Eddie sez:

Regional differences from the ICAO standard can be found in ICAO Document 7030 and your Jeppesen Airway Manual. Both of the sources, however, can be out of date. See Regional Introduction for ideas about getting up-to-date information.

As countries around the world update navigation systems and procedures, it becomes increasingly important to speak with somebody who has been to the airport recently or have a contact in country with local knowledge. As we say in the military, there is no substitute for boots on the ground.

Everything here is from the references shown below, with a few comments in an alternate color.

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Figure: NAM Region, from Eddie's notes.

This region is moving from a mix of navigation requirements to the system of Performance Based Navigation outlined in ICAO Document 9613. Current navigation requirements are available on Jeppesen Airway Manual Air Traffic Control pages and Chapter 4 of each region covered by ICAO Document 7030.

WGS-84 Compliance

Both countries are WGS-84 compliant.

More about this: World Geodetic System 84 (WGS-84).


[ICAO Doc 7030, §NAM;, ¶4.2.1] 4.2.1 A minimum vertical separation of 300 m (1,000 ft) shall be applied between FL 290 and FL 410 inclusive in the following flight information regions/control areas (FIRs/CTAs): Albuquerque, Anchorage Arctic, Anchorage Continental, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Edmonton, Fort Worth, Gander, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Memphis, Miami, Minneapolis, Moncton, Montreal, New York, Oakland, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington and Winnipeg.

RVSM applies to nearly all of North America.

More about this: Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM).

Altimeter Procedures

Abnormally High Pressure Altimeter Settings (Canada)

[Jeppesen Airway Manual, Air Traffic Control, State Rules and Procedures, North America, Canada, 8 Jul 2011]

  • Cold dry air masses can produce barometric pressures in excess of 31.00 inches of mercury. Because barometric readings of 31.00 inches of mercury or higher rarely occur, most standard altimeters do not permit setting of barometric pressures above that level and are not calibrated to indicate accurate aircraft altitude above 31.00 inches of mercury. As a result, most altimeters cannot be set to provide accurate altitude readouts to the pilot in these situations.
  • ATC will issue actual altimeter settings and will confirm with the pilot that 31.00 inches of mercury is set on the pilot's altimeters for en route operations below 18,000 feet ASL in the affected areas.
  • Airports that are unable to accurately measure barometric pressure above 31.00 inches of mercury will report the barometric pressure as "in excess of 31.00 inches of mercury". Flight operations to and from those airports are restricted to VFR weather conditions.

Cold Temperature Corrections

[Jeppesen Airway Manual, Air Traffic Control, State Rules and Procedures, North America, Canada, 8 Jul 2011]

  • Pressure altimeters are calibrated to indicate true altitude under ISA conditions. Any deviation from ISA will result in an erroneous reading on the altimeter. In the case when the temperature is higher than ISA, the true altitude will be higher than the figure indicated by the altimeter and the true altitude will be lower when the temperature is lower than ISA. The altimeter error may be significant and becomes extremely important when considering obstacle clearances in very cold temperatures.
  • In conditions of extreme cold weather pilots should add the values derived from the altitude correction chart to the published procedure altitudes, including minimum sector altitudes and DME arcs, to ensure adequate obstacle clearance. Unless otherwise specified, the destination airport elevation is used as the elevation of the altimeter source.
  • With respect to altitude corrections the following procedures apply:
    1. IFR assigned altitudes may be either accepted or refused. Refusal in this case is based upon the pilot's assessment of temperature effect on obstruction clearance.
    2. IFR assigned altitudes accepted by a pilot shall not be adjusted to compensate for cold temperatures i.e. if a pilot accepts "maintain 3000" an altitude correction shall not be applied to 3000'.
    3. Radar vectoring altitudes assigned by ATC are temperature compensated and require no corrective action by pilots.
    4. When altitude corrections are applied to published final approach fix crossing altitude, procedure turn or missed approach altitude, pilots should advise ATC how much of a correction is to be applied.

More about this: Altimeter Temperature Corrections.


All of North America uses QNH.

Transition Layer

[Jeppesen Airway Manual, Air Traffic Control, State Rules and Procedures, North America, Canada, 8 Jul 2011] When the altimeter setting is less than 29.92" Hg, there will be less than 1000 ft vertical separation between an aircraft flying at 17,000 ft ASL with that altimeter setting and an aircraft flying at FL180 (with altimeter set at 29.92" Hg); therefore, the lowest usable flight level will be assigned or approved in accordance with the following table:

Altimeter Setting Lowest Usable Flight Level
29.92" or higher FL180
29.91" to 28.92" FL190
28.91" to 27.92" FL200

All of North America uses a standard 18,000' More about this: Transition Altitude / Layer / Level.

Special Routings

Canadian airspace includes several fixed and random track systems used to facilitate traffic flow between Asia, Alaska, Europe, and the United States. Procedures for each are described in the Jeppesen State En Route Pages:

  • North American Route Program (NRP)
  • Northern Control Area (NCA) Random Routes
  • North Control Area (NCA) Track System
  • Arctic Control Area (ACA) Random Routes
  • Arctic Control Area (ACA) Track System
  • Northern Organized Track System (NOR OTS)
  • Southern Control Area (SCA) Track System

ICAO Differences

Each country departs in some ways with the ICAO standard and common US practices. Pilots should always refer to the Jeppesen Airway Manual, Air Traffic Control, State Rules and Procedures pages for each country on their itineraries for differences with ICAO Standards, Recommended Practices and Procedures. More about this: US versus ICAO.

The following are a sampling of some of the differences, there are many more. You should check the Jeppesen Airway Manual State pages for every country you takeoff, overfly, or land.

Approach Ban

[Jeppesen Airway Manual, Air Traffic Control, State Rules and Procedures, North America, Canada, 8 Jul 2011] General Aviation–Non-Precision Approach (NPA), Approach Procedure with Vertical Guidance (APV), CAT I or CAT II Precision Approach. With certain exceptions, pilots of aircraft are prohibited from completing an instrument approach past the FAF (or where there is no FAF, the point where the final approach course is intercepted) to a runway served by an RVR if the RVR values measured for that runway are below the following minima:

Measured RVR Aircraft
RVR "A" Only 1200
RVR "A" and "B" 1200/600
RVR "B" Only 1200
RVR "A" located adjacent to the runway threshold.
RVR "B" located adjacent to the runway mid-point.

An approach is authorized whenever:

  1. the lowest reported RVR for the runway is at or above minima (CAR 602.129), regardless of reported ground visibility;
  2. the RVR is reported to be varying between distances less than and greater than the minimum RVR;
  3. the RVR is below the minimum, and the ground visibility is reported to be at least one-quarter statute mile;
  4. the RVR for the runway is unavailable or not reported; or
  5. ATS is informed that an aircraft is on a training flight and will conduct a planned missed approach.

No pilot shall commence an NPA, an APV, or a CAT I or CAT II precision approach to an airport where low-visibility procedures are in effect. Low-visibility procedures are associated with CAT III operations. They are specified for an airport (for example, CYVR or CYYZ) and restrict aircraft and vehicle operations on the movement area of the airport when the RVR is less than 1,200 ft.

Canada imposes an approach ban on general aviation. The United States imposes a type of approach ban on 14 CFR 135 aircraft.

More about: Approach Ban.

Lost Communications

Lost communications procedures in the United States are significantly different that the ICAO standard.

More about this: Lost Communications.

Noise Abatement (Canada)

[Jeppesen Airway Manual, Air Traffic Control, State Rules and Procedures, North America, Canada, 8 Jul 2011] Noise Abatement Departure Procedures (NADP). NADP are designed to minimize the environmental impact of departing aircraft without compromising safety. Typically, operators require two procedures: one to minimize close-in noise (NADP1), the other to minimize noise over a more distant noise-sensitive area (NADP2).

These noise abatement procedures are identical to the JAA/EASA Noise Abatement procedures published here: G450 Noise Abatement / JAA.

Takeoff Minimums (Canada)

[Canadian Aviation Regulations, §602.126] 602.126]

  1. No pilot-in-command of an aircraft shall conduct a take-off if the take-off visibility, as determined in accordance with subsection (2), is below the minimum take-off visibility specified in
    1. the air operator certificate where the aircraft is operated in accordance with Part VII;
    2. the private operator certificate where the aircraft is operated in accordance with Subpart 4; or
    3. the Canada Air Pilot in any case other than a case described in paragraph (a) or (b).
  2. For the purposes of subsection (1), the take-off visibility is
    1. the RVR of the runway, if the RVR is reported to be at or above the minimum take-off visibility specified in a document or the manual referred to in subsection (1);
    2. the ground visibility of the aerodrome for the runway, if the RVR
      1. is reported to be less than the minimum take-off visibility specified in a document or the manual referred to in subsection (1),
      2. is reported to vary between distances less than and greater than the minimum take-off visibility specified in the Canada Air Pilot or a certificate referred to in subsection (1), or
      3. is not reported; or
    3. the runway visibility as observed by the pilot-in-command, if
      1. the RVR is not reported, and
      2. the ground visibility of the aerodrome is not reported.

Canadian takeoff minimums apply to all pilots and for pilots not operating under a commercial operations specification, the minimums can be considerably higher. Minimums are normally published on the Jeppesen Airways Manual airport page.

See Also:

Canadian Aviation Regulations, Transport Canada.

ICAO Doc 7030 - Regional Supplementary Procedures, International Civil Aviation Organization, 2 2008

ICAO Doc 9613 - Performance Based Navigation (PBN) Manual, International Civil Aviation Organization, 2008

Jeppesen Airway Manual