Air Safety Link—ALPA: Refuse LAHSO/SIRO in Canada

Air Line Pilot, April 2001, p.6
By Jan W. Steenblik, Technical Editor

ALPA recently renewed its strong recommendation that pilots continue to refuse clearances to participate in LAHSO/SIRO (land and hold short/simultaneous independent runway operations) in Canada until ALPA’s minimum safety standards for those operations are met.

Canadian LAHSO/SIRO Airports

The Canadian government allows LAHSO/SIRO at the following 19 airports:

• Boundary Bay
• Calgary
• Chicoutimi/St.-Honore
• Comox
• Edmonton/City Centre
• Gander
• Goose Bay
• Greenwood
• Halifax
• Montreal/Dorval
• Montreal/St. Hubert
• Ottawa
• Quebec
• Saskatoon
• Thunder Bay
• Toronto/LBPI
• Vancouver
• Victoria

In ALPA Safety Alert Bulletin 2001-03, issued March 5, Capt. John Cox (US Airways), ALPA’s Executive Air Safety Chairman, was blunt: "The ALPA recommendation to decline LAHSO/SIRO has had a limited impact on the drafting of proposed Canadian LAHSO/SIRO regulations.…We have not achieved the necessary impact on industry and government. The latter has failed to appreciate the risks."

Capt. Cox continued, "Your safety representatives continue to believe that LAHSO/SIRO as currently practiced in Canada constitutes an unacceptable level of risk." In fact, said Capt. Cox, "the risk of collision during LAHSO/SIRO is now much greater in Canada than in the United States." Therefore, until the Canadian government adopts the safeguards proposed by ALPA that are reflected in the new FAA LAHSO regulations, the Association believes that all members should decline LAHSO/SIRO in Canada.

"Despite promising gains," Capt. Cox explained, "such as a restriction against accepting a clearance to perform LAHSO on a wet runway and a requirement for in-pavement hold-short lights, it appears that we will not achieve all of our regulatory goals in Canada for the foreseeable future."

For example, present and proposed Canadian regulations will allow LAHSO/ SIRO with

• no rejected landing procedures,

• as much as 10 knots of tailwind,

• excessive crosswinds as great as 25 knots,

• ceiling too low (1,000 feet) for pilots to ensure visual separation, and

• no certainty that all pilots participating in LAHSO/SIRO have received proper training.

"We have made you aware of the risks," Capt. Cox warned, "and we believe that in an accident, you will bear some responsibility because LAHSO/SIRO is a visual maneuver. Pilots are responsible to ‘see and avoid’ at all times, even if they are on an IFR flight plan. Under LAHSO/SIRO, a pilot must ensure that his or her aircraft maintains required separation from aircraft on intersecting runways, particularly when executing a balked landing."

In sum, said Capt. Cox, "current SIRO standards and proposed LAHSO regulations [in Canada] do not give you the margin of safety that we normally demand for flight operations."

Capt. Paul McCarthy (Delta), at the time ALPA’s Executive Air Safety Chairman, on February 17 advised other members of the Association’s pilot volunteer air safety structure, "The ALPA pilot volunteers up north attended the final meetings of the LAHSO Working Group in Ottawa on January 29. The Working Group had been tasked by the Canadian Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (CARAC) Part 8 Technical Committee to complete its work by recommending specific LAHSO standards for use in Canada. (CARAC is similar to the ARAC process we use with the FAA to give the aviation industry a chance to participate in rulemaking.)"

The Working Group, Capt. McCarthy said, "did not accept many of ALPA’s positions, and there will be considerable distance between ALPA’s minimum safety requirements and the notice of proposed amendment that will be placed before the Part 8 Technical Committee in March."

ALPA representatives, he added, "disagreed with many of the Working Group’s conclusions. At this point, ALPA plans to dissent from the provisions that do not meet minimum ALPA requirements."

This issue, he said, "is very important to our overall campaign of air safety advocacy in Canada."

For more background on ALPA’s battle to improve LAHSO/SIRO in Canada, visit the Association’s website,