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Approach Ban

International Operations Appendices

Most U.S. pilots hear the term "approach ban" and assume it has nothing to do with them, but it does. What is it? You can think of it as the U.S. 14 CFR 135 rule that says you can't take off unless you have what it takes to land at your destination. Too heavy to land? Can't takeoff. Weather great here, bad there? Can't takeoff. Simple. It is the ICAO Law of the Land, but there are exceptions.


 

ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices

Commercial Aviation

[ICAO Annex 6, Part I, ¶4.2.8.1 Aerodrome operating minima] The State of the Operator shall require that the operator establish aerodrome operating minima for each aerodrome to be used in operations and shall approve the method of determination of such minima. Such minima shall not be lower than any that may be established for such aerodromes by the State in which the aerodrome is located, except when specifically approved by that State.

Note 1.— This Standard does not require the State in which the aerodrome is located to establish aerodrome operating minima.

Note 2.— The use of head-up displays (HUD) or enhanced vision systems (EVS) may allow operations with lower visibilities than normally associated with the aerodrome operating minima.

[ICAO Annex 6, Part I, ¶4.4.1 Aerodrome operating minima]

4.4.1.1 A flight shall not be continued towards the aerodrome of intended landing, unless the latest available information indicates that at the expected time of arrival, a landing can be effected at that aerodrome or at least one destination alternate aerodrome, in compliance with the operating minima established in accordance with 4.2.8.1.

4.4.1.2 An instrument approach shall not be continued beyond the outer marker fix in case of precision approach, or below 300 m (1 000 ft) above the aerodrome in case of non-precision approach, unless the reported visibility or controlling RVR is above the specified minimum.

4.4.1.3 If, after passing the outer marker fix in case of precision approach, or after descending below 300 m (1 000 ft) above the aerodrome in case of non-precision approach, the reported visibility or controlling RVR falls below the specified minimum, the approach may be continued to DA/H or MDA/H. In any case, an aeroplane shall not continue its approach-to-land at any aerodrome beyond a point at which the limits of the operating minima specified for that aerodrome would be infringed.

Note.— Controlling RVR means the reported values of one or more RVR reporting locations (touchdown, mid-point and stop-end) used to determine whether operating minima are or are not met. Where RVR is used, the controlling RVR is the touchdown RVR, unless otherwise specified by State criteria.

General Aviation

[ICAO Annex 6, Part II, ¶2.2.2.2 Aerodrome operating minima] The pilot-in-command shall not operate to or from an aerodrome using operating minima lower than those which may be established for that aerodrome by the State in which it is located, except with the specific approval of that State. Note.— It is the practice in some States to declare, for flight planning purposes, higher minima for an aerodrome when nominated as an alternate, than for the same aerodrome when planned as that of intended landing.

[ICAO Annex 6, Part II, ¶2.2.4.1] Aerodrome operating minima

2.2.4.1.1 A flight shall not be continued towards the aerodrome of intended landing, unless the latest available information indicates that at the expected time of arrival, a landing can be effected at that aerodrome or at least one destination alternate aerodrome, in compliance with the operating minima established in accordance with 2.2.2.2.

2.2.4.1.2 An instrument approach shall not be continued beyond the outer marker fix in case of precision approach, or below 300 m (1 000 ft) above the aerodrome in case of non-precision approach, unless the reported visibility or controlling RVR is above the specified minimum.

2.2.4.1.3 If, after passing the outer marker fix in case of precision approach, or after descending below 300 m (1 000 ft) above the aerodrome in case of non-precision approach, the reported visibility or controlling RVR falls below the specified minimum, the approach may be continued to DA/H or MDA/H. In any case, an aeroplane shall not continue its approach-to-land beyond a point at which the limits of the aerodrome operating minima would be infringed.

Note.— Controlling RVR means the reported values of one or more RVR reporting locations (touchdown, midpoint and stop-end) used to determine whether operating minima are or are not met. Where RVR is used, the controlling RVR is the touchdown RVR, unless otherwise specified by State criteria.

ICAO Annex 6 Part I is "International Commercial Air Transport - Aeroplanes" and Part II is "International General Aviation - Aeroplanes." The approach ban policy applies to both.

EASA Exception

The rules in Europe, at one point, were known as JAA OPS but that gave way to EU Ops under the EASA.

[Commission Regulation (EU) No 965, ¶CAT.OP.MPA.305]

  1. The commander or the pilot to whom conduct of the flight has been delegated may commence an instrument approach regardless of the reported RVR/VIS.
  2. You can start the approach regardless of weather, but there is a limit to how low you can go . . .

  3. If the reported RVR/VIS is less than the applicable minimum the approach shall not be continued:
    1. below 1 000 ft above the aerodrome; or
    2. into the final approach segment in the case where the DA/H or MDA/H is more than 1 000 ft above the aerodrome.
  4. Where the RVR is not available, RVR values may be derived by converting the reported visibility.
  5. If, after passing 1 000 ft above the aerodrome, the reported RVR/VIS falls below the applicable minimum, the approach may be continued to DA/H or MDA/H.
  6. If the visibility then goes below, you can continue to the DA/H or MDA/H.

  7. The approach may be continued below DA/H or MDA/H and the landing may be completed provided that the visual reference adequate for the type of approach operation and for the intended runway is established at the DA/H or MDA/H and is maintained.
  8. And if you have the reference you need to land at that point, you may.

U.S. Exception

[14 CFR 135, §135.219] No person may take off an aircraft under IFR or begin an IFR or over-the-top operation unless the latest weather reports or forecasts, or any combination of them, indicate that weather conditions at the estimated time of arrival at the next airport of intended landing will be at or above authorized IFR landing minimums.

[14 CFR 135, §135.225]

(a) Except to the extent permitted by paragraph (b) of this section, no pilot may begin an instrument approach procedure to an airport unless—

(1) That airport has a weather reporting facility operated by the U.S. National Weather Service, a source approved by U.S. National Weather Service, or a source approved by the Administrator; and

(2) The latest weather report issued by that weather reporting facility indicates that weather conditions are at or above the authorized IFR landing minimums for that airport.

(b) A pilot conducting an eligible on-demand operation may begin an instrument approach procedure to an airport that does not have a weather reporting facility operated by the U.S. National Weather Service, a source approved by the U.S. National Weather Service, or a source approved by the Administrator if—

(1) The alternate airport has a weather reporting facility operated by the U.S. National Weather Service, a source approved by the U.S. National Weather Service, or a source approved by the Administrator; and

(2) The latest weather report issued by the weather reporting facility includes a current local altimeter setting for the destination airport. If no local altimeter setting for the destination airport is available, the pilot may use the current altimeter setting provided by the facility designated on the approach chart for the destination airport.

(c) If a pilot has begun the final approach segment of an instrument approach to an airport under paragraph (b) of this section, and the pilot receives a later weather report indicating that conditions have worsened to below the minimum requirements, then the pilot may continue the approach only if the requirements of §91.175(l) of this chapter, or both of the following conditions, are met—

(1) The later weather report is received when the aircraft is in one of the following approach phases: (i) The aircraft is on an ILS final approach and has passed the final approach fix;

(ii) The aircraft is on an ASR or PAR final approach and has been turned over to the final approach controller; or

(iii) The aircraft is on a nonprecision final approach and the aircraft—

(A) Has passed the appropriate facility or final approach fix; or

(B) Where a final approach fix is not specified, has completed the procedure turn and is established inbound toward the airport on the final approach course within the distance prescribed in the procedure; and

(2) The pilot in command finds, on reaching the authorized MDA or DA/DH, that the actual weather conditions are at or above the minimums prescribed for the procedure being used.

(d) If a pilot has begun the final approach segment of an instrument approach to an airport under paragraph (c) of this section and a later weather report indicating below minimum conditions is received after the aircraft is—

(1) On an ILS final approach and has passed the final approach fix; or

(2) On an ASR or PAR final approach and has been turned over to the final approach controller; or

(3) On a final approach using a VOR, NDB, or comparable approach procedure; and the aircraft— (i) Has passed the appropriate facility or final approach fix; or

(ii) Where a final approach fix is not specified, has completed the procedure turn and is established inbound toward the airport on the final approach course within the distance prescribed in the procedure; the approach may be continued and a landing made if the pilot finds, upon reaching the authorized MDA or DH, that actual weather conditions are at least equal to the minimums prescribed for the procedure.

(e) The MDA or DA/DH and visibility landing minimums prescribed in part 97 of this chapter or in the operator's operations specifications are increased by 100 feet and1/2mile respectively, but not to exceed the ceiling and visibility minimums for that airport when used as an alternate airport, for each pilot in command of a turbine-powered airplane who has not served at least 100 hours as pilot in command in that type of airplane.

(f) Each pilot making an IFR take- off or approach and landing at a military or foreign airport shall comply with applicable instrument approach procedures and weather minimums prescribed by the authority having jurisdiction over that airport. In addition, no pilot may, at that airport—

(1) Take off under IFR when the visibility is less than 1 mile; or

(2) Make an instrument approach when the visibility is less than 1/2 mile.

(g) If takeoff minimums are specified in part 97 of this chapter for the take- off airport, no pilot may take off an aircraft under IFR when the weather conditions reported by the facility described in paragraph (a) (1) of this section are less than the takeoff minimums specified for the takeoff airport in part 97 or in the certificate holder's operations specifications.

(h) Except as provided in paragraph (i) of this section, if takeoff minimums are not prescribed in part 97 of this chapter for the takeoff airport, no pilot may takeoff an aircraft under IFR when the weather conditions reported by the facility described in paragraph (a)(1) of this section are less than that prescribed in part 91 of this chapter or in the certificate holder's operations specifications.

(i) At airports where straight-in instrument approach procedures are authorized, a pilot may takeoff an aircraft under IFR when the weather conditions reported by the facility described in paragraph (a)(1) of this section are equal to or better than the lowest straight-in landing minimums, unless otherwise restricted, if—

(1) The wind direction and velocity at the time of takeoff are such that a straight-in instrument approach can be made to the runway served by the instrument approach;

(2) The associated ground facilities upon which the landing minimums are predicated and the related airborne equipment are in normal operation; and

(3) The certificate holder has been approved for such operations.

The bottom line in the U.S. is this: if you are a commercial operator you cannot takeoff if your destination is below minimums, once you get there you cannot start the approach unless the weather is good enough, and once you've started the approach if the weather goes down you have to abandon the approach. If you are not a commercial operator, this does not apply to you. You can takeoff even if your destination is below minimums. You can begin the approach. If you find yourself at minimums and have the necessary visual references, you can land.

Other Exceptions

Other countries remove approach ban restrictions for some or all operators, or impose further restrictions. You should refer to the country's Jeppesen Airways Manual Air Traffic Control pages. A few examples:

India

[Jeppesen Airway Manual / Air Traffic Control / State Rules and Procedures - India, 20 Dec 2013]

  • An instrument approach shall not commenced if the reported RVR/Visibility is below the applicable minimum. If, after commencing an instrument approach, the reported RVR/Visibility falls below the applicable minimum, the approach shall not be continued:
    1. below 1000ft above the aerodrome; or
    2. into the final approach segment in the case where the DA/H or MDA/H is more than 1000ft above the aerodrome.
  • Where the RVR is not available, RVR values may be derived by converting the reported visibility.
  • If, after passing 1000ft above the aerodrome elevation, the reported RVR/visibility falls below the applicable minimum, the approach may be continued to DA/H or MDA/H.
  • The approach may be continued below DA/H or MDA/H and the landing may be completed provided that the required visual reference is established at the DA/H or MDA/H and is maintained.

Japan

[Jeppesen Airway Manual / Air Traffic Control / State Rules and Procedures - Japan, 20 Dec 2013]

  • An aircraft shall not takeoff or start an approach to land at any airport if the observed RVR is less than the meteorological minimums for that airport.
  • Prior to commencing an instrument approach, if the weather conditions at the airport are below the published or the pilot's landing minimums, the pilot should notify the ATC facility or Airport Advisory Service Units and request clearance to hold or to proceed to an alternate airport.
  • After commencing an instrument approach and it is determined that the pilot can continue the approach beyond a prescribed point such as the FAF, OM, 1000 ft above aerodrome elevation or other points accepted by the authority and if the reported weather conditions have worsened to below the published or the pilot's landing minimums, the pilot may continue the approach to DA or MDA. An approach to land may be continued if the pilot, upon reaching the DA/H or MDA/H, finds the actual weather conditions are at or above the lowest weather condition for landing.

South Africa

[Jeppesen Airway Manual / Air Traffic Control / State Rules and Procedures - South Africa, 20 Dec 2013] South African Republic State minimums and Approach Ban Information are in accordance with JAR-OPS 1 AOM (EU-OPS 1 Subpart E Appendix 1 to OPS 1.430 old) (ATC Chapter EU-OPS 1 - AERODROME OPERATION MINIMUMS (AOM)).

United Kingdom

[Jeppesen Airway Manual / Air Traffic Control / State Rules and Procedures - United Kingdom, 20 Dec 2013]

  • An aircraft may commence an instrument approach regardless of the reported RVR/Visibility but the approach shall not be continued below 1000ft above the aerodrome if the relevant RVR/Visibility for that runway is at the time less than the specified minimum for landing.
  • Note: Where the MAPt is designated as 1NM after RTR, talkdown will still cease at 2NM (RTR), and it will be the pilots responsibility to determine when the MAPt has been reached.

  • If, after passing 1000ft in accordance with above para, the reported RVR/Visibility falls below the applicable minimum, the approach may be continued to DA/H or MDA/H.
  • The approach may be continued below DA/H or MDA/H and the landing may be completed provided that the required visual reference is established at the DA/H or MDA/H and is maintained.

Book Notes

Portions of this page can be found in the book International Operations Flight Manual, Part VIII, Chapter 7.

References

14 CFR 135, Title 14: Aeronautics and Space, Operating Requirements: Commuter and On Demand Operations and Rules Governing Persons on Board Such Aircraft, Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Transportation

Commission Regulation (EU) No 965/2012 of 5 October 2012, Official Journal of the European Union

ICAO Annex 6 - Operation of Aircraft - Part 1 Commercial Aircraft, International Standards and Recommended Practices, Annex 6 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, Part I, July 2010

ICAO Annex 6 - Operation of Aircraft - Part 2 General Aviation, International Standards and Recommended Practices, Annex 6 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, Part II, July 2008

Revision: 20150730
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