Project AS 07/13 - Regulation of Low Visibility Operations
Project closed 2 March 2017.
In October 2007, Project AS 07/13 commenced with the aim of reviewing existing standards for low visibility operations in Australia. The objective was to establish complementary and consistent standards between the different aviation segments – flight operations, air traffic control, aerodromes, navigation aids, instrument flight procedure design and aeronautical information.
In the course of the project, visits were conducted to the United States of America, Canada and the United Kingdom. Extensive consultation occurred with all relevant parties to develop change proposals.
NPRM 0906AS was issued on 12 December 2009, which proposed ICAO and internationally compatible standards for:
- conventional Category (CAT) II, CAT IIIA and CAT IIIB instrument approach operations
- aerodrome lighting and marking
- associated ground operating practices.
Following consultation and legislative drafting, the final changes from NPRM 0906AS came into effect in June 2011 in the form of Determination of meteorological minima, Manual of Standards Part 139 Amendment Instrument (No. 1) 2011, Manual of Standards Part 172 Amendment Instrument (No. 1) 2011 and Manual of Standards Part 173 Amendment Instrument (No. 1) 2011.
A second consultation program commenced in November 2012 with release of NPRM 1209AS. This NPRM proposed standards for instrument approach operations that enable reduced operating minima through the use of head up display (HUD) systems and other advanced systems. Following consultation and legislative drafting, the final changes from NPRM 1209AS came into effect in January 2016 in the form of Manual of Standards Part 139, 171, 172 and 173 Amendment Instrument 2016 (No.1).
Since the completion of the regulatory change program, several aerodromes have implemented low visibility operations that use the new standards. Several domestic airlines have also gained authorisation to use the advanced systems fitted to their aircraft for the new low visibility operations. Furthermore, overseas authorities have expressed interest in the innovative concepts introduced through this project and are actively considering the introduction of similar standards.
With the change program completed and new standards in use, CASA announces the closure of project AS 07/13.
There are special requirements on the aircraft operator, aerodrome operator and ATC during low visibility operations at an aerodrome, the aim of which is to ensure that the low visibility operation can be conducted in safety. However, currently these requirements are not all transparent and there are also anomalies. There is also a lack of clear CASA guidance on the matter.
Currently, the requirements pertaining to aircraft operator take-off and landing minima are specified in CAR 257, AIP Enroute 1.5, or as conditions attached to an exemption issued to an airline operator. The standards for aerodrome facilities and procedures are specified in the Manual of Standards (MOS Part 139). The standards for Air Traffic Service are specified in MOS 172, but it does not contain specific low visibility standards or requirements. ATC at each aerodrome develop its own low visibility procedures. ATC only provide the meteorological information to pilots and the decision to conduct a low visibility operation rests with the pilot.
CASA through the AIP, allows IFR (generally RPT) aircraft to take-off with 500m visibility at any aerodrome that has 60m spaced runway edge lights – ATC controlled or non-controlled. MOS Part 139 requirement, in accordance with ICAO Annex 14, is that aerodromes used in take-off below 800m RVR is to be provided with standby power for runway lighting with the capability of 1 second switch over time. In Australia, this is not provided at aerodromes without ATC presence. There may be a case to relax the aerodrome requirement if the standby power facility is not really required to support the take-off operation.
Currently, AIP Enroute 1.5 specified take-off visibility minima down to 500m. Major airlines have been given exemptions to take-off with 400m RVR if the aerodrome edge light spacing is not more than 60m and to take-off with 300m RVR if the runway edge lights and centre line lights were available (light spacing is not indicated in the AIP - Enroute Supplement). The 300m RVR is at variance with ICAO, the JAA and FAA which require runways used in take-off in RVR of below 350m to have Cat II or III aerodrome movement area lighting, viz. high intensity runway edge and centre line lights and taxiway lights. The exemptions are granted to airlines subject to a range of requirements on the flight crew, but no specific requirements on the ATC or the aerodrome operator. CASA has no guidance for issuing such approvals and tying together the aerodrome operators, ATC and the airline operators.
Annex 14 requires the runway holding positions of a runway used in RVR of less than 550m to be provided with stop bars unless appropriate aids and procedures are available to assist in preventing inadvertent incursions of aircraft and vehicles, otherwise the aircraft on the manoeuvring area are to be limited to one at a time, and vehicles on the manoeuvring area are limited to the essential minimum. Currently, there are no stop bars at Australian aerodromes and the ATC do not limit aircraft to one at a time in less than 550 RVR. Appropriate aids and procedures are not defined or documented. Some major aerodrome operators are concerned of possible liability on their part in allowing their aerodromes to be used in RVR of less than 550m with no stop bars, as there is no assurance that appropriate aids and procedures are in place. Currently, at each aerodrome, the aerodrome operator and ATC develop their own procedures. CASA has no guidance tying together the procedures of ATC, aerodrome operators and the airline operator.
Currently, airline operators can only conduct Cat I approach procedures to Cat I minima at Australian aerodromes. Some airline operators have aircraft equipped with Head Up Display (HUD), Enhanced Visual Systems (EVS), or auto-landing capabilities. Both the JAA and FAA have published guidelines for allowing such equipped aircraft to operate to below the Cat I minima at Cat I equipped aerodromes (known as Special Cat II operations), and these airlines are keen to derive these benefits from their aircraft. To allow early introduction of the Special Cat II operations in Australia at aerodromes where the stake holders wish to have such operations, CASA needs to develop appropriate guidelines to clearly set out the requirements for airline operators, ATC, instrument procedure designers and aerodrome operators at aerodromes when such operations are conducted.
To develop appropriate requirements and guidelines for the conduct of low visibility operations in Australia.
The project was approved by Group General Manager, Air Transport Operations Group, and registered on 2 October 2007.
Project sponsor: Kim Jones/Peter Cromarty
Project Leader: Jan Goosen
Email: Jan Goosen
Standards Consultative Committee (SCC)
|Consultation updates in 2017|
|Project AS 07/13 - Regulation of Low Visibility Operations||Project closed.||2 March 2017|
|NFRM 1209AS - New precision instrument approach operations||This NFRM has been published.||2 March 2017|
|Consultation updates in 2016|
|AC 139-19 v1.0 - All-weather operations at aerodromes||This final AC has been published.||23 May 2016|
|Draft AC 139-19 v1.0 - All-weather operations at aerodromes||All comments should be sent to the Project Leader, Jan Goosen by close of business 31 March 2016.||15 Mar 2016|
|CAAP 257-EX-01(1) - Approval to conduct low visibility operations||This CAAP has been published.||13 Jan 2016|
|CAAP 257-EX-02(0) - Conduct of practice autoland operations||This CAAP has been published.||13 Jan 2016|
|Consultation updates in 2013|
|NPRM 1209AS – New precision instrument approach operations||This NPRM closed for comment 14 January 2013.||16 Jan 2013|
|Consultation updates in 2012|
|NPRM 1209AS – New precision instrument approach operations||This NPRM has been published and is now available for comment. Comments close 14 January 2013.||12 Nov 2012|
|Consultation updates in 2011|
|NFRM 0906AS - IFR Minima and Low Visibility Operations||This NFRM is now available.||18 Jul 2011|
|Consultation updates in 2009|
|NPRM 0906AS - IFR Minima and Low Visibility Operations||Comments closed.||17 Dec 2009|
|Consultation updates in 2008|
|Discussion Paper – DP 0805AS Low Visibility Operations in Australia||Proposal to establish new standards and amend existing standards for low visibility operations. Comments closed 15 September 2008||4 Aug 2008|
|Consultation updates in 2007|
|Project AS 07/13 - Regulation of Low Visibility Operations||This project has been approved and information is now available.||2 Oct 2007|