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Precision Runway Monitoring (PRM) OperationsPrecision Runway Monitoring (PRM) Operations

Precision Runway Monitoring (PRM) Operations

Not all pilots can accept a PRM approach. Can you?

What is a PRM approach?

Precision Runway Monitoring (PRM) approaches are simultaneous ILS approaches to closely spaced parallel runways that are less than 4,300 feet apart.

ILS PRM approaches have their own approach charts with a special page of instructions called "Attention All Users of ILS Precision Runway Monitor (PRM)" that must be read by the pilot before the approach is flown.

PRM approaches involve two air traffic controllers: a Tower Controller and a Monitor Controller.

Specific Air Traffic procedures have been established at airports conducting ILS PRM approaches. All pilots must meet FAA pilot requirements to accept an ILS PRM or LDA PRM approach clearance.

How do PRM ILS approaches work?

PRM ILS approaches require an ILS navigation receiver and two communication receivers — one for the Tower Controller and one for the Monitor Controller (or one communication receiver with the ability to monitor two frequencies simultaneously). Pilots both transmit and receive on the Tower frequency, but the Monitor frequency is for receiving only. Pilots should never transmit on the Monitor frequency.

Once a pilot accepts a PRM ILS approach, the pilot must fly the ILS approach and monitor the two frequencies (Tower and Monitor).

If the "no transgression zone" (space between the runways) is violated, the Monitor Controller will issue "breakout" instructions that must be complied with immediately. All breakout maneuvers must be hand flown (no autopilot).

Most breakout maneuvers will consist of a turn and a climb. However, if climbing is not an option, as in the case of conflicting traffic above, descending breakout instructions may be given. If instructed to descend, the descent altitude will always include a 1,000-foot obstacle clearance.

What FAA requirements must be met before Part 91 general aviation pilots can accept an ILS PRM approach?

General aviation pilots operating under Part 91 must review and be able to comply with the PRM information found in the U.S Terminal Procedures publications — both the approach procedure for the runway and the page entitled "Attention All Users of ILS Precision Runway Monitor (PRM)." In addition, pilots must review the PRM information found in the Aeronautical Information Manual Section 5-4-16 or on the FAA's Web site.

What will happen if pilots do not meet FAA requirements?

The hours when each airport's ILS PRM approaches will be active will be published in the U.S. Terminal Procedures publication on the page entitled "Attention All Users of ILS Precision Runway Monitor (PRM)" or by NOTAM. When an airport is conducting ILS PRM operations, priority handling will be given to those pilots able to participate.

If pilots have not met the FAA's requirements for ILS PRM approaches, they cannot accept a PRM approach clearance and must notify ATC by calling the FAA ATCSCC directly at 1-800-333-4286 prior to departure to obtain a pre-coordinated arrival time.

If pilots not able to participate in ILS PRM operations arrive at an airport that is currently conducting those operations, they will likely be diverted to an alternate airport.

Which airports are using PRM Operations?

All airports except John F. Kennedy International (JFK) now have PRM capability.

For more information on PRM operations, see FAA's Web site


Updated November 18, 2011