Crowdsourcing the answer to a Puzzler

Crowdsourcing the answer to a Puzzler

  • September
  • 29
  • 2014
  • John Frazier

This particular conundrum has compliance consequences for you Part 135 and 121 operators out there, but the lines are open and opinions welcome from anyone who wants to chime in.

Here is the set up:

The Instrument Procedures Handbook (IPH), in Chapter 1, Departure Procedures, states the following:

The FAA establishes takeoff minimums for every airport that has published Standard Instrument Approaches. These minimums are used by commercially operated aircraft, namely Part 121 and Part 135 operators. At airports where minimums are not established, carriers are required to use FAA designated standard minimums. These are 1 statute mile visibility or 5000 RVR for single and twin-engine aircraft. (Underline added by me).

On the other hand, Ops Spec C057, contains the following:

When a takeoff minimum is not published, the certificate holder may use the applicable standard takeoff minimum and any lower than standard takeoff minimums authorized by these operations specifications. (Meaning Ops Spec C079, when issued. This parenthetical and the underline added by me).

So the question is, which is correct? Are lower than standard takeoff minimums authorized at airports that do not publish any takeoff minimums?

On the face of it, an Ops Spec would trump the IPH. However, to add to the fun, here is a selection from C079, the Ops Spec which authorizes lower than standard takeoff minimums:

Lower Than Standard Takeoff Minima. When takeoff minima are equal to or less than the applicable standard takeoff minima, and the operation is conducted in compliance with the provisions and limitations of this operations specification, the certificate holder is authorized to use the lower than standard minima described herein (emphasis added).

This one is not as clear as the IPH, but it could be read to mean that if you can only use lower than standard when there are takeoff minima, then when there aren't any minima published you must use standard. Some have read it that way. And, that’s what the IPH says.

What do you think? Answer the poll question to the left. You can also e-mail your thoughts to me at – I promise anonymity and will respect your privacy. No names or e-mail addresses will be published, except if you forget to staple a $20 bill to your e mail.