What You Can Get Out Of Winter Operations Training
- Advanced Aircrew Academy
What is winter operations training?
The dangers inherent to operating aircraft in winter conditions are numerous. Operating on wet and/or contaminated runway surfaces, complying with the clean aircraft concept and compensating for the effects of cold temperature altimetry errors are subjects that flight crew should train on an annual basis. In fact, the focus on runway surface contamination training comes after several tragic incidents raised the need for establishing better protocols and training for winter operations. The need to review the latest industry guidance regarding winter operations is part of a comprehensive training plan that every flight operation should invest in.
Advanced Aircrew Academy incorporates the latest industry guidance and real-world training examples into their eLearning module on winter operations. This training helps prepare the flight crew to best handle the dynamic hazards of operating in cold and snowy winter conditions when critical surface contamination can be extreme.
Why is the FAA emphasizing runway surface contamination awareness?
Until recently, the data presented to flight crew to assess the conditions of wet and/or contaminated runways was non-standard and created gaps in how they evaluated the conditions for takeoff or landing. These cold weather runway conditions were reported using a range of equipment that varied between airports and presented data that was sometimes difficult to correlate with aircraft performance charts.
On December 8, 2005, this confusion resulted in an accident that spurred the FAA into action. On that day, Southwest Airlines Flight 1248 attempted to land on a runway contaminated with snow. After making their landing computations, the pilots found that they only had feet to spare for a landing but attempted it anyway. Sadly, their calculations made faulty assumptions and the plane slid off the runway and slammed into automobile traffic, killing a young child. The incident prompted a review and revision of cold weather operation standards.
Shortly thereafter, the FAA assembled a team of industry experts to improve the way runway surface conditions are measured and reported. This aviation rulemaking committee created the Takeoff and Landing Performance Assessment, or TALPA. TALPA is structured around the Runway Condition Assessment Matrix (RCAM) which is composed of Runway Condition Code (RwyCC) and updated Braking Action reports. These updated data points are disseminated to flight crew through the Field Conditions (FICON) Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs). It is critical that flight crew know how to apply these updated industry reporting standards to evaluate their aircraft performance during the dynamically changing winter weather.
Why is winter operation training essential to safe operation?
The hazards of operating aircraft in winter conditions are numerous. Taking off from or landing on a wet or contaminated runway are among the riskiest situations a flight crew can face. Even a slight reduction in braking friction can have a dramatic increase in required runway length. Additionally, when preparing to takeoff, especially during active ground icing conditions, it is critical that flight crew understand how to comply with the clean aircraft concept. Specifically, this is what Advanced Aircrew Academy offers through its winter operations/surface contamination training module:
- Cold temperature altimetry errors – This eLearning module addresses how cold temperatures affect altimeter accuracy and what pilots must do to correct those errors so that proper obstacle clearance is maintained when maneuvering close to the ground.
- Surface contamination – TALPA and RCAM have given flight crews additional tools in quantifying aircraft performance during taking off or landing. With RCAM, correlating runway conditions with predicable aircraft performance is designed to be as unambiguous as possible.
Runway Condition Codes range in values from six through zero. Airport operations will evaluate each third of the runway length and assign a RwyCC appropriate to the observed conditions. These RwyCC values are disseminated to flight crew through air traffic control frequency or FICON NOTAMs. Additionally, flight crew operating on runway surfaces may report the braking action they experience. The reported braking action is evaluated using RCAM procedures and shared through the network. It’s important for pilots to undergo annual surface contamination training to understand how to properly apply these RCAM data points.
Ground icing conditions – Compliance with the clean aircraft concept means that the Pilot in Command will ensure that the aircraft's critical surfaces are free of contaminates prior to takeoff. It is critical that the Pilot in Command and their flight crew understand the steps to identify and remove any snow and/or ice that may be attached to the airframe.
This evaluation and removal process may be accomplished in many different ways. Advanced Aircrew Academy's training highlights the process from pre-flight to pre-takeoff contamination check. The customer will train how to direct the airport vendors in the application of de-icing and anti-icing fluids on their aircraft and the correct application of hold over times. Advanced Aircrew Academy’s ground icing conditions section is updated with the most current industry guidance providing the customer with real world examples to learn from.
Why choose Advanced Aircrew Academy for your online cold weather operations training?
Runway surface contamination, ground icing conditions and cold temperature altimetry errors contamination training are essential, but why choose Advanced Aircrew Academy for your instruction?
- Up to date training – As already mentioned, the FAA and industry best practices are constantly updating their guidelines as improved data or techniques are discovered. Advanced Aircrew Academy is diligent in keeping our training materials updated with any changes to these subjects.
- Real world training scenarios – Advanced Aircrew Academy training is designed by experts who have comprehensive, real world experience in cold weather operations. This practical insight allows Advanced Aircrew Academy to produce training built on actual operating scenarios. This isn’t just esoteric theory, but easily applied material that will ensure better recall when in the field.
- Rigid adherence to industry best practices - Advanced Aircrew Academy training doesn’t make compromises. It incorporates industry best practices and the latest guidelines established by governing agencies. This includes FAA advisory circulars and the newest, most reliable data.
The effects of winter weather pose a wide range of threats to aircraft operations. Advanced Aircrew Academy’s winter operations/surface contamination training will provide your flight crew with the most current and practical eLearning training available.