FAA Advisory Circular 13B has landed!

It has been almost eight years since the last update of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Advisory Circular (AC) 150/5300-13A, Change 1, Airport Design (AC 13A). With new technologies and the evolving aviation industry, the FAA released a long-awaited update of draft FAA AC 150/5300-13B, Airport Design (AC 13B) in July 2020. After almost two years in draft form, the FAA officially released AC 13B on March 31, 2022.

Breaking down the changes in AC 13B

AC 13B has been restructured so that the design standards are within the chapters, with supporting information in the appendices. For example, in AC 13A, the taxiway design group (TDG) tables for laying out taxiway fillet geometry were in Chapter 4: Taxiway and Taxilane Design. In AC 13B, these TDG tables have been relocated to Appendix J: Taxiway Additional Information. Be advised that some of the values in the TDG tables have been revised to help limit the amount of pavement needed for aircraft maneuvering. Revisions have also been made to the TDG classification, where the existing TDG 2 table has been separated into TDGs 2A and 2B, and TDG 7 has been removed. Aviation professionals should be sure to confirm the aircraft’s main gear width (MGW), because revisions have been made to the MGW dimension for TDGs 5 and 6.

Another major change that could help provide some additional flexibility in planning and design, especially around congested terminal apron and T-hangar areas, are the revisions to the dimensions of taxiway object free areas (TOFA) and taxilane object free areas (TLOFA) on Table 4-1: Design Standards Based on Airplane Design Group. In addition to the TOFA and TLOFA, a reduced dimension for the taxiway edge safety margin for TDGs 5 and 6 has been revised.

Parts of AC 13A eliminated

AC 13B also supersedes FAA Engineering Brief (EB) No. 99A, Changes to Tables 3-2 and 3-4 of Advisory Circular 150/5300-13A, Airport Design. This table was used for dimensions to the threshold siting surfaces, vertical guidance surface and departure surface. This single table has been divided into four tables and can be found in Chapter 3: Runway Design. The tables are divided by visual approach, nonprecision and instrument flight rules circling approach, approach procedure with vertical guidance and precision approach and instrument departure surface. Each table is accompanied by a graphic that illustrates the associated surface.

In addition, AC 13B cancels the following engineering briefs: EB No. 63B, Taxiways for Airbus A380 Taxiing Operations; EB No. 73, Use of Non-Standard 75-Foot- (23-M) Wide Straight Taxiway Sections for Boeing 747-8 Taxiing Operations; and EB No. 78, Linear Equations for Evaluating the Separation of Airplane Design Groups on Parallel Taxiways and Taxiways to Fixed/Movable Objects.

More information from the FAA

This information, along with helpful design tools, videos and drawings for AC 13B, can be found on the FAA website, along with a helpful document that provides a crosswalk between AC 13A and AC 13B. For further information on all the updates in AC 13B, visit the document’s webpage.

Jeff Alexander, C.M., is an aviation planner in Hanson’s Orlando, Florida, regional office. He can be reached at jalexander@hanson-inc.com.

Aviation History Quick Hit

On this day in 1981, the Space Shuttle Columbia launched on its first flight. It was the first reusable orbital spacecraft flight. (Source: Wikipedia)