Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Aviation (AvD)



First Advisor

Deborah Carstens

Second Advisor

John Deaton

Third Advisor

Brooke Wheeler

Fourth Advisor

William Arrasmith


The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between U.S. airport characteristics, hurricane strength, and hurricane proximity and the time it takes airspace activity to recover to normal after experiencing a catastrophic hurricane. It determined the relative influence of five airport characteristics and two hurricane characteristics as predictors of time for airspace activity to recover to normal. The result is a predictive airport disaster resilience equation to estimate the expected airport recovery rate for a forecasted catastrophic hurricane. This supports expectation management for aviation practitioners. This is significant for air traffic controllers because post-hurricane airspace is unpredictable, demanding, unfamiliar, and anecdotally dangerous. When catastrophic hurricanes approach the U.S. coastline, aviation operations are adapted to respond to the immediate threat-to-life of intense storm conditions and other storm impacts, such as power and communications outages. These operational changes make airspace less familiar and less predictable. This can lead to overloaded air traffic controllers and flight

safety incidents. It is reasonable to suggest that if post-disaster airspace were more familiar and predictable it would likely be safer. The research methodology is an exploratory correlational design using multiple regression correlation (MRC). The sample is a census of the target and accessible populations of all U.S. primary airports that have experienced an Atlantic-basin originating catastrophic hurricane in the 20-year period 2002–2021. There are initially five independent variables of airport characteristics, two independent variables of hurricane characteristics, and one dependent variable of time for airspace activity to recover to normal, measured in calendar days. One independent variable was removed due to multicollinearity. The final six airport and hurricane characteristics together explained 12.8% of the rate of airspace activity recovery in the presence of one another.

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