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Runway Condition Codes

Airport/Runway Data

For those of us who grew up on RCRs (Runway Condition Codes) and Mus, the Runway Condition Assesssment Matrix (RCAM) may seem to be more of the same. But it isn't. For a history, see the excellent A article by Pete Coombs.


 

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Figure: Runway Condition Codes, from RCAM.

[SAFO 16009]

  • The FAA is implementing the use of the Runway Condition Assessment Matrix (RCAM) which will be used by airport operators to perform assessments of runway conditions and by pilots to interpret reported runway conditions. The RCAM is presented in a standardized format, based on airplane performance data supplied by airplane manufacturers, for each of the stated contaminant types and depths. The RCAM replaces subjective judgments of runway surface conditions with objective assessments tied directly to contaminant type and depth categories.
  • The airport operator will use the RCAM to assess paved runway surfaces, report contaminants present, and through the assistance of the Federal NOTAM System, determine the numerical Runway Condition Codes (RwyCC) based on the RCAM. The RwyCCs apply to paved runways and may be the same or vary for each third of the runway depending on the type(s) of contaminants present. RwyCCs will replace Mu reports which will no longer be published in the NOTAM system. Additionally, contaminant coverage will be expressed in percentage terms for each third of the runway, beginning at the Runway end from which it was assessed. This is typically the runway end primarily in use.
  • Pilot braking action reports will continue to be solicited and will be used in assessing braking performance. Effective October 1, 2016, the terminology ”Fair” will be replaced by “Medium” and pilot braking action reports will now describe conditions as Good, Good to Medium, Medium, Medium to Poor, or NIL. This will harmonize the NAS with ICAO standards.
  • Additionally, it will no longer be acceptable for a federally obligated airport to report a NIL braking action condition. NIL conditions on any surface require the closure of that surface. These surfaces will not be opened until the airport operator is satisfied that the NIL braking condition no longer exists.

References

Coombs, Pete, Aviation industry making progress on takeoff and landing performance anaylys, Aviation International News, March 2018

FAA, Runway Condition Assessment Matrix, Undated

Safety Alert for Operations (SAFO) 16009, Runway Assessment and Condition Reporting, Effective October 1, 2016

Revision: 20180320
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