Best Practices for Airport Obstruction Management

Airports are required to protect surfaces as described in Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 77 and Part 139. They also monitor and protect flight procedures surfaces as described in Order 8260.3 (United States Standard for Terminal Instrument Procedures (TERPS)) because impact to these procedures would result in quantifiable changes to airport performance (e.g., higher approach minimums). There are additional surfaces that airports may not monitor (e.g., one-engine inoperatives [OEI], minimum vectoring altitude [MVA]), which can significantly impact airport service levels. Airports provide obstruction data to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which is made available to airlines and the aviation community through various database and publications. However, there is a lack of consistency and reliability with these databases and no one definitive source for this information. These sources do not require the approval of the FAA, and there is no clear or comprehensive way of reconciling the various data sources. The airlines, as consumers of the data, have to utilize the most restrictive data sets to ensure safety. If community zoning standards don’t limit obstructions in Part 77, TERPs, or other airspace that need to be protected, then as communities around the airport seek to develop and build causing obstructions, airlines and/or FAA may have to change their procedures which could result in a reduction of service or capabilities. The community may not fully understand this potential economic impact. Airports need guidance on developing obstruction management plans so as to effectively ensure that aircraft can best utilize the airport. The objective of this research is to develop a guidebook to help airports prepare and implement an obstruction management program. The guidebook should include at a minimum: (1) Steps to identify airport obstructions; (2) Impact and consideration of obstructions as identified in ICAO Annex 14; (3) The databases where the obstruction data current resides; (4) Steps to update the data; (5) Existing tools for obstruction management; (6) Users of the data and how to communicate with them; (7) Generic composite map of all the surfaces such as FAR Part 77, TERPs, OEIs, etc.; (8) The steps for identifying the controlling surfaces at an individual airport; and (9) An educational component on the importance of maintaining obstruction data that airports can use to communicate to surrounding communities and other stakeholders.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Airport Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001

    Federal Aviation Administration

    800 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC  United States  20591
  • Project Managers:

    Greenberger, Marci

  • Principal Investigators:

    Kireyev, Sergey

  • Start Date: 20160730
  • Expected Completion Date: 20180414
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 41538

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01606877
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: 09-16
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Jul 30 2016 1:00AM