Opposite Direction Operations to Parallel Runways

drewswitz

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May 20, 2015
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My facility has parallel runways with centerlines 700 ft apart. I have an LOA that states to apply a cutoff only when 2 IFR are involved. The cutoff is 5 miles when 2 prop a/c are involved and 10 miles if either the preceding or succeeding a/c is a turboprop or jet. My manager implemented a verbal rule saying to apply the cutoffs any time an IFR is involved such as an IFR vs VFR.

Today I had a small IFR inbound to one runway and a small VFR inbound opposite direction to the parallel runway. The VFR crossed the threshold and landed by the time the IFR was 3 mile final opposite direction to the parallel runway. My manager told me I busted sep because if parallel runway centerlines are separated by less than 2500 ft, you treat them as a single runway during opposite direction ops. And since they are considered a single runway, I busted the 5 mile cutoff.

I looked in the .65 and only found the rule where you treat less than 2500ft centerline runways as a single runway only when wake turb is involved. Also, in par 3-8-4 it states to not perform Simultaneous opposite direction ops to parallel runways if centerlines are less than 1400 ft apart. My facility interprets Simultaneous as crossing the threshold at the exact same time so that is not the case here.

If there is no wake turb involved do I treat parallel runways separated by less than 2500 ft, such as mine, a single runway during ODO ops? Does anyone have a reference if this is so?

Also, does anyone agree with my Manager implementing the cutoff to IFR vs VFR?

I believe if no wake turb is involved, I can treat my 700 ft sep runways as 2 sep runways. I also believe I should only need to apply the cutoff to IFR vs IFR as stated in my LOA. Am I wrong?
 

Stinger

Epic Member
May 24, 2009
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My facility has parallel runways with centerlines 700 ft apart. I have an LOA that states to apply a cutoff only when 2 IFR are involved. The cutoff is 5 miles when 2 prop a/c are involved and 10 miles if either the preceding or succeeding a/c is a turboprop or jet. My manager implemented a verbal rule saying to apply the cutoffs any time an IFR is involved such as an IFR vs VFR.

Today I had a small IFR inbound to one runway and a small VFR inbound opposite direction to the parallel runway. The VFR crossed the threshold and landed by the time the IFR was 3 mile final opposite direction to the parallel runway. My manager told me I busted sep because if parallel runway centerlines are separated by less than 2500 ft, you treat them as a single runway during opposite direction ops. And since they are considered a single runway, I busted the 5 mile cutoff.

I looked in the .65 and only found the rule where you treat less than 2500ft centerline runways as a single runway only when wake turb is involved. Also, in par 3-8-4 it states to not perform Simultaneous opposite direction ops to parallel runways if centerlines are less than 1400 ft apart. My facility interprets Simultaneous as crossing the threshold at the exact same time so that is not the case here.

If there is no wake turb involved do I treat parallel runways separated by less than 2500 ft, such as mine, a single runway during ODO ops? Does anyone have a reference if this is so?

Also, does anyone agree with my Manager implementing the cutoff to IFR vs VFR?

I believe if no wake turb is involved, I can treat my 700 ft sep runways as 2 sep runways. I also believe I should only need to apply the cutoff to IFR vs IFR as stated in my LOA. Am I wrong?
Generally, a facility can make rules as stringent as they'd like (within reason)...they just can't go less stringent than the 7110.65.
So as much as I hate your ATMs interpretation/new rule...it's within reason I think.
That being said, you didn't have a Loss of Separation deal, you had a deviation from your local policies. (although with just a verbal rule, that might not even be the case...was it a briefing? are your initials on a paper saying you received the new rule?)

Now, how it's supposed to be...ODO only involves 2 IFR aircraft (or vfr practice approach) utilizing the same piece of pavement. Additionally, at or outside of 10 miles, it's not ODO...it's just normal operations. Cutoffs only apply to ODO, and must be closer than 10 miles. All the facilities in the NAS that have implemented a 10 mile cutoff for ODO effectively said "we're just not going to do ODO, keep them more than 10 miles apart."
In the ODO rules, VFR aircraft do not count...it's just turned to avoid, or off the runway prior to the other landing. In your case, it's different pieces of pavement.
 

SOBS

Rookie
Sep 22, 2008
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Now, how it's supposed to be...ODO only involves 2 IFR aircraft (or vfr practice approach) utilizing the same piece of pavement. Additionally, at or outside of 10 miles, it's not ODO...it's just normal operations. Cutoffs only apply to ODO, and must be closer than 10 miles. All the facilities in the NAS that have implemented a 10 mile cutoff for ODO effectively said "we're just not going to do ODO, keep them more than 10 miles apart."
In the ODO rules, VFR aircraft do not count...it's just turned to avoid, or off the runway prior to the other landing. In your case, it's different pieces of pavement.
Stinger love reading your answers they are very helpful. I've been working on ODO operations at a Heliport. I read your quote about 10 miles. What regulation would I find the current ODO procedures. I'm currently running 12 miles between ODO operations between 2 Rotary Wing aircraft conducting vfr practice approaches and/or IFR aircraft. Is there anywhere that lets me reduce ODO operations based on all the aircraft being Rotary Wing and no fixed wing authorized?

Thanks on any insight anyone can send me.
 

Stinger

Epic Member
May 24, 2009
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Try this link: https://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Notice/N_JO_7210.884.pdf
Also 10 miles is not the minimum but possibly the standard. Ours is 6 miles for several airports in our airspace.
I'll look tomorrow, but I've got a picture or definition from the FAA about ODO. It shows that 10 miles is when ODO starts. It's not the minimum, but it should be impossible to have a cutoff that's more than 10 miles away.
I know of facilities that have 5 and 4 mile cutoffs.
 

Stinger

Epic Member
May 24, 2009
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Stinger love reading your answers they are very helpful. I've been working on ODO operations at a Heliport. I read your quote about 10 miles. What regulation would I find the current ODO procedures. I'm currently running 12 miles between ODO operations between 2 Rotary Wing aircraft conducting vfr practice approaches and/or IFR aircraft. Is there anywhere that lets me reduce ODO operations based on all the aircraft being Rotary Wing and no fixed wing authorized?

Thanks on any insight anyone can send me.
12 miles is ridiculous. It doesn't matter whether it's fixed or rotor wing by default, unless your facility has different requirements depending on category/class of aircraft.

ODO Picture.png
 

SOBS

Rookie
Sep 22, 2008
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Does ODO procedures only apply to CFR Part 139 airports? Since I'm not on a CFR Part 139 airport would they apply?
 

Stinger

Epic Member
May 24, 2009
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Does ODO procedures only apply to CFR Part 139 airports? Since I'm not on a CFR Part 139 airport would they apply?
All airports with FAA oversight...includes contract towers.
Military fields, worked by military approach...I'm not sure.

The classification of only applying at the 139 airports isn't true though.
 

SOBS

Rookie
Sep 22, 2008
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Thanks you. 12 miles is nearly shutting us down waiting for each helicopter to get in. I'm wondering if any of these ideas might support the reduction or elimination. Maybe...

1. VFR practice approaches are all helicopters and instructed to maintain VFR and should be under the VFR procedure rules.

2. Aircraft are all VFR Helicopters and should 7-8-1 in .65 should apply.

3. We're a military Heliport and 12 mile + 2 miles to circle is excessive separation between VFR helicopters.

Thanks for any insight.

3. Class C VFR helicopters need not be s
 

007hamster

Senior Member
Feb 25, 2009
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NATCA Meeting
We do this all the time with RWY centerlines 500 feet apart. We also have the 5NM & 10NM cutoffs for 2 IFR / Prac. Aprch... With 1 IFR and 1 VFR you only need "turn to avoid" we get into the argument of WHEN you need the turn, common consensus around the facility is aircraft A must be turned prior to aircraft B crossing the threshold. Only problem is our runway thresholds are offset like 4000 feet...

To my knowledge in no way did you bust a 7110.65 rule. Your local procedure being Verbal is the issue, unless there is a CEDAR entry or some other publication that shows it, I don't think a verbal procedure will hold any water under an audit or investigation.