The captain of an Embraer ERJ-145 has highlighted what he says was a “serious threat to flight safety” caused by the actions of air traffic controllers during an approach to Charlotte Douglas International Airport (KCLT) last January.
According to testimony recently given through NASA’s confidential aviation safety reporting system (ASRS), the flight in low-visibility conditions (reported as one quarter mile) encountered radar altimeter problems that eventually caused the crew to miss their first Category II ILS approach at CLT and head to an alternate.
The operator’s maintenance department later cleared the ERJ to return to CLT for a successful Category II approach. “While on the ILS approach to Runway 36C, and inside the outer marker, we heard the tower clear a departing aircraft into position and subsequent takeoff from Runway 36C,” said the captain. “This seems to be a clear violation of JO7110.65U (3-7-5 #2). Unfortunately, this is not the first time I have witnessed these actions from tower controllers.”
Rule 7110.65U, from the handbook of ATC operations, restricts aircraft from entering the localizer critical area on the ground to avoid possible reception interference by an inbound aircraft. The section referenced by the captain says ATC should “not authorize vehicle or aircraft operations in or over the [ILS critical] area when an arriving aircraft is inside the ILS OM…when conditions are less than reported ceiling 800 feet or visibility less than 2 miles.”