Operations resources


Controlled airspace


Selection of take-off direction AIP ENR 1.1

The pilot in command must ensure that the runway is suitable for the operation. If not suitable for an operational reason, ATC must be advised before taxiing or when requesting an airways clearance by using the phrase ‘Require runway (number)’.

Such a request will not result in a loss of priority, provided it is made on first contact with clearance delivery or before taxiing. The decision to take off rests solely with the pilot in command.

For ab initio flying training it is recommended that the TODA / LDA is at least 120% of the distances required by the aircraft flight manual or performance chart, or certificate of airworthiness and the take off or approach slope is 3.3% or less from the runway end to a distance of 1600 m.

Selection of circuit direction

Circuit directions and turns will be specified or authorised by ATC. A pilot in command must notify ATC if a particular turn or circuit is essential to the safe operation of the aircraft by use of the word ‘Require’.

Departure instructions

Departure instructions may contain the following as required:

  • aircraft identification
  • direction of turn and heading instructions*
  • altitude restrictions
  • tracking points and
  • any other instructions.

*A pilot assigned a heading (including runway heading) must not compensate for wind effect.

When a heading is assigned as a departure instruction, the pilot in command must ensure that the heading and the direction of the turn are read back.

Change to tower frequency

Domestic aircraft should change to tower frequency:

  • close to, or at, the holding point of the nominated runway, when ready for take-off or
  • in the holding bay if directed.

At Class D aerodromes at which parallel runway operations are in progress, pilots must identify the departure runway when reporting ready, for example: ‘(Callsign) ready, runway right’.

For operations wholly within a Class D CTR the pilot must report ready with intentions, for example: circuits, training area north, etc. Additionally, for aircraft not in receipt of airways clearance that will depart the Class D CTR, advise tracking details, for example: ‘Departing via (location) for (location), departure procedure, etc.’

Runway entry

A pilot in command must not enter an active runway unless a specific clearance to:

  • take-off
  • line up, or
  • backtrack, or
  • cross

has been received, or a clearance to enter for other purposes has been received from ATC and the stop bar lights, where fitted, have been switched off.

An ATC clearance to line up does not authorise the pilot in command to backtrack on the runway. When a backtrack on the runway nominated for take-off is required, the pilot must indicate this intention to ATC and obtain a clearance to backtrack prior to entering the runway. When a backtrack on the runway will involve crossing an intersecting runway, the backtrack instruction must include either a ‘Cross runway (number)’ instruction or an instruction to ‘Hold short’ of that runway.

Aircraft required to hold short of a runway must hold at the appropriate holding point, or the runway strip edge at the intersection of a crossing runway.

An aircraft which has been issued with an instruction to ‘Hold short’ of an intersecting runway must subsequently be issued with an instruction to ‘Cross runway (number)’

Holding on the runway

The pilot in command must not hold on the runway in use unless permission to do so has been obtained from ATC.

Clearance required

A pilot in command must not take off unless the specific clearance ‘Cleared for take-off’ has been received.

A clearance for immediate take-off may be issued to an aircraft before it enters the runway. On acceptance of such clearance the aircraft shall taxi out to the runway and take off in one continuous movement.

Separation minima for take-off

An aircraft will not be permitted to commence take-off until:

  • a preceding departing aircraft using the same runway has:
    • crossed the upwind end of the runway
    • commenced a turn
    • if the runway is longer than 1800 m, become airborne and is at least 1800 m ahead of the following aircraft
    • if the preceding aircraft has an MTOW of 7000 kg or less and the following aircraft has an MTOW below 2000 kg and is slower, the preceding aircraft is airborne and is at least 600 m ahead of the following aircraft
    • if both aircraft have an MTOW below 2000 kg, the preceding aircraft is airborne and is at least 600 m ahead of the proposed point of lift off
  • a preceding landing aircraft using the same runway has vacated it and is taxiing away from the runway 
  • a preceding aircraft, using another runway, has crossed or stopped short of the take-off aircraft’s runway.

Other than as specified for LAHSO operations, exceptions to this application of separation standards are:

  • aircraft taking off in formation with respect to each other
  • aircraft operating in different areas or lanes on aerodromes with runways or facilities suitable for simultaneous take-offs (CAR168) 
  • the avoidance of wake turbulence.

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