Retires from a Great FAA Career
Barry Cooper has announced that after 40 years of service, he plans to retire. Career employees do yeoman work and much of their effort is unseen by the public. Among the most invisible of FAA functions are the individuals assigned to the care and feeding of airports, especially their safe operation.
Barry earned his stripes assuring that runway lights met standards, that another taxiway was needed, that the Allocation of AIP funds is justified under the criteria, that a major project met NEPA and that the check being handed to the airport director would make the 6pm news.
The FAA Regional Director position is the goal of many entry level employees of the agency. There is a lot of competition for the job. The highly visible ATC and Flight Standards senior managers are frequently selected for the prestige of leading a region. Barry is one of a few to make it to the Regional Director goal.
The City of Chicago’s game changer is just the beginning of what can and should be done with a rotation methodology to more fair distribution of noise. Airports and the FAA share the impossible burden of balancing communities desire for a high level of competitive air service that economies depend upon and appeasing those impacted by aircraft servicing the community.
In November of 2015, JDA recommended 20 noise mitigation opportunities for the Chicago Department of Aviation’s consideration. Recommendation number 18 was a runway rotation program.Several evaluations of the runway rotations have also been published:
- ORD Runway Rotation Plan Analysis and Recommendations, Feb. 16, 2017
- ORD Runway Rotation Plan Analysis and Recommendations, May 4, 2016
CDA is now conducting Test 3 of the runway rotation program to provide nighttime relief to Chicago communities.
The fact that this program has captured national attention is just one reason the CDA, the FAA and specifically Ginger Evans, Aaron Frame and Barry Cooper should be resoundingly applauded. Their effort demonstrates leadership that recognizes the airport is there to serve the community and to do so while making every reasonable effort to be a good neighbor. The difficulties of developing and administering the runway rotation program at Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) are many including but not limited to a complex airfield layout, ongoing airfield maintenance that occurs at night, airfield construction projects, FAA equipment tests, nighttime inspections of airfield facilities, weather and increasing nighttime cargo and passenger operations all add to the difficulty of rotating use of runways predictably. Airport and FAA nighttime staff have gone the extra mile to revise operating procedures to implement the runway rotation program.
The rotation program should continue not only in Chicago but the concept should be considered elsewhere where night time noise relief could result. The rotation concept chould be expanded to defining multiple arrival and departure streams to address the community response to the concentration of arrival and departure flight paths resulting from Next Gen implementations and alternating use to reduce frequency of overflights.
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