Advisory Circulars

Commercial & Business Aviation

COMMERCIAL AND BUSINESS AVIATION ADVISORY CIRCULAR

 
No. 0256
2006.07.31

SUBJECT

Low Visibility Take-off Airport Requirements

INTRODUCTION

This Commercial and Business Aviation Advisory Circular (CBAAC) is intended to bring to the attention of air operators operating under Subpart 703, Air Taxi Operations, Subpart 704, Commuter Operations and Subpart 705, Airline Operations of the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs), the airport requirements for take-off minima with a reported visibility Runway Visual Range (RVR) of 1200 feet (1/4 statute mile) and RVR 600 feet.

APPLICABILITY

1) Subpart 703 the of the CARs air operators with Operations Specification 006, Take-off In IMC – Weather Below Landing Minima, Operations Specification 007, Take-off Minima Reported Visibility RVR 1200 feet (1/4 mile) – Aeroplanes With Certified Engine-out Take-off And Climb Performance and/or Operations Specification 008, Take-off Minima Reported Visibility RVR 1200 feet (1/4 mile) – Aeroplanes Without Certified Engine-out Take-off And Climb Performance.

2) Subpart 704 of the CARs air operators with Operations Specification 021, Take-off In IMC – Weather Below Landing Minima, Operations Specification 022, Take-off Minima Reported Visibility RVR 1200 Feet (1/4 Mile) – Aeroplanes With Certified Engine-out Take-off And Climb Performance, Operations Specification 023, Take-off Minima Reported Visibility RVR 1200 Feet (1/4 Mile) – Aeroplanes Without Certified Engine-out Take-off And Climb Performance and/or Operations Specification 024, Take-off Minima, Reported Visibility RVR 600 Feet.

3) Subpart 705 of the CARs air operators with Operations Specification 062, Take-off Minima Reported Visibility RVR 1200 feet (1/4 Mile) and/or Operations Specification 063, Take-off Minima Reported Visibility RVR 600 Feet.

REFERENCES

  • Section 703.30 of the CARs, Take-off Minima and Section 723.30 of the Commercial Air Service Standard (CASS), Air Taxi Operations – Aeroplanes, Take-off Minima.
  • Section 704.26 of the CARs, Take-off Minimaand Section 724.26 of the CASS Commuter Operations - Aeroplanes, Take-off Minima.
  • Section 705.34 of the CARs, Take-off Minima, and Section 725.34 of the CASS Airline Operations – Aeroplanes, Take-off Minima.
  • Part III, Subpart 2, paragraph 302.07(a) of the CARs.
  • TP 312, Aerodrome Standards and Recommended Practices, Aerodrome and Air Navigation Branch, Standards Division.

BACKGROUND

There are standards governing the airport equipment required for take-off in reduced visibility conditions in order for commercial air operators to operate in reduced visibility, which for the purposes of this CBAAC is defined as operations below a RVR of 2600 feet (1/2 statute mile). Air operators need to be aware there are airports that do not meet the standards for lighting and markings as required in TP 312 for operations below RVR of 2600 feet. TP 312 addresses in part, the electrical design, lighting and marking requirements for taxiways, runways, and aprons in reduced visibility operations. Subparts 703, 704 and 705 of the CARs address only specific runway requirements with respect to aircrew visual references. As a result, air operators have the authority (through the Subparts 703, 704 and 705 of the CARs standards and applicable operations specifications) to depart from a runway when the RVR is below the certified limits for operation of the airport as published in TP 312. In other words, while the pilot may be able to take-off as the runway may meet Subparts 703, 704 and 705 of the CARs requirements, there are certification requirements of Part III, Subpart 2 of the CARs with respect to the equipment needed to support reduced visibility operations, and its interaction with other traffic at the site, such as aircraft and vehicles, that may restrict the use of the runways, taxiways, and aprons.

The issue is compounded by the recognition of runway incursions as a major worldwide aviation risk and this risk has been cited as a related reason for concern.

CURRENT SITUATION

RVR 600 operations will be discussed first, then RVR 1200 operations.

RVR 600 Operations

Under Part III, Subpart 2 of the CARs, airports are required to have the following in place for low visibility operations:

1) Surface Movement Guidance and Control System, commonly referred to as a Low Visibility Operational Plan (LVOP) (TP 312: section 8.8.1);

2) Taxiway centerline lights (TP 312: specifications 5.3.16.1 and 5.3.16.3);

3) Runway/taxiway, runway/runway intersection stop bars (TP 312: section 5.3.18);

4) Runway high intensity edge lights (TP 312: section 5.3.10); recommendation only for daytime departures);

5) Runway centreline lights (TP 312: specification 5.3.13.3);

6) Runway electrical multi-looping (multi-circuit design) (TP 312: section 8.1.2);

7) Secondary power supply (TP 312: specification 8.1.1.8);

8) Road holding position lights (TP 312: specification 5.3.24.1); and

9) Illuminated signs (TP 312: specifications 5.4.1.7(a) and 5.4.1.11).

Based on available information, the following airports and runways in Canada that currently meet these standards are:

1) Montreal, Dorval, Quebec (CYUL), Runway 06L-24R;

2) Toronto, Ontario (CYYZ), Runways 06R-24L, 06L-24R and 15L-33R; and

3) Vancouver, British Columbia. (CYVR), Runways 08L-26R and 08R-26L.

Based on available information, the following airports and runways that meet only the requirements of (4), (5), (6), (7), (8), and (9) are:

1) St. John’s, Newfoundland (CYYT), Runway 11-29;

2) Halifax, Nova Scotia (CYHZ), Runway 05-23;

3) Montreal, Mirabel, Quebec (CYMX), Runway 06-24;

4) Hamilton, Ontario (CYHM), Runway 12-30; and

5) Winnipeg, Manitoba (CYWG), Runway 18-36.

At this time, these 5 airports are NOT suitable for RVR 600 operations, as they do not meet the regulatory requirements of Part III, Subpart 2 of the CARs.

RVR 1200 Operations

While there are other requirements to be in complete compliance with TP 312 standards, the biggest problem for operations below RVR 2600 is the requirement for multi-looping of all visual aids lighting signals. Included in these requirements are:

1) Runway/taxiway intersection guard lights (TP 312: specification 5.3.20.1(a));

2) Runway high intensity edge lights (TP 312: section 5.3.10.6, recommendation only for daytime departures);

3) Runway electrical multi-looping (multi-circuit design) (TP 312: section 8.1.2); and

4) Illuminated signs (TP 312: specification 5.4.1.11).

Based on available information, the following airports can support RVR 1200 day/night operations only:

1) St. John’s, Newfoundland (CYYT), Runway 11-29;

2) Halifax, Nova Scotia (CYHZ), Runway 05-23;

3) Montreal, Mirabel, Quebec (CYMX), Runway 06-24;

4) Hamilton, Ontario (CYHM), Runway12-30; and

5) Winnipeg, Manitoba (CYWG), Runway 18-36.

ACTION

This CBAAC does not require the implementation of additional aerodrome standards. However, until the various airport authorities upgrade their airports to meet the applicable TP 312 standards for either RVR 600 or RVR 1200 take-off operations, as appropriate, an interim solution is to limit the number of movements on the airport surface at any given time. Airports should publish the operating limits to which they are certified for each part of the movement area. Airport authorities would then have to consider the impact of their operating limits on the air operators using their airport. An air operator should be aware of the certification status of the facility prior to moving an aircraft on an airport surface with the intention of take-off when the visibility is below the airport operating limits. Airports should also develop and publish in their Airport Operating Manual a LVOP as a minimum requirement to conduct operations any time RVR is either below 2600 feet or below 1200 feet. Since the above list of airports and any changing aerodrome requirements will NOT be updated via further CBAAC, commercial air operators, old and new, intending to use an airport during times of reduced visibility operations should be initially made aware of any LVOP and any subsequent changes by the airport authority.

FUTURE DISPOSITION

Aerodromes and Air Navigation, Standards Division indicates that the upgrades required for most airports should be relatively inexpensive where multi looping is already provided and could be implemented in a short time. Some aerodromes may require more significant upgrades for operations below RVR 1200 (1/4 statute mile). There are airport programs available on a case-by-case basis to help offset the cost for some of these facilities. Therefore, this CBAAC will remain in force until further notice.

CONCLUSION

The need to improve the facilities at Canadian airports to support reduced visibility operations has been recognized. It is also recognized that this needs to be accomplished in an orderly and controlled manner that does not cause unnecessary disruptions to the airports affected or the air operators using these facilities. However, it has also been recognized that the airport requirements for take-off minima with a reported RVR of 1200 feet and RVR of 600 feet must be respected by both the airport authorities operating the airport and the air operators using the airport for the continued safety of everyone.

Original signed by

D.B. Sherritt
Director
Commercial & Business Aviation

Commercial & Business Aviation Advisory Circulars (CBAAC) are intended to provide information and guidance regarding operational matters. A CBAAC may describe an acceptable, but not the only, means of demonstrating compliance with existing regulations. CBAACs in and of themselves do not change, create any additional, authorize changes in, or permit deviations from regulatory requirements. CBAACs are available electronically on the TC Web site, at: http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/civilaviation/standards/commerce-circulars-menu-284.htm
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