We introduce Flowchart B, which should be followed by runway inspectors during summertime.
Step 1: RCAM applicability
If there was no water, snow, slush, ice or frost associated with winter conditions on any runway third, the inspector should monitor any runway third to assess if there is water present on any runway third. If there is, the inspector should follow flowchart B (summer conditions). If there is not, then there is basically no need for a runway report.
Flowchart B (adapted from ICAO, 2019, Circular 355, Assessment, Measurement and Reporting of Runway Surface Conditions)
Step 2: Apply coverage criteria
In the summer season, the flowchart begins by assessing the water coverage for each runway third. The runway inspector should assess if more than 25% of any runway third is wet.
- If the answer is no, there is basically no need for a runway report because if the wet area is less than or equal to 25%, it is considered as a dry runway regarding the aircraft performance. However, even in this case, it is never wrong to issue a runway report.
Step 3: Apply assessment criteria
- If the answer to coverage criteria is yes, the inspector should assess the water depth for each runway third to check if the water depth is more than 3mm.
- If the answer is no, then the inspector should assess if the specific runway third is slippery wet. Slippery wet condition is normally a result of rubber accumulation on the runway which decreases drainage capability and friction of the runway surface and the runway becomes more slippery than normal in the wet condition. The slippery wet limits can be determined by using a runway friction tester with a self-wetting system.
- If the answer for the slippery wet condition is no, a runway report wet and runway condition code (RWYCC) five should be issued for the air traffic control (ATC), but SNOWTAM publishing is not necessary. Wet and dry conditions are in principle in the responsibility of ATC.
- If the answer to the slippery wet question is yes, a runway report with the slippery wet condition and RWYCC three should be issued for that specific runway third.
- If the answer to water depth over 3mm is yes, then the runway condition is not wet anymore, but it would be standing water. If it has been observed that there is water over 3mm depth with coverage over 25% on a specific runway third, then the inspector should assess if there is a need to downgrade the runway condition code.
- If the answer to the downgrade question is no, the runway inspector should report standing water and RWYCC two for that specific runway third.
Step 4: Apply downgrade/upgrade criteria
- If the answer to the downgrade question is yes, the inspector should determine the downgrade need by using all available information. It means all indications should support the downgrade decision and the RCAM table should be used in the downgrade assessment. In this case, the inspector should report standing water and the downgraded RWYCC for that specific runway third.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) flowchart should always be used together with the runway condition assessment matrix (RCAM) table. However, it is important to know that the ICAO flowchart does not include all practicalities regarding runway assessment. Here are some important issues that need to be considered by the runway inspectors:
- The flowchart does not consider and does not give any guidance regarding the aircraft thin and thick contaminants, for example, if the contaminants creating drag or if they are only slippery. Thus, it is the inspector’s responsibility to evaluate and select the correct contaminant with respect to the aircraft performance effect. This is especially important when multiple contaminants have been observed on a specific runway third.
- The flowchart and the RCAM table underlines landing performance which means to find out the contaminant representing minimum RWYCC.
- The flowchart does not consider wet downgrade possibility.
- The flowchart is not addressing SNOWTAM syntax and how the SNOWTAM message should be created. SNOWTAM syntax is the message that is published in the Aeronautical Fixed Telecommunications Network (AFTN).
Global Runway Reporter (GRR) software mobile module
Assessment of runway conditions can efficiently be handled by using the Global Runway Reporter Mobile (GRRM) application. GRRM software is the actual runway inspector’s tool to make runway conditions report. The software calculates automatically RCAM contaminants and helps the inspector to select the correct RCAM code. The runway inspector reports contaminants directly from the inspection vehicle and generates consistent SNOWTAM syntax.