Detroit Metropolitan Airport debuts new enclosure to reduce aircraft noise

Posted: 24 July 2012 | WCAA | No comments yet

$11m facility is a significant part of Airport’s Noise Compatibility Program…

Detroit Metropolitan Airport

Wayne County Airport Authority (WCAA), operator of Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW), joined neighboring community leaders in inaugurating the airport’s new, $11 million Ground Run-Up Enclosure (GRE). This three-sided, steel structure on the airfield is lined with acoustical absorbent paneling to significantly reduce noise in neighboring communities when jet engines are tested after maintenance.

“We always talk about the positive impact that the Airport has on the surrounding community, but those closest to the airport will tell you there are some less-desirable impacts as well,” said WCAA Interim CEO Tom Naughton. “To the degree we can mitigate the noise impact of the airport on our neighbors with initiatives such as this new GRE, the Airport Authority is committed to do so.”

After making repairs, airlines regularly “run-up” aircraft engines for testing purposes before the aircraft are returned to service. This testing requires airlines to run engines up to full-power for periods of time ranging from a few minutes to an hour, generating noise up to the equivalent of an aircraft take-off throughout part or all of that time period.

With the new GRE, airlines will taxi aircraft into the three-sided facility to conduct nearly all run-ups. Engine noise will largely be absorbed by the more than 2,000 acoustical panels lining the structure, while the remaining noise will be directed upward rather than outward into surrounding communities. Prior to the GRE opening, airlines performed these tests in designated open areas adjacent to the airport’s runways.

DTW’s new GRE occupies nearly 90,000 sq. ft. and rises 42 ft. high, allowing it to accommodate aircraft as large as Boeing’s 747-8. Most aircraft types that will use the GRE will be able to turn around inside the facility while operating under their own power, reducing the need for diesel-powered aircraft tugs and additional personnel required for tug operations. The facility also incorporates steel cladding specially-engineered to avoid interference with airfield radar and radio frequencies.

“The Wayne County Airport Authority has laudably engaged in continuing efforts to minimize disturbances to the residents of southeastern Michigan, while at the same time acting as a job provider and economic engine for the entire region,” said Michigan State Representative Doug Geiss. “This new ground run-up enclosure will significantly reduce the level of noise caused by nighttime maintenance, and its construction provides further testament to the commitment of the Airport Authority to the citizens of Romulus and surrounding communities.”

The $11 million GRE project was engineered by the Livonia, Mich. office of Syracuse, NY-based C&S Companies and designed and constructed by Reno, Nev.-based Blast Deflectors, Inc. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) provided 80% of the project funding, which included Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) participation of 8%.

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