Daniel Gellert, CEO of Aerospace Safety and Security, center, had his Split-Runway System approved by the FAA early in December. Larry Speelman, director of technical services, left, and Virginia Shogren, director and general counsel, right, continue to work on technical and patent information for the system.
This diagram shows a rough outline of how the Split-Runway System works. Photo courtesy of Aerospace Safety and Security
by MATTHEW NASH
Aerospace Safety and Security of Sequim has made significant progress on its Split-Runway System since the Sequim Gazette reported on the project Sept. 2.
Daniel Gellert, CEO, received sponsorship from the Federal Aviation Administration for his idea from FAA officials. He is expected to receive $200,000 for a civil engineer and software writer to develop his project further and to make a visual presentation on how the Split-Runways System works.
In early December, Gellert attended the first Safe Runway Conference in Washington, D.C., where he met Randy Babbitt, FAA administrator, and Ray LaHood, U.S. Secretary of Transportation. “What we have is in line with what the FAA wants to do,” Gellert said.
“That’s to make runways safer, more secure and more efficient.”
The quick sponsorship turned a few years of waiting into fewer than a handful of weeks for Aerospace.
What is a split runway? Gellert’s idea uses existing runways of at least 15,000 feet and splits them into two parallel runways for takeoffs and landings.
A taxiway connects the two runways to prevent line-ups, wasted fuel and long waits. “It’s like a Navy carrier,” Gellert said.
“At no time is there a plane waiting on the runway while another is landing,” said Larry Speelman, director of technical services.
“(Pilots) can use the full runway to land if needed.”
Gellert said the system makes sense because it saves billions of dollars by not building new runways but instead extending and improving existing ones.
FAA regulations require only about half the footage of most international airport runways. “It’s a safe procedure, and we’re not changing the national airway system for it,” Gellert said.
Government testing next The FAA sponsorship sends Aerospace’s patent next to the Mitre Corporation, the FAA’s risk-management entity that runs all “what-if” scenarios.
“Mitre will fill in all the holes of the system,” Speelman said.
Once Mitre determines that the program works in all capacities, plans will be sent to the Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City.
There the split-runway system will be tested for reliability with actual airplanes.
Gellert estimates Mitre and Hughes Technical will finish by June 1, 2010.
International patent layover Another step for Aerospace is securing international patents for the Split-Runway System.
Virginia Shogren, director and general counsel, said Aerospace has reserved international patents after securing the U.S. patent on Sept. 18.
Gellert said his system applies to most airports around the globe and, with the U.S. patent, it will be easier to take Split-Runways global.
Initial patent applications will go to the European Union, east Asia and Australia.
These patents could take years to process, but Shogren hopes for fast-track approval.
Reach Matthew Nash at email@example.com.
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