Evaluation of Acoustic Devices for Measuring Airport Operations Counts

Aircraft operations counts are essential to the planning and funding allocation process at both the federal and state level, but are often inaccurate, especially at airfields with limited operations personnel. To improve general aviation annual operations counts, some unmonitored general aviation airports employ various combinations of counting and estimation methods. Counting methods include pneumatic, video, and acoustic systems, and estimation approaches include regression models based on limited automatically and manually collected data. Although the use of acoustic counters in particular is relatively common, minimal research has been undertaken to test the effectiveness of these systems. The research described here tested the feasibility and accuracy of a typical acoustic counting system to count aircraft operations at the Purdue University Airport in Indiana. Following a 4-month deployment of the system beginning in December 2017, collected data were compared with data from the FAA’s Air Traffic Activity Data System database. After analysis, it was found that the acoustic counting system recorded 59.72% of the airport’s 34,051 aircraft operations over the period. This inaccuracy, caused by variability from factors such as noise, microphone placement, runway configuration, and adverse weather conditions led the authors to conclude that opportunities for the improvement of acoustic devices exist within the context of measuring general aviation operations over extended periods of time.


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  • Accession Number: 01690704
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 19-01092
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Jan 3 2019 11:46AM