These procedures are designed to safely disperse traffic and create more efficient flight paths that lessen greenhouse gas and noise exposure.
The proposed flight procedures aim to provide increased safety for pilots, passengers, and those on the ground. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for airport operations: close-in mountainous terrain, differing aircraft capabilities, growing neighborhoods and population centers, and evolving technologies all play a role in which procedures the airport was able to create.
The Truckee Tahoe Airport District took into account the region’s unique environment, population centers, and pilot capabilities to create procedures that reduce overhead time, provide better emergency options, and separate traffic.
The airport sought to design procedures that meet terrain and obstructions criteria, yet protect the surrounding communities from adverse impacts. While the mountainous terrain surrounding TRK provides a scenic backdrop to the area, the terrain necessitates additional planning considerations for arriving and departing aircraft. Updates to existing procedures, and the development of new flight procedures, have taken into account the surrounding terrain as well as the varied airspace and nearby neighborhoods.
The time of day is also considered when developing these procedures. Some proposed arrival procedures are prohibited during the night, as is circling south of Runway 29, among other restrictions. Historic weather, sky conditions, and visibility were all utilized to determine a safe path for pilots. Additionally, TRK experiences mountainous weather conditions that limit the ability for aircraft to fly except under instrument flight rules. All of these factors were considered when developing the proposed procedures.
Of particular importance during the assessments were the several residential communities surrounding the airport. In 2001, TTAD developed a set of procedures for arriving and departing aircraft to minimize impacts to these communities, and these figured heavily into developing the new procedures.
Whenever possible, the proposed procedures direct pilots over highways and open land, to minimize the impact on the neighboring communities.
The Truckee Tahoe Airport District has carefully considered the operating capabilities and navigation performance of both business and general aviation operators to determine the most viable instrument flight procedure solutions at TRK. Developing instrument-based procedures protects pilots from terrain and obstructions. Flying an established procedure rather than flying with visual reference to terrain and obstructions in marginal conditions will increase safety when arriving or departing the airport.
Each proposed arrival procedure must take into account missed approaches, or when an aircraft isn’t able to align with the correct approach and has to circle back and try again. Precisely how an aircraft is directed to do that differs by runway, but the ultimate goal is to create a safe path for an aircraft that allows it to merge into the proper arrival procedure. The proposed procedures also designate safer locations for emergency landings, which will minimize potential collisions with someone on the ground.
In addition to protecting those on the ground and in the sky, the new procedures are designed to protect the environment. By creating more direct and efficient flight paths, these procedures will eliminate traffic bottlenecks and provide more straightforward paths that reduce miles flown. With more direct ways to get in and out of the area, pilots will lessen their noise production and greenhouse gas emissions.
More information about greenhouse gas reductions can be found in Data & Analysis. The Truckee Tahoe Airport District has also developed several animated videos that show the proposed procedures’ noise footprints, which can be viewed here.