Keep in mind that from the graph above, this rule ismagnified the greater you are over the reporting location. You might alreadysee the the variance isn’t together troublesome in high temperature instances whereyou are actually higher than what her altimeter is showing. It is in coldweather operations the this altimeter variance i do not care an worry much morequickly, specifically when it pertains to obstacle clearance and also IFR operations.

Memory Techniques

A usual phrase come remember the connection of temperatureand altimeter readings is “high come low,look out below.” Meaning if you space going indigenous high temperature come lowtemperature, “look the end below” because you will certainly be closer to the ground than youthink based on your altimeter reading.

Another alternative is to remember the in higher temperatures, girlfriend are higher than the altimeter reads. Inlower temperatures, you are lower than the altimeter reads.

Luckily, to save some of the mental math from the equation above, the FAA published usual calculations in Table 7-2-3 the the Aeronautical details Manual (AIM). You’ll an alert they primarily emphasis on cold weather scenarios, together that’s wherein the dangers can much more typically arise.

Source: Table 7-2-3 of the AIM

From the instance above, a -40 or also +100 foot differencedoesn’t really seem to make a huge difference come your flight at patternaltitude, particularly in a VFR scenario. Yet what around when you space 5000 feetabove the airport elevation on a verycold work flying technique in IMC in the mountains where obstacle clearance hasbeen built into the strategy fixes and also descent gradients, and also altimetryvariances start to issue quite a bit. This is wherein the helpful applicationcomes into play.

Practical Application

The FAA posting a list of Cold Temperature limited Airports (CTRA) wherein there is a risk of trip safety (notably obstacle clearance) during cold weather operations. This list, and also applicable steps related come it, space updated about monthly and will be obtainable on this website (link to FAA Notices to Airmen).

In order come come up with this list, the FAA usually lookedat airports v runway lengths the 2,500 feet or greater (due to “databaseconstraints”) and looked at the coldest recorded temperature at every of thoseairports within the last 5 years. They then calculated the approximated barometricaltimetry errors the would result from those temperature (using the tableabove) to view if such error would exceed the compelled Obstacle Clearance (ROC)for approaches right into those airports. If the probability the the ROC beingexceeded went above one percent on any type of segment the the approach, the airplane wasadded come the CTRA list. (This is covered in the “Background” section of theNotices come Airmen easily accessible at the link above.)

For airports through runways much less than 2,500, the FAA basicallysays you room on your own to number out if altitude corrections have to be madein cold temperature operations.

Luckily, you don’t need to memorize the airports on this list, as the FAA also included a snowflake symbol come the technique plates of any kind of airport top top this list. Eagle County regional Airport (KEGE) is an example:


You’ll also an alert that it has a temperature alongside thesnowflake symbol. This suggests the temperature in ~ which allude the altimetercorrections need to be made. In the situation of KEGE, this procedures use whenthe reported airport temperature is at orbelow -18 degrees Celsius.

At a high level, if your destination airport contains that symbol, you would then above the latest Notices to Airmen document and watch to which portions of the strategy these altitude corrections apply. Some might use only be the final strategy fix, the hold fix, or the might use to every segments of the approach.

Using KEGE as an example, as of the February 2020 Notices come Airmen, altitude adjustments applied to just the intermediate segment that the approach.

You then should do some math using the cold temperatureerror table (above), determining her altitude correction based on theapplicable segment’s height over the airplane in feet and the reportedtemperature.

DISCLAIMER: This postis meant to be a general overview regarding how to use these procedures, not as anoverall instead of for reading the FAA’s indict on these procedures.

The latest Notices come Airmen publication will certainly require detailed instructions on just how to use the altitude corrections and also is worth analysis in its entirety (it’s only a couple of pages) come ensure you are applying it correctly. Friend can discover the recent Notices come Airmen here and then find within the file for “Cold Temperature restricted Airports.” that will incorporate the latest information regarding how to usage the document. As soon as it pertains to obstacle clearance, thoroughness in your ready for the trip is paramount.

It’s precious noting that newer avionics will sometimes have actually anoption to make these altitude corrections for you. Be certain to familiarizeyourself through the capabilities of her avionics suite as soon as it pertains to CTRA (ColdTemperature limited Airport) operations. In ~ the end of the day, YOU together pilotin command are in fee for the planning, execution, and overall security of theflight.

Reporting Requirements

The FAA guides the pilots should advise ATC they areutilizing altitude correction for any kind of approach segment other than the finalsegment. Almost speaking, they need to know what altitude you’llactually be flying at as it uses to your separation demands with othertraffic.

It is additionally worth noting the you must not readjust thealtimeter setting in bespeak to paris the corrected altitudes. Save the altimetersetting girlfriend would generally use (as guided by ATC or the location airport, asapplicable) and also then apply the altitude changes. In other words, don’t do analtimeter change to achieve the altitude correction.

Real people Examples

AOPA placed together a yes, really nice presentation on this topic the walks with a pair different instances of cold temperature limited airports. As lot as ns don’t desire you to leaving our site, ns think this is yes, really well believed out resource and I want to re-superstructure it: AOPA Cold Temperature restrictions Presentation.


While altimeters measure pressure to report altitude, and also we can use calibrations because that non-standard pressure, temperature likewise plays a sometimes significant role of the report integrity of the altimeter. In particular, cold weather operations current the most prompt hazard to altimetry reporting errors as it will certainly overstate altitude.

This have the right to pose a risk to ideal obstacle clearance and also pilots should be acquainted with the FAA’s list of Cold Temperature restricted Airports, how to identify whether their destination airport is ~ above this list, and also the actions related to implementing altitude amendments because that applicable segment of the approach.

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Charlie Gasmire

I've been flying since I to be 14 years old and have love every minute of follow aviation ever before since. Certain highlights include my seaplane rating in Talkeetna Alaska in a supervisor Cub on floats, obtaining my instrument rating, taking hill flying process in the Idaho backcountry, and also purchasing my an initial airplane (a 1975 Cessna 182P) in 2016.

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Aviation is my greatest passion and aircraft Academy is my outlet come continually research study aviation tips, tricks, and FAQs and also present them in a helpful way both top top this website and our YouTube channel. You have the right to read much more about mine story here.