§121.651 – Takeoff and landing weather minimums: IFR: All certificate holders.

[Doc. No. 20060, 46 FR 2291, Jan. 8, 1981, as amended by Amdt. 121-303, 69 FR 1641, Jan. 9, 2004; Amdt. 121-333, 72 FR 31682, June 7, 2007]

(a) Notwithstanding any clearance from ATC, no pilot may begin a takeoff in an airplane under IFR when the weather conditions reported by the U.S. National Weather Service, a source approved by that Service, or a source approved by the Administrator, are less than those specified in—

(1) The certificate holder's operations specifications; or

(2) Parts 91 and 97 of this chapter, if the certificate holder's operations specifications do not specify takeoff minimums for the airport.

(b) Except as provided in paragraph (d) of this section, no pilot may continue an approach past the final approach fix, or where a final approach fix is not used, begin the final approach segment of an instrument approach procedure—

(1) At any airport, unless the U.S. National Weather Service, a source approved by that Service, or a source approved by the Administrator, issues a weather report for that airport; and

(2) At airports within the United States and its territories or at U.S. military airports, unless the latest weather report for that airport issued by the U.S. National Weather Service, a source approved by that Service, or a source approved by the Administrator, reports the visibility to be equal to or more than the visibility minimums prescribed for that procedure. For the purpose of this section, the term “U.S. military airports” means airports in foreign countries where flight operations are under the control of U.S. military authority.

(c) If a pilot has begun the final approach segment of an instrument approach procedure in accordance with paragraph (b) of this section, and after that receives a later weather report indicating below-minimum conditions, the pilot may continue the approach to DA/DH or MDA. Upon reaching DA/DH or at MDA, and at any time before the missed approach point, the pilot may continue the approach below DA/DH or MDA if either the requirements of § 91.175(l) of this chapter, or the following requirements are met:

(1) The aircraft is continuously in a position from which a descent to a landing on the intended runway can be made at a normal rate of descent using normal maneuvers, and where that descent rate will allow touchdown to occur within the touchdown zone of the runway of intended landing;

(2) The flight visibility is not less than the visibility prescribed in the standard instrument approach procedure being used;

(3) Except for Category II or Category III approaches where any necessary visual reference requirements are specified by authorization of the Administrator, at least one of the following visual references for the intended runway is distinctly visible and identifiable to the pilot:

(i) The approach light system, except that the pilot may not descend below 100 feet above the touchdown zone elevation using the approach lights as a reference unless the red terminating bars or the red side row bars are also distinctly visible and identifiable.

(ii) The threshold.

(iii) The threshold markings.

(iv) The threshold lights.

(v) The runway end identifier lights.

(vi) The visual approach slope indicator.

(vii) The touchdown zone or touchdown zone markings.

(viii) The touchdown zone lights.

(ix) The runway or runway markings.

(x) The runway lights; and

(4) When the aircraft is on a straight-in nonprecision approach procedure which incorporates a visual descent point, the aircraft has reached the visual descent point, except where the aircraft is not equipped for or capable of establishing that point, or a descent to the runway cannot be made using normal procedures or rates of descent if descent is delayed until reaching that point.

(d) A pilot may begin the final approach segment of an instrument approach procedure other than a Category II or Category III procedure at an airport when the visibility is less than the visibility minimums prescribed for that procedure if that airport is served by an operative ILS and an operative PAR, and both are used by the pilot. However, no pilot may continue an approach below the authorized DA/DH unless the requirements of § 91.175(l) of this chapter, or the following requirements are met:

(1) The aircraft is continuously in a position from which a descent to a landing on the intended runway can be made at a normal rate of descent using normal maneuvers and where such a descent rate will allow touchdown to occur within the touchdown zone of the runway of intended landing;

(2) The flight visibility is not less than the visibility prescribed in the standard instrument approach procedure being used; and

(3) Except for Category II or Category III approaches where any necessary visual reference requirements are specified by the authorization of the Administrator, at least one of the following visual references for the intended runway is distinctly visible and identifiable to the pilot:

(i) The approach light system, except that the pilot may not descend below 100 feet above the touchdown zone elevation using the approach lights as a reference unless the red terminating bars or the red side row bars are also distinctly visible and identifiable.

(ii) The threshold.

(iii) The threshold markings.

(iv) The threshold lights.

(v) The runway end identifier lights.

(vi) The visual approach slope indicator.

(vii) The touchdown zone or touchdown zone markings.

(viii) The touchdown zone lights.

(ix) The runway or runway markings.

(x) The runway lights.

(e) For the purpose of this section, the final approach segment begins at the final approach fix or facility prescribed in the instrument approach procedure. When a final approach fix is not prescribed for a procedure that includes a procedure turn, the final approach segment begins at the point where the procedure turn is completed and the aircraft is established inbound toward the airport on the final approach course within the distance prescribed in the procedure.

(f) Unless otherwise authorized in the certificate holder's operations specifications, each pilot making an IFR takeoff, approach, or landing at a foreign airport shall comply with the applicable instrument approach procedures and weather minimums prescribed by the authority having jurisdiction over the airport.