FAA Issues Final AC Regarding Airport Field Condition Assessments and Winter Operations Safety

This afternoon, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued Advisory Circular (AC) 150/5200-30D, Airport Field Condition Assessments and Winter Operations Safety, which provides guidance in developing a snow and ice control plan, assessing and reporting field conditions through the utilization of the Runway Condition Assessment Matrix (RCAM), and establishing snow removal and control procedures. Effective October 1, 2016, the Federal NOTAM System will incorporate the new reporting criteria and methodology contained in the AC.

Additionally, the AC notes that all Part 139 certificated airports must submit revised Snow and Ice Control Plans (SICP) to the FAA no later than September 1, 2016 for approval. Based on conversation ACI-NA staff had with FAA Office of Airports today, the FAA is also planning to release (next week) a template which airports can use to modify sections of their SICP to reflect the new RCAM methodology. ACI-NA will send out the template to members once immediately available.

ACI-NA continues to have significant concerns related to the AC and is planning to raise these concerns at the upcoming Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST) meeting scheduled for next Wednesday (August 4, 2016) in Washington, DC. Specific actions we are planning to raise will include requesting FAA to make NOTAM Manager available immediately in a ‘sandbox mode’ for airport operator familiarization and training; provide a detailed plan for airport operator outreach regarding NOTAM manager and its use in conjunction with new field condition reporting requirements, including dates for coordination activities and teleconferences; establish regular coordination calls with the airport operator community to assess its readiness to implement the changes in field condition reporting safely in the coming eight weeks; and delay implementation of the changes in the event their safe implementation cannot be assured.   

In the meantime, for those airports interested, RCAM training courses are now available through both the ACI Online Learning Center and Zodiac Arresting Systems.