Category Archives: DFW International

Lockheed Martin presents check to Veterans Fund

With an F-35 as the backdrop, Lockheed Martin presented the United Way of Tarrant County’s Veterans Fund with a $315,000 donation as part of the Lockheed Martin’s Armed Forces Bowl.

Jeff Babione, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Vice President and General Manager, awarded the check and shared his enthusiasm about organizations working together to help veterans.

“Lockheed’s saying is we never forget who we’re working for; that’s really about the veterans, the men and women who use the equipment we produce to help keep us safe around the world,” Babione said. “United Way has a very similar focus, particularly this veteran’s fund.”

The United Way of Tarrant County established a veterans fund in 2013 through a grant from Lockheed Martin and support by additional community members. Lockheed Martin has donated to the fund since its inception. This is the first year the public is able to contribute to the campaign.

TD Smyers, United Way of Tarrant County Executive Vice President, accepted the check.

“The whole point is the community taking care of the community,” Smyers said. “We want people to know about it. We want to take Lockheed’s lead and bring more people on board. They’ve reached out to other companies to encourage them to join in and be a part of this.”

The funds will go toward providing community-based services needed by military members transitioning back into civilian life in Tarrant County, including coaching veterans back into the workplace, providing family counseling, PTS counseling, and treatment for traumatic brain injury.

“We take agencies we work with that have veteran programs specifically,” Smyers said. “It runs the gambit of the needs of not only the veteran, but the veteran’s family, or the veteran’s caregivers.”

Smyers, a 30-year veteran himself, talked about the difficulties many face transitioning back into civilian life.

“Veterans have come from a really austere working environment, sometimes under fire and under combat conditions,” Smyers said. “They’re returning to a much more peaceful existence.

“We’ve actually hired a military services rep who’s available to them. They call 211 and ask for the military rep. It’s [the military rep’s] role to help them navigate the waters and find exactly what they need.”

The event took place on Wednesday, Dec. 21 at Fort Worth’s General Worth Square as a crowd of visitors, including a number of veterans and Lockheed employees, waited in line to take their photos inside the plane’s cockpit.

Jeff Bailey, a firefighter who does training with the aircraft, was happy to finally show his daughters what he has been working on.

“My family gets to finally see what we make out of Lockheed and what I help protect,” Bailey said. “They’re finally getting to understand more why I’m gone 24 hours at a time.”

During the check celebration, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price thanked both United Way and Lockheed Martin for their contributions to the community.

“Currently, we have 10,000 plus employees at Lockheed Martin helping deliver the best product to our men and women who serve and keep us free,” Price said. “When you hear those planes overhead, they’re coming from Lockheed Martin. It’s the sound of freedom, is what we like to say in Fort Worth.”

Airport Ambassadors get their groove on

Photo: The Ambassadors livened up the airport with their flash mob routines. /Photo by John Starkey

DFW International Airport passengers got a little more than they paid for when a flash mob broke out at multiple times throughout the day in different terminals on Sept. 4.

Members of the DFW Airport Ambassadors program danced to a number of boot scootin’ hits and were even joined by excited airport guests.

“It’s just for the purpose of fun,” said Virginia Fuerte, who is the fitness instructor for the airport. “It’s all about having a good time and knowing that everyone has enjoyed it while we’ve been practicing. We’ve come a long way.

“We’re trying to incorporate a remix of songs that are pretty universal for everybody. It works really well, because then we have the passengers who know the music, so they can just jump in and dance as well.”

Not everyone is a born dancer, but after a couple of months of practice, the ambassadors were ready to strut their stuff.

“They have done remarkably well; I’m so proud of them,” Fuerte said. “At the beginning, it was all new to them and sometimes change isn’t good for everybody. Of course, it worked out really well and now they want more. They want us to do something like this regularly, so we’re going to look into that.”

Fellow ambassador Ellen Mucha enjoys the dancing, but appreciates the impact it has on passengers just as much.

“We are line dancing to liven up the passengers’ experience for Labor Day weekend. I’ve always wanted to do a flash mob,” Mucha said. “When you see them online it looks like such a fun thing to do for the performers. If you look at the audience, their eyes are wide open, and they look like they appreciate a little difference in their routine, some entertainment. So I’ve always wanted to do this; I just never really knew how to go about it.”

Mucha and the rest of the dancers put time and dedication into the planning and execution of the performances after a successful flash mob earlier in the year.

“We’ve had several practices where we’ve learned the dances. Then we get together and watch each other and have a good time. The first time was Memorial Day weekend,” Mucha said.

“The first time they loved it. They got their cameras out and filmed us, and some of them even joined in. We’re going to try and coax them into joining us and normally people do.”

Passengers and DFW employees enjoyed the show equally. Charles Walls has worked at DFW International for years and had not seen anything quite like it.

“I think this is wonderful to see all these people jamming and moving like this. It puts a smile on everyone’s face, bottom line. I work for TGI Friday’s here at the airport. I’ve been here for 15 years and I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s wonderful,” Walls said.

Passengers like Sara agreed, “I think it’s great. Look at all these people smiling. This is the first time I’ve ever seen a flash mob with older people like this. I travel globally, and this is the first time I’ve ever seen this.”

Maintenance crews keep planes flying

Photo: During the Turn Up! event at Frontiers of Flight, the men and women behind the scenes were recognized for their part in maintaining Dallas Love Field and its runways. /Courtesy Photo

This is where the rubber hits the runway – and where it gets cleaned off.

A lot happens behind the scenes in the maintenance division of Dallas Love Field Airport, a transportation hub that serves about seven million people a year. Crews work around the clock to ensure the runway areas are kept clean and safe. They also assist with painting, landscaping and security.

Another important task is cleaning off skid marks left behind by airplanes as they land and barrel down the runways.

“When the airplane tires hit the concrete, they leave a little bit of rubber,” said Gentry (Shane) Gravens, manager of airfield maintenance. “Over a period of time, it builds up, and that makes it harder and harder for the airplanes to stop. So we have to go and remove it.”

Maintenance crews use special equipment to measure friction and remove rubber build-up. Too much rubber on a runway can create a slick landing surface.

“Equipment readings tell us if we need to remove rubber and what the condition of the concrete is,” Gravens said. “We tell the tower, the tower in turn tells the airplane, and the airplane knows how fast it has to come in.”

Gravens’ comments came during a tour of the maintenance area as part of the Turn Up! event through the Frontiers of Flight Museum and Dallas City of Learning on Saturday, Aug. 1.

The event featured terminal tours, arts and crafts, the Airport Rescue Fire-Fighter Truck (ARFF), a police K-9 demonstration, as well as a living history performance representing important people in aviation history, among. In addition, registration was held for Dallas City of Learning, a program that helps young people explore hobbies and potential careers.

An estimated 1,200 people attended the event, according to Jose L. Torres, a spokesman for Dallas Love Field.

Rubber from aircraft tires is not the only potential runway problem, especially during the winter months. Although the harshest winter weather is likely several months away, equipment is already being tested and prepared.

Winters in the Dallas-Fort Worth area can be brief yet brutal. As a result, the maintenance staff has gone as far as seeking advice from experts in Buffalo, NY, one of the snow capitals of the nation.

“While they deal with a lot of snow, we deal with ice,” Gravens said. “You can’t land on ice.”

When snow and ice hit, special maintenance equipment distributes chemicals to dissolve snow, sleet and ice on the runways. One trip up and down a runway uses about 2,100 gallons of chemical, which costs about $10 a gallon.

Snowplow equipment is used to clear snow or slush from the runways.

“We go 40 to 50 miles-an-hour down a runway,” Gravens said. “Our main goal is to maintain at least 50 feet on each side of the center line down the runway. That’s where the wheels land. But we try to go at least to the hedge line, which is 200 feet.”

Runways must be kept open for safety and financial reasons. The airport can lose up to one-million-dollars a minute if runway operation is lost and various fees are not collected. Airport crews are also responsible for maintaining an executive airport in south Dallas and a downtown helipad at the convention center.

Maintenance crews will have even more ground to cover with a new parking lot at the airport. All of that concrete must be cleaned and maintained as well.

The Dallas City Council approved the 4,000-plus space parking garage, because an increase in flights has caused parking shortages, Torres said in a written statement.

“During peak times, parking becomes an issue,” Torres said.

The parking garage is expected to be completed in 2017.

Summer months present another set of challenges. Maintenance crews can spend up to 17 hours a day mowing grassy areas at the airport. Most of the mowing takes place in the evening hours.

“From midnight to 6 a.m. we’re kind of at a standstill,” said Gravens. “If you mow during the day the bugs get active and then the birds fly in. We also can’t have trees around with fruits or berries. That will attract birds.”

Scorching temperatures this summer have made it difficult on crews. When the mercury hits more than 100 degrees, temperatures soar on and near the runways.

“It was [recently] 143 degrees on the concrete and 121 degrees in the shade,” Gravens said.

During the extreme temperatures, he had crews focus on working on equipment inside the garage, drinking plenty of water, and limiting direct sun exposure.

“We had to have the guys in safe mode,” he said.

While working, maintenance crews follow one simple but critical rule: Stay out of the way of the airplanes.

“We always face the airplanes,” Gravens said. “We don’t ever turn our back in an area, because we don’t want a plane to land on us accidentally. We have to move out of the way of every airplane, no matter where it is on the airport.”

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to transform customer experience in Terminal D with new duty-free shopping plans

Photo: An artist’s rendering of Terminal D shows a future facelift in the form of a two-level duty-free shopping experience. /Courtesy Photo

Dallas/Fort Worth International (DFW) Airport will revolutionize the customer experience inside International Terminal D with an expansive new duty-free shopping experience that includes luxury and premium retail brands. DFW has selected TRG Duty Free Joint Venture (TRG) – a partnership involving a global leader in duty free and a Texas retailer – to design and operate the new duty-free stores, which includes a total of six shopping locations covering nearly 20,000 square feet. TRG’s plans include a two-level, 13,000 square foot primary store that will significantly upgrade the central area of the terminal, along with an executive lounge as well as smaller specialty stores and kiosks.

“Terminal D hosts more than 7 million international travelers each year, and as our international profile grows those customers look for world-class experiences and amenities,” said Sean Donohue, chief executive officer for DFW Airport. “The new duty-free experience at DFW will transform Terminal D and bring our customers an unparalleled level of luxury and service with high-end brands, VIP concierge services, cutting-edge technology and local flair.”

TRG’s duty-free shops will feature renowned international retail brands such as Ferragamo, Gucci, Dior, Chanel, Lancôme and Burberry. The shops will sell a variety of goods—clothing, cosmetics, electronics, leather goods, jewelry, handbags, wine and spirits, specialty foods and more.

Passengers will also discover exclusive local brands, including Bohlin Company western wear with Texas roots dating back to 1920, world-renowned Fort Worth distiller TX Whiskey and native Texas artist James Surls. A unique sculpture by Surls will suspend over the central store to give shoppers a true Texas welcome.

“When looking for a duty-free retailer, we asked for a blend of international couture, state-of-the-art technology, luxurious services—all while capturing the spirit and beauty of Texas,” said Ken Buchanan, executive vice president of revenue management. “TRG’s winning proposal delivered with a concept that we know will surprise and delight our passengers. We’re excited to know their vision will soon come to life in Terminal D.”

TRG is a partnership of several experienced and respected duty-free operators and local business experts. Members of the joint venture include:

  • Duty Free Air and Ship Supply Company (DFASS), the world’s largest in-flight duty free enterprise;
  • CBI Retail Ventures, locally owned with more than 35 years of retail experience with international brands, as well as a relationship with the Luskey family, which has operated its landmark Luskey/Ryon’s western store in the Fort Worth Stockyards since 1919;
  • Charles Bush Consulting, which has owned and operated concessions locations at DFW Airport for over 15 years; and
  • MDT Strategic Ventures/Innovative Strategies, a new partner to DFW Airport.

TRG’s new duty-free shopping main store will be located in the center of Terminal D between Gates D22 and D23, transforming space that is currently used mainly as gate waiting areas into a high-end shopping experience. All of the new locations should be installed and operational by the end of calendar year 2016.

The new duty-free operation is part of the Airport’s overall plan for new premium retail, spa and food and beverage concessionaires in the first major update to the Terminal D concessions program since the terminal opened in 2005. New brands coming to DFW include Hugo Boss, TUMI, Michael Kors, Coach, Mont Blanc, Longchamp, M·A·C, Jo Malone, Aveda, The Italian Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck and Café Izmir Mediterranean Tapas of Dallas.

SOURCE Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport

DFW Airport selected as pilot participant for RapBack program

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport has been selected by the TSA Office of Intelligence and Analysis Program Management division for a “proof of concept” pilot of the FBI RapBack service. The program will enable real time criminal history monitoring of the aviation worker population.

“I’m pleased to announce that DFW has been selected to take part in the RapBack pilot program,” said Sean Donohue, Chief Executive Officer at DFW Airport. “DFW is honored to be one of two airports in the United States selected to be part of this important program.”

RapBack is part of the FBI’s Next Generation Identification Program, introduced in September 2014.

In its selection process, TSA’s OIA Program Management Office considered factors such as risk profile, volume of biometric submissions, Boston Logan International Airport was also selected to participate in the pilot program.

The pilot is expected to begin by the end of 2015.

SOURCE Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport

DFW Airport Board approves budget

The Dallas Fort Worth International Airport Board of Directors recently approved a $791.7 million budget for 2016, which includes a hike in parking fees. Overall, the budget represents a $74.2 million or 10.3 percent increase over 2015. Budget documents indicate most of the increase (62 percent) is due to rising debt service costs.

The parking rate for everyone who parks at DFW Airport will be the same at beginning of the fiscal year on Oct. 1 of this year. But TollTag users will no longer receive a discount at that time.

On Oct. 1, the Terminal TollTag daily parking rate (6 – 24 hrs.) will increase from $20 to $22. This is the current amount for cash and credit card transactions, according to budget documents. About 57 percent of transactions use TollTag, an increase of about 21 percent over the past 10 years.
Additionally, intra-day parking rates (between two to four hours) will increase from $6 to $7 for all users. Valet parking increases from $25 to $27 a day.

In all, the parking fee increases are expected to generate an additional $4.8 million in revenue. Total parking revenues are projected at $143.2 million, a $7.2 million or 5.3 percent increase over the 2015 fiscal year.

The new parking rates will help pay for a number of customer enhancements, including the parking control system, new parking garages, roadway improvements on airport property, and the parking guidance system that has overhead lights along the outer edge of each parking space. The light is green if the space is open and red if it is taken.

In the past four years, the airport made a $279 million investment in parking garages, structures and systems. An additional $121 million is expected from future projects.

The airport recently completed a project at the “Terminal A” parking facility, a five-story parking garage with an additional 7,500 parking spaces. Terminal A represents the largest new structure project at the airport since 2005, when Terminal D and Skylink opened. The Terminal A parking garage also has the parking “guidance system.” With the completion of Terminal A, the airport has a total of 42,000 parking spaces on site.

“Our Terminal A parking facility was designed with enhanced customer convenience and accessibility in mind,” Mazhar Butt, senior vice president of customer experience for DFW Airport, said. “Customers will instantly experience state-of-the-art technology that helps them find their way, and customers liked the guidance technology so much that we also installed it in Terminal D.”

Terminal A is part of the airport’s Terminal Renewal and Improvement Program (TRIP). The $2.7 billion program is designed to renovate the airport’s four original terminals. Renovation work on Terminal A should be finished later this year, while work on Terminals B and E is expected to be completed in 2016.
In other action, the board approved a 3.5 percent merit pool increase for employees, starting with the first pay period in January. The hiring of new and vacant positions has been spread throughout the fiscal year.

Dallas Cowboys Club opens in airport

Photo: From left to right: Steve Johnson, President & CEO, HMSHost; Stephen Jones, COO, Dallas Cowboys; Frank Howell, President, F. Howell Services Ltd.; Curtis Ransom, Board Member, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport; Sean Donohue, CEO, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport; William Tsao, Board Member, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport; and Rowdy, Dallas Cowboys Mascot, officially open the Dallas Cowboys Club. /Photo by John Starkey

Anywhere Rowdy the mascot is found wandering, Dallas Cowboys and cheerleaders are sure to follow. The grand opening of the Dallas Cowboys Club at DFW International Airport in Terminal A was no exception. Guests of the opening and airport passengers alike took pictures and met Rowdy preceding the ribbon cutting on Tuesday, July 21.

The new club marks an even stronger partnership between the Cowboys organization, HMSHost and the DFW International Airport according to the CEO of DFW Airport Sean Donohue.

“This is a great event for the airport,” Donohue said. “We have a longstanding partnership with the cowboys, as well as HMSHost with many, many concessions at the airport.

“The cowboys have several other pro shops in the terminal, they have a gigantic distribution warehouse at the airport as well, and so this is just a continuation of the partnership that we have with the Cowboys.”

Despite several other openings and celebrations including new international flights and aircraft, Donohue was pleased and surprised to find a large number of guests, and attributed the success to the Cowboys.

“Typically, we do this type of event when we’re starting an international service. We’ve had quite a bit of international service inaugurations in the last year or two, and I would say we are actually seeing more media here for this opening than we do when we get flights for China, so I think that says something about the power of the Cowboys brand,” he said.

“As you all know, the Cowboys are one of the most recognized sports brands, not just in the U.S., but globally, and I’d like to share with everyone, we from the airport, usually go on an economic development service mission every year.”

During these trips, Donohue and the members of DFW Airport Board spend time with dignitaries and businessmen and women, and exchange gifts.

“The gift we always bring is a Dallas Cowboys jersey, and we put the name of the dignitary or the business leader on it. Typically that’s the highlight of the event, because they just love the Cowboys jersey, so we’re going to continue to do that because it makes such an impact.

“As you all know the Cowboys have won five Super Bowls, and on their way to more Super Bowl championships – there are parallels to the airport. We have five terminals at DFW Airport and we are actually on the way to more terminals,” Donohue said.

“We’re excited about this partnership; I can’t imagine how this place will look on a game day when the cowboys are playing so it’ll be fun.”

Among Rowdy, Cowboys cheerleaders and former players, Cowboys Chief Operating Officer Stephen Jones expressed his excitement for the continuation of successful partnerships and the establishment of a Cowboys venue for those who may not have an opportunity to visit AT&T Stadium.

“These things are so important to us, the Cowboys, and people follow a player like Dez Bryant or Tony Romo. It’s because of the brand,” Jones said. “We are so fortunate to get to partner here today with one of the key brands, and that’s what we like to do is get with key people.

“It’s so important to us because we have so many fans that never get to go to a Cowboy game, and they do travel through DFW and through this airport, but there was a study done that only about five percent of NFL fans have actually attended a football game.

“We think that what we’re doing here with the Dallas Cowboys Club is giving people a taste of it that never get to go to a game.”

Jones praised partner HMSHost and its impressive representation of AT&T Stadium and the Cowboys brand.

“Our partners at Host have done a fantastic job of working with us. We just think this is a special, special place for those who are either on their way out, coming from the DFW area and are maybe going to miss the game or thought they were going to miss the game, but can come in here and really feel like they’re at AT&T stadium,” Jones said.

“I was just looking around for the first time and was blown away by the classiness of this club.”

For Texas native Steve Johnson, the CEO of HMSHost, the club holds personal significance.

“This is exciting,” he said. “I had to leave Dallas in 1989 to move to Washington to work for HMSHost, and I left my home. I get to be back now; I get to be back in DFW, in my home state, opening up the Dallas Cowboys Club.”

“I grew up in Arlington, wanting to play for the Cowboys. That dream never came true. But the next best thing, we get to open a bar with them. How much fun is that?”

Like his partners, Johnson feels the club’s success will be due in large part to its ability to provide an experience similar to that of the stadium and the extension of the Cowboys brand.

“But truly, we have a great experience for people coming through DFW. You get a true local experience; they get to experience the Cowboys, they get to get some fresh food, a beautiful menu, great open design,” he said. “So if you don’t actually get to go to a Cowboys game, you can come here and get the same experience as you would, here at the Cowboys Club.”

DFW Airport firefighters share proactive approach with crews around the world

Photo: While earning their fire safety merit badges, a group of Boy Scouts ride in style following a training exercise. /Photo by Courtney Ouellette

Containing a fire that gives off overwhelming amounts of heat and sends massive clouds of thick, black smoke into the air is a typical day for DFW International Airport firefighters.

The DFW crew recently teamed up with firefighters from Canada and San Francisco on Thursday, July 9 for annual recertification live burn training, which is required by certain aviation regulations.

The DFW Fire Training and Research Center often shares this proactive approach with crews from around the world, including China, South Africa, Singapore, and countries in Central and South America, Europe and Africa.

DFW has one of the foremost programs in the world due to its advanced tools, technology and facility, according to Battalion Chief Randall Rhodes.

“Our training facility is available for use year-round,” Rhodes said. “A lot of the other training facilities in the country have to close down in the wintertime. We’re also a very large international hub, DFW being the third busiest airport in the United States.

“Not only do we do training here, we have an academy of instructors that travel to other locations. Some departments have a large group of students they have to train, so we’ll send instructors with the necessary materials and experience and a subject matter expert.”

The day’s course included various types of fires inside and outside of an aircraft and exercises involving the 3D liquid hydrocarbon pit.

“Today in the small narrow body aircraft simulator, they’ve gone in and done interior search and rescue operations involving cabin fires and cockpit fires. They’ve also done training with wheel break fires and engine fires,” Rhodes said.

“The exercises give firefighters the opportunity to use foam and dry chemical applications with liquid fuel fires such as fuel tanks, storage tanks, and wing cracks.” he said.

Despite the rarity of major aircraft accidents, the DFW crew, along with their international partners, refuse to become complacent.

“Fortunately for aircraft technology, it’s very rare that we do have an aircraft accident or incident, but there are a lot of minor incidents that happen throughout the country all the time,” Rhodes said.

“Firefighter training is an ongoing constant thing, in case something big does happen. The last big one occurred three years ago this month and that was in San Francisco.”

Rhodes referred to the Asiana Airlines flight from Seoul, South Korea, that crashed while landing at San Francisco International Airport on July 7, 2013.

“We’ve actually increased our capabilities to train firefighters,” Rhodes said. “Right now, we’ve averaged just over 20,000 students in the last 20 years.”

One of those students is Pasco Valana, from Vancouver.

“In Canada, we are required by our government to make sure that we meet certain standards every year,” Valana said. “For example, in one particular drill, we have to do a three-dimensional field fire, so pretending that fuel is burning from the wing down to the ground and then pooling, we have to use dry chemical, which immediately snuffs out the fire but doesn’t give us a lot of post-fire security, so we have to learn to cool things down.”

Not only has Valana participated in several certification courses, he’s been trained at several different locations.

“This is my eleventh year and fourth time down at Dallas Fort Worth doing this program. We’ve been very blessed that the Vancouver International Airport authority sends us to a variety of places,” Valana said.

He does, however, consider DFW one of the best.

“This is much more modern as far as the facilities, not to mention the male and female instructors here have a wealth of knowledge,” he said. “There is no ego; it’s about serving their brothers and sisters in the fire service, which is great.”

Max Deno, an Eagle Scout with Boy Scouts of America, is looking to pursue a career like Valana’s.

“Our scout troop is trying to get the fire safety merit badge, and so our scoutmaster invited us all out here to the DFW Airport to watch some of the training fires go on,” Deno said.

“I love what they do. I respect them a lot, and I’m always thankful that they’re there to help people in need.”

Deno and his troop had the opportunity to talk with the firefighters and watch as they battled various fires. Many of the scouts even tagged along during an exercise with the fire trucks.

“I got to talk to one of the captains and the battalion chief, and he told me the ins and outs of what it is, how old you have to be, what the qualifications are,” he said. “I’ve looked into the airport before and have always had an interest in firefighting.”

Firefighter training programs vary from state to state and country to country. Though the nation standard is a one-week course, Texas requires a three-week course for airport firefighters.

“I think a lot of people out there don’t know exactly what we do,” Valana said. “It’s nice for people to see that we’re not just sitting around waiting for something to happen. A lot of what we do is very proactive, so we’re looking for ways to keep the environment and our guests safe.”

Battle for the skies: DFW’s aviation history

Photo: Guest speakers Darwin Payne and Bruce Bleakley (far left and far right) discuss the lecture with Sally Ann Hudnall and Mary Jalonick. /Photo by John Starkey

In the years leading up to the completion of DFW International Airport, the state of aviation in the Metroplex was turbulent, according to Dr. Darwin Payne and Bruce Bleakley, the guest speakers of the Jalonick Lecture Series hosted by the University of Texas at Dallas on Saturday, July 11.

In his lecture titled “The Dallas-Fort Worth Struggle for Aviation Supremacy: How it Started and How it Ended,” Payne traced the history of aviation in DFW up to the 21st Century.

In the 1900s, pilots performed daredevil stunts that often ended in death. One such pilot was Lincoln Beachey.

“In Dallas, the sensational Lincoln Beachey flew, doing stunts like the loop-de-loop, flying upside down, and making a vertical drop of 1,500 feet before pulling up. He was evidently too reckless because the next year, he died when his plane went into the waters of the San Francisco Bay,” Payne said.

Eventually, people began to realize aviation’s potential outside of daring stunts and entertainment.

“The idea arose that Dallas and Fort Worth should be connected through the air. The young Dallas pilot, who had made his first solo flight in the plane powered by a motorcycle engine, made the connection in January of 1917. His name was Lester Miller,” he said. “He delivered to Fort Worth a bag filled with letters from Dallas, greetings from the Dallas rotary club to the Fort Worth rotary club and different mementos, then he returned with similar items from Fort Worth.”

When the First World War began, military uses for planes emerged, including scouting the location of enemy forces, arming planes with machine guns and dropping small bombs.

“Our federal government, even with the late entry into the war, built as many as 48 training fields across the nation to train pilots. Fort Worth especially with three of these fields, and Dallas with one, played key roles,” Payne said.

Following the war, thousands of trained pilots remained at the airfields, unsure of what to do next.

“After the war, airfields saw potential in using aviation for mail, and pilots began to push the limits of current aviation practices, resulting in a number of deaths,” Payne said.

“We tend to forget or not to even recognize, that there’s a surprising number of fatalities in these early years. In 11 months in those three airfields at Fort Worth, 106 aviators died in crashes.”

Soon after, the battle for aviation supremacy began with the construction of Love Field in 1917. The new airfield, which was named for Lieutenant Moss L. Love who died in a military training flight in California, competed with Fort Worth’s airfields for Texas Air Transport (TAT) contracts.

“TAT won important contracts for picking up mail around Texas and delivering them to Dallas, where they could take off for Chicago. TAT was quickly taken over by the entrepreneurial AP Barrett of Fort Worth with Amon Carter’s backing,” Payne said.

“Barrett created charter service and training schools in Fort Worth with the vision that it would become the aviation hub of the nation and Central and South America.”

As the airline expanded, the name was changed to Southern Air Transport. It became the most important airline in the south and a key component of what would become American Airlines.

“As the 20s ended, both Fort Worth and Dallas continued to be firmly committed to developing their separate airfields. The newer and stronger airplanes were extending their ranges, but at this point it didn’t seem necessary to have a single airport servicing both cities, in fact, it was convenient to have two,” Payne said.

Texas was at the forefront of aviation, ranked second only to California in the number of airfields, in addition to having the third largest number of pilots.

In the late 1920s, pilots began fastening wicker chairs to the floors of aircraft and started carrying passengers. Finally, the aviation industry entered the age of passenger transport.

By 1936, there were 10 airlines that were flying passengers out of Love Field every day, and by 1940 more than 100,000 incoming and outgoing passengers annually were served by 13 hangars.

“With all the advancements in aviation and with the distances between the two cities soon to be far closer now, the question seriously arose; why not serve both cities with a single airport?” Payne said.

The question ignited a grudge match that would span almost 35 years.

“In 1940, the CivilAeronautics Board (CAB) received requests for federal money for both airports, Meacham and Love Field. It occurred to some that maybe it wasn’t right for both airports to be considered separately,” Payne said.

“Dallas said that a joint airport might be appropriate, but if so, it should be in Dallas County. Of course Fort Worth didn’t see it that way.”

Arguments like these occurred often over the next three decades. The Dallas and Fort Worth chambers attempted to work out an arrangement that would evenly combine the two, and they came close, desiring a mid-city airport.

However, during WWII most runways were put to military use, and following the war, Fort Worth decided to move forward with the construction of the mid-city airport without Dallas.

“In 1947, Fort Worth announced it would build an $11.5 million super mid-cities airport and terminal. The acreage for the airport would be increased from 966 acres to 1,344 acres,” Payne said.

Dallas received even more bad news in 1948. A plan surfaced that the new airport would be the primary airport for both Dallas and Fort Worth.

“Love and Meacham would become auxiliaryfacilities. The new airport’s runways could be readily lengthened. Love Field couldn’t really lengthen without a great deal of trouble,” he said.

In 1953, the new Fort Worth terminal at Amon Carter Field was completed, but the directors knew it would need Dallas’ greater number of passengers.

“Another problem for the new airfield was the significant difference in operating costs for the airlines. At Amon Carter Field, the cost of each passenger for American Airlines was $40, while the costs per passenger at Love Field was only $6,” Payne said.

So, Carter Field tried again to get Dallas to join. Fort Worth was willing to negotiate, even offering to change the name to Dallas Fort Worth Field dropping ‘Amon Carter.’ Dallas wasn’t biting.

“Eventually, the government, fed up with funding two airports so close together, refused to help fund Love Field,” Payne said.

“The Fort Worth city council went ahead and they renamed Amon Carter Field. Without asking permission, they changed it to Great Southwest International Dallas Fort Worth Airport, removing Carter’s name.”

Dallas still refused to cooperate.

Finally, the CAB stepped in and handed down a surprising demand.

“Dallas and Fort Worth would pick a site together for a regional airport. If not, [the CAB] would do it for the cities,” he said.

However, following the assassination of President Kennedy, Dallas became the most hated city in the U.S. and it took a toll on the airports.

Eventually, Dallas Fort Worth Airport opened in 1974, the largest in the world at the time, with 18,000 acres.

“So the feud was over. It took nearly 10 years to complete the airport,” Payne said.

Bruce Bleakley, author of Dallas Aviation and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and current Museum Director at the Frontiers of Flight Museum, highlighted the major struggles and success of the DFW Airport.

“During its 41-plus year history, DFW Airport’s taken three big hits, but it’s survived due to the fact that it’s well led and well designed, but there were big hits nonetheless,” Bleakley said.

“The first occurred in May of 1982 when Braniff Airlines declared bankruptcy. Very literally overnight, pilots and crewmembers were told that when you arrive back at DFW, park the airplane and walk away and thanks for being part of the company.”

At that point, the airport lost $6,000 a month in landing fees and $21 million a year in facility rentals. Luckily, American Airlines had recently moved its headquarters from New York to Dallas Fort Worth.

Shortly after, the airport changed its name to DFW International Airport in 1985.

“Not that there hadn’t been international flights before, as a matter of fact there were, almost from day one, but this represented more and more international airline traffic coming through the airport,” Bleakley said.

The second big hit was one shared by every airport in the nation.

“On September 11, 2001, along with every other airport in the country, things really got crazy for a while,” he said. “One hundred and fifty aircraft were on the ground after all of the dust had settled. The airplanes had landed, but at that time, DFW did not have 150 gates, so a lot of them were stacked up along the taxiways.

“On one score, DFW really shines on this tragic situation; the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] required all major airports to recertify their security measures before beginning flight operations. DFW was the very first major airport to recertify, and on Thursday, the 13th of September, managed to see 377 departures.”

At this point, the DFW board had to decide whether or not to move forward with a $2.75 billion development plan they intended to begin prior to the events of 9/11. They decided to move forward.

“They made the right decision, because if they hadn’t, terminal D would have been a half million dollar hole in the ground, and their philosophy was that the aviation industry can recover from this. It will take several years, but we can recover,” Bleakley said.

“The third big hit that the airport has taken was in 2005 with Delta Airlines, which by this time had grown to be the second largest airline, right behind American. Delta decided to de-hub their operations. They went from 270 plus flights a day, to I think seven or eight, and so again, American Airlines was able to pick up some of the slack.”

Currently, there are 50 nonstop international destinations out of DFW International Airport. The airport has seven runways, three control towers, five terminals and 165 gates, according to Bleakley.

In addition, DFW hosts 27 airlines, 12 domestic and 15 international, with over 60,000 jobs at the airport, including employees of the airlines and the vendors. American Airlines accounts for 84-85 percent of traffic at DFW.

“The economic impact to this area, the Metroplex, is over $30 billion a year,” Bleakley said.

The lecture was followed by an opportunity to ask the speakers questions and book signings by both Payne and Bleakley.

Aviation should become daring, imaginative once again

Photo: Austin Probe, Jeremy Davis and Clark Moody demonstrate new aerospace technology from Vectornav. /Photo by John Starkey

Tom Enders the Chief Executive Officer of Airbus Group opened the AIAA Aviation 2015 conference on with a keynote address, Are We Moving Fast Enough?, on June 22.

The aviation and aerospace industry once sparked the imaginations of virtually all humanity. These fields were the source for a wealth of new technology and invention. Enders’ speech challenged today’s industry to compare itself to new and emerging industries as well as its former self to find its own bold, pioneering spirit once again.

“To kids like me in the 60s there seemed to be no limits: the moon, Mars, Capt. Kirk, Mr. Spock. Nothing seemed to be beyond our reach,” Enders said. “We were moving faster and farther than ever before. Electronics were getting smaller and eventually the web was invented and was getting bigger.

“Aeronautics and aerospace were still the drivers of technological progress taking others along for the ride. But ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, times have changed. Intranet and Internet usage, coding, apps, networking, big data that is what drives progress today. It is no longer nations that are funding and leading the revolution. It is more and more individuals, entrepreneurs, disrupters. People who innovate by believing it is easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission. Though to be fair, they don’t exactly ask for forgiveness either.

“I think it was Eric Schmidt who describes many of these companies as ‘permissionless businesses.’ They simply move too fast for regulation.

“Was our pace of progress in the 50s, 60s well into the 70s sustainable or did he create false expectations? Can this industry drive technological progress again or are we being unrealistic assuming this? Whether the goal is Mars or closer to home can we honestly say that today we are doing enough in the aerospace industry fast enough? That seems like a strange question, after all connecting people faster over longer distances, that is still our business. It has been since the first commercial passenger flight to Tampa Bay 100 years ago. So is using that technology for defense, satellite communication or exploring the stars.

“That Tampa flight had just one passenger. In the hundred years since, there have been 65 billion passengers. There will be the same again in the next 15 years as air traffic doubles from today’s levels,” Enders said. “This means airlines will need nearly 30,000 new, efficient aircraft in the next 20 years to stay competitive.

“Incredibly we are probably seeing the same production rate for communications satellites soon. Companies like Airbus and our competitors used to build about 10 or 12 huge satellites a year. Unit prices were usually in the double or more often in the triple digit millions. Now with the one web, low Earth orbit consolation project our new US factory will build hundreds of units at less than 150 kg, a little bigger than a fridge, at less than $100 million per shot using technology and processes we developed for our commercial aircraft in our case for the a350.

“The best thing is it won’t just transform our industry. It will transform the lives of millions of people around the world by opening the Internet in an entirely new way. It’s a great reminder that astronautics is not just about reaching out to other planets or galaxies; it’s about it’s about improving and protecting life on the planet we already have,” he said.

“We in the aerospace industry can’t take progress for granted; not with more and more competition from outside traditional norms. It’s not just the big names,” Enders said. “It’s a whole wave of young entrepreneurs, mostly here in the United States of America. They are the new disrupters.

“Think of Kodak. They invented digital camera back in 1975. But they missed their own trick while protecting their film business. They got leapfrogged right out of the game. If this industry wants to avoid its own Kodak moment, we must balance incremental progress, low risk, solid and steady performance, which is obviously good for profits and shareholder value with true disruption. We cannot miss the revolution right under our noses. So we need to pay more attention to the new players; not only their products, but also their perspective, their philosophy of innovation. More importantly, we need to be open to partnering with them and working with them to shape new opportunities for the future.

“Until recently, our worlds did not collide. That is changing. People used to say that the Airbus/Boeing duopoly would be broken by the Chinese, the Canadians or the Brazilians. Well, they are still out there, and I for one certainly don’t underestimate them. But what if there is someone else? What if change comes about from another country or company but an entirely different industry?

“It is easy for people like us to think the tech guys are playing in somebody else’s backyard. But if they are, I believe it’s only temporary, whatever your industry. What if they overturn an industry by accident? These guys don’t play by a different set of rules. They make them up as they go along.”

Enders mentioned Airbus spent $20 billion to improve aircraft performance by 10 percent. The investment, a milestone in the aircraft industry, would be considered too little gain for too great an investment in other industries.

“Google’s 10X philosophy is to make something 10 times better not 10 percent better. For traditional industries, incremental change is important,” Enders said. “For ambitious tech companies, it is insignificant. We tend to save early, save often. They prefer to fail early and fail often. When they do fail, it can enhance their reputation as being innovative and entrepreneurial or crazy. If someone in our industry fails, it can be devastating. The very consequences of potential failure drives a lot of our technical and financial regulations as it should.

“But these are concerns that many of these new commission-less businesses consider a nuisance. If they consider them at all.

“To be sure ladies and gentlemen, safety must be paramount. But do we use restrictions as a crutch? We can never compromise on safety, but do we use regulations as an excuse at least sometimes?

“If we are to learn and benefit from this new environment, if we are to draw advantage from the tech revolution, if we are to thrive when the lines between corporations and competition get blurred, then we must protect the safety critical parts of the business, but we must also rediscover the appetite for risk, speed and energy that hooked us on this industry in the first place. The two must live side by side.

“What distinguishes the startup technology community is to focus on being bold regardless of risk and regardless of offending anybody. Our energy must go towards riding the tech wave, not protecting ourselves against it. This industry was the driver of technological progress in the 50s, 60s and beyond. We were bold too. This industry needs to recapture that pioneer spirit to find ways to work with new audacious partners,” he said.