Addressing airport noise is a challenge all airport authorities face, and the Wayne County Airport Authority has taken this challenge head on by constructing a ground run-up enclosure (GRE) at Detroit Metro Airport to minimise the acoustic impact of engine run-ups.

The three-sided enclosure was designed and built by Blast Deflectors, Inc. (BDI), a Reno, Nevada-based firm specialising in jet blast deflectors and acoustic enclosures.

BDI has specialised in the design and construction of jet blast deflectors (JBDs) and ground run-up enclosures (GREs) for 55 years and has built more than 20 run-up facilities around the world. The most common GRE is a three sided, open-top facility that reduces noise levels generated during high-power engine runs.

The Detroit Metro GRE can accommodate the largest Boeing aircraft, which is the B747-8. The dimensions of the facility are approximately 308ft (93.8m) long by 292ft (89m) wide with a height of 42ft (12.8m). Most aircraft types that will be used in the GRE will be able to turn around inside the facility while operating under their own power, eliminating the need for an aircraft tug and additional personnel required for tug operations.

Aerodynamic stability of the GRE was a key factor during the planning and design of the facility. Aircraft engines require steady airflow in order to function properly during ground run-ups. BDI’s patented Stabile Flow system of acoustically treated vented side walls, rounded edges and a sloped entry was incorporated into the design in order to maximise aerodynamic performance.

The facility also incorporates aesthetic steel cladding which not only improves the acoustic performance, but gives the facility a finished look. The steel cladding on the DTW GRE was specifically engineered to reduce the reflection of radio and radar frequencies. All of these features contribute to an installation that provides greater benefits for the surrounding communities.

The acoustic performance of the facility was also a primary design factor, and the GRE at Detroit Metro achieved an insertion loss of greater than 15 decibels. The noise reduction is accomplished by using more 2,000 of BDI’s patented Noise Blotter acoustic panels that line the inside walls of the facility. These panels are specifically designed by BDI to absorb the low frequency noise produced by aircraft engines during run-ups.

The GRE was put into service in late July 2012 and will be made available for use 24 hours per day. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on July 24, 2012.