July 28, 2016

NBAA is developing resources to familiarize business aircraft pilots with new takeoff and landing performance assessment (TALPA) procedures for reporting runway contamination at U.S. airports. Effective Oct. 1, any airport receiving federal funds will be required to utilize the runway condition assessment matrix (RCAM) to categorize runway conditions.

The new reporting system assigns runway condition codes (RwyCC) of between zero and six for each third of the runway, beginning with the landing zone. Higher numbers represent more favorable conditions, based on objective measurements of the type and amount of surface contamination. Those measurements will be fed into a NOTAM system that automatically generates field condition reports and RwyCCs.

“This is a step in the right direction,” said John Kosak, program manager of weather for NBAA Air Traffic Services. “Manufacturers may take this information, correlated to the runway condition code, and infer the likely performance that runway will provide for their aircraft.”

Alex Gertsen, NBAA’s director of airports and ground infrastructure, said the RCAM moves away from current methods that often rely on subjective determinations of the runway condition. “This greatly simplifies this process,” he said. “The FAA is really setting a new standard that we expect will be adopted on the international level.”

The new procedures will be covered during two educational sessions at the 2016 NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE). A session highlighting the TALPA will take place Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 1 p.m., while the Friends & Partners in Aviation Weather session titled “Surface Condition Reporting During Winter Weather Events” is set for 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 3.

Rich Boll, chairman of the NBAA Access Committee’s ATC, Airspace and Flight Technologies Working Group, noted that the new system will not publish Mu readings of braking performance, although airports may continue collecting and reporting these factors on their own.

“The current system is imperfect, but pilots today know what Mu is, and they can relate that somewhat to runway conditions,” said Boll. “They will [also] need to understand the new RwyCC reporting standard.”

The RCAM follows years of collaboration by the TALPA aviation rulemaking committee, which was formed after a 2005 runway overrun accident in Chicago.