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2 Answers

Preceding single digit runway number with “zero”

Asked by: 433 views FAA Regulations, Flight Instructor, Student Pilot

This question is for US runways where there is no "zero" painted on the runway. ICAO 14/5.2.2.4 states to use/say "zero", however I do not see where this is in the AIM or the P/CG, though I will readily admit that I may have missed it or have not yet found a governing document. I would like to know the correct regulatory way to teach this to my students, and not personal CFI preference. Is there any documentation some where that I can hang my proverbial hat on relative to proper radio procedures? Thank you.

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2 Answers



  1. John D Collins on Feb 09, 2018

    I take the position, when they paint the leading zero on the runway, I will call the runway zero two. However, since the runway only has the 2 painted on it, I use runway two as the proper runway designation. Here are several FAA references supporting my usage.

    The AIM points in that direction in 4-3-6 (a.).

    4−3−6. Use of Runways/Declared Distances
    a. Runways are identified by numbers which
    indicate the nearest 10-degree increment of the
    azimuth of the runway centerline. For example,
    where the magnetic azimuth is 183 degrees, the
    runway designation would be 18; for a magnetic
    azimuth of 87 degrees, the runway designation would
    be 9. For a magnetic azimuth ending in the number 5,
    such as 185, the runway designation could be either
    18 or 19.

    In the/Pilot Controller Glossary, the term runway is defined:

    RUNWAY− A defined rectangular area on a land
    airport prepared for the landing and takeoff run of
    aircraft along its length. Runways are normally
    numbered in relation to their magnetic direction
    rounded off to the nearest 10 degrees; e.g., Runway
    1, Runway 25.

    In FAA order 7110.65, guidance on phraseology is provided to controllers

    2−4−17. NUMBERS USAGE

    j. Runways. The word “runway,” followed by the
    separate digits of the runway designation. For a
    parallel runway, state the word “left,” “right,” or
    “center” if the letter “L,” “R,” or “C” is included in the
    designation.
    EXAMPLE−
    Designation, Statement
    3, “Runway Three.”
    8L, “Runway Eight Left.”
    27R, “Runway Two Seven Right.”

    In the US AIP ENR 1.1 General Rules, section 8, there is a similar statement as found in the AIM:

    8. Use of Runways/Declared Distances
    8.1 Runways are identified by numbers which
    indicate the nearest 10−degree increment of the
    azimuth of the runway centerline. For example,
    where the magnetic azimuth is 183 degrees, the
    runway designation would be 18; for a magnetic
    azimuth of 87 degrees, the runway designation would
    be 9. For a magnetic azimuth ending in the number 5,
    such as 185, the runway designation could be either
    18 or 19.

    So as a confirmed pedant, I teach to use the runway number without the leading zero.

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  2. Mark Kolber on Feb 09, 2018

    John’s bottom line is the same as mine. If a zero is painted on the runway, I use it. If it’s not, I don’t. And if I get it “wrong,” who cares?

    The difference between the AIM and ICAO mirrors a difference in practical use. A zero on a runway is common in Europe. It is less common in the US.

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