The Flightpath engineers did not initially capture the glider and towing operations at the airport. There wasn’t a motion-activated camera posted where glider traffic typically stages, and glider tows do not file flight plans and do not typically use a ramp where landing fees would normally be collected. However, members of the public pointed out that gliders are an important part of the traffic in Heber and needed to be accounted for in the Forecast. T-O Engineers interviewed the Utah Soaring Association for information and increased the number of small aircraft operations in the airport master plan.
The Flightpath team also received feedback regarding the helicopter and fire suppression operations that are on the airfield during the summer months. These operations are often staged just off of the apron surfaces and away from the cameras placed at various connectors on the field. The project team interviewed the Airport Manager to get an estimate for the number of rotorcraft operations based on the 2020 firefighting season, and has since added these operations in the traffic counts.
Additionally, during a meeting with the Technical Advisory Committee, an issue arose regarding approach speed classification: a few aircraft can be categorized differently if classified using indicated approach speed (IAS) or true approach speed (TAS). While the FAA standard is to use IAS, in the process of providing documentation for that answer, T-O Engineers was able to identify a small number of aircraft that had conflicting information on their indicated approach speed. Because this directly correlates to the Airport Approach Classification (AAC), T-O took a critical look at the planes and data sources for those aircraft with an IAS close to the threshold between C-category AAC and B-category AAC. After isolating the operations and aircraft that had different classifications depending on the data source, the Flightpath team approached the FAA Project Manager with the information and a recommendation on how those aircraft should be classified. The FAA Project Manager agreed with the recommendation, and the result was an increase of Category C operations and an equivalent decrease in Category B operations.
Because of the valuable feedback provided, total annual operations for the baseline of the airport master plan increased from 10,194 to 12,605. The total number of operations by Category C and higher increased from 1,223 to 1,386. While these revisions did not alter either the methodology or the conclusions of the draft Forecast chapter, it serves to highlight the importance and value of feedback and peer review throughout the airport master planning process. As a result of the feedback, the City now has a more accurate accounting of the traffic at the Heber Valley Airport.