is $35 million.

    Why haven’t any formal public hearings been held on this? According to the master plan introduction, the City claims it will conduct an “active public outreach program to solicit comments and suggestions, which will then be incorporated into the final Master Plan…” Aren’t public hearings required under Federal law?

    See: http://dallasexec.airportstudy.com/files/2012/12/Introduction-DF.pdf