AOPA has released a new online resource to help pilots who fly approaches to cold temperature restricted airports understand the mandatory altitude-correction procedure to use in extremely cold weather, and the flight hazards it was designed to avoid.
In very cold weather, you may be flying lower than your altimeter indicates. At airports where an FAA study found more than a 1 percent probability that the cold could create a terrain-clearance hazard on an instrument approach segment, pilots must add a correction factor to the altitude flown. The procedure became mandatory in September 2015 for several hundred instrument approach procedures identified with a snowflake symbol.
AOPA has posted a new cold temperature restricted airports page on AOPA Online that explains the procedure, suggests best practices for flying the affected approaches, and addresses frequently asked questions, including those related to the list of cold temperature restricted airports.
The new page also contains a PowerPoint presentation on the safety implications of cold-weather altimeter error. It discusses how the list of affected airports is adjusted, and teaches how and when to apply a correction to your indicated altitude.
AOPA is also working with the FAA and other stakeholders to make the altitude correction method simpler for pilots to use.
“AOPA will continue to advocate for the procedure to be improved so as to be more user friendly,” said Rune Duke, AOPA director of airspace and air traffic. “The new resource page was drafted with input from Alaskan pilots who frequently must make temperature corrections, and with the assistance of FAA experts.”
AOPA will stay involved in the process by participating in the aeronautical charting forum, he said.
“This is a procedure that must be understood for safety reasons if one is flying in very cold areas,” Duke said.
He urged pilots to visit the new AOPA Online page and provide feedback for possible future updates.