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KevinAu

RVR Departure Minimums

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Those of you who fly for airlines, or are familiar with airline procedures, a question:What are typical RVR departure minimums? I would think it would be at least 2400ft since you otherwise would not be able to shoot the approach back into the departure airport with an immediate emergency. But someone told me that some airlines have departure RVR minimums as low as 1200ft.Any thoughts?Damon

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Departure minimums are based on visibilitly, and approach minimums are based on RVR. At least in Canada. Any standard IFR departure minimum is 1/2sm vis. and a cat I ILS approach is 1200 RVR(1/4sm vis).

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"Standard" departure minimums in the US are 1sm for one or two engined aircraft, and 1/2sm for three or four engined aircraft.However, most airlines are allowed reductions of that "standard" if the runway meets certain requirements for markings, lighting and RVR equipment. You can find these on the back of the Jepp airport diagrams where you will notice several options for the takeoff minimums for the runways.At the large airports, most runways have a takeoff minimum of "6-6-6", which means TDZ RVR 600', Mid RVR 600', and Rollout RVR 600'. That means the airline can depart that runway as long as the RVRs of that runway show at least 600' of visibility. A runway needs to have Runway Centerline Lights, Runway Centerline Markings and at least two working RVRs for a pilot to make that 666 takeoff.Another common one is the 1/4sm/RVR1600 or Adequate Visual Reference takeoff. This allows takeoff on that runway at a reported visibility of 1/4sm or if RVR is available, 1600RVR on that runway, requiring centerline lights, centerline markings and high intensity runway lights. However, if none of any of those markings or lights are available, the pilot can declare "Adequate Visual Ref" and make the takeoff anyways using whatever other means to keep the plane on the runway.The lowest takeoff minimum that I believe is available is 5-5-5 on a few runways.Of course, since there is no way to come back and land at that airport should a problem arise, takeoffs at any airport that is below landing minimums require dispatch to declare a "Takeoff Alternate" for the flight, which is an airport meeting alternate minimums within one hour of flight time with one engine inoperative.And as always, none of this applies to a general aviation pilot under Part 91 who is not subject to any takeoff minimums. He can legally takeoff even if he cannot see the thumb in front of his face.

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