KMCC METAR and TAF
KMCC 220355Z AUTO 15015G23KT 10SM BKN017 BKN075 OVC100 17/15 A2980 RMK AO2
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NTSB Wthr Pres (CmrnAirPk-O61 Dnsty Alt A36 Tkoff Crsh at 11min)
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What is considered "calm wind" by the FAA? (--For ATC towers, <5 knots, for non-towered airports, <5 knots or <3 knots; The AWOS/ASOS at the non-towered airport (if it has an AWOS/ASOS) will often broadcast the term "winds calm" during the transmission--)
The AIM and Air Traffic Organization Policy seem to indicate "Calm" Wind is <5 knots for Runway designation and <3 knots when stated as part of a ATC weather statement(NOTE-- I have not seen in any official FAA publication indicating a 5 knot wind speed as calm wind--) , however; the AWOS/ASOS at your non-towered airport will indicate in the broadcast what is considered "Calm Wind" for the Calm wind runway(usually less than 5 knots or less than 3 knots). The AWOS may directly state--winds Calm in the broadcast. The automated AWOS "calm" wind statement seems to be triggered when winds are less than 3 knots. Call the McClellan Airfield (KMCC) AWOS-3 broadcast (125.975 MHz), (916) 641–1272 during a calm day and it will state winds as "calm" when wind speed is < 3 knots. At the end of the KMCC AWOS broadcast, this statement is made: "McCllelan Advisory 1: Preferred runway for calm winds is right traffic for one-six." So, when the KMCC AWOS states winds calm, I am landing at KMCC via right traffic for Rwy 16. For ATC towers, calm wind seems to be wind speed less than 5 knots(see Runway Selection in the current Air Traffic Organization Policy JO 7110.65).
AIM Airport Operations, Section 3, 4-3-6 (Calm Wind is wind less than 5 knots)
1. At airports where no runway use program is established, ATC clearances may specify:
(a) The runway most nearly aligned with the wind when it is 5 knots or more;
(b) The "calm wind" runway when wind is less than 5 knots; or
(b) The "calm wind" runway when wind is less than 5 knots)
HOWEVER, AIM, Chapter 7. Safety of Flight, Section 1. Meteorology, p. 7-1-67 describes calm wind as 3 knots or less (quote: "A calm wind (3 knots or less) is forecast as “00000KT.”)
ATC weather information: When does ATC state wind is Calm? (wind is describe as calm when wind speed is < 3 knots)
See Air Traffic Organization Policy JO 711.65 for calm wind designation(I know it is from 2011, however; the information is still valid and the current JO 7110.65 is packaged as a PDF exceeding 600 pages (so, to get one reference you have to download the whole PDF)
2-6-5. CALM WIND CONDITIONS
TERMINAL. Describe the wind as calm when the wind velocity is less than three knots.
FAAO JO 7110.65, Para 3-5-3, Tailwind Components.
FAAO JO 7110.65, Para 3-10-4, Intersecting Runway Separation.
ATC tower Runway Selection: How does ATC select a Runway based on Wind? (Answer: when wind is 5 knots or greater, the runway most aligned with the prominent wind direction) (JO 7110.65T)See JO 7110.65T for ATC control tower Runway Selection
Section 5. Runway Selection
a. Except where a “runway use” program is in effect, use the runway most nearly aligned with the wind when 5 knots or more or the “calm wind” runway when less than 5 knots (set tetrahedron accordingly) unless use of another runway:
1. If a pilot prefers to use a runway different from that specified, the pilot is expected to advise ATC.
2. At airports where a “runway use” program is established, ATC will assign runways deemed to have the least noise impact. If in the interest of safety a runway different from that specified is preferred, the pilot is expected to advise ATC accordingly. ATC will honor such requests and advise pilots when the requested runway is noise sensitive.
FAAO 8400.9, National Safety and Operational Criteria for Runway Use Programs.
1. Will be operationally advantageous, or
2. Is requested by the pilot.
b. When conducting aircraft operations on other than the advertised active runway, state the runway in use.
Air Traffic Organization Policy JO 7110.65T (the last ATC Org Policy available online)(2011), 7110.65 after 2011 are in PDF format)