Flying - - CONTENTS - By Rob Mark

Cleve­land Burke Lake­front RNAV GPS Run­way 24 Right

Cleve­land Burke Lake­front Air­port (BKL) now holds the ti­tle of “that fan­tas­tic lit­tle air­port by the lake,” a slo­gan once re­served for the nowde­funct Chicago Meigs Field (CGX). BKL gets lots of use by cor­po­rate and pri­vate air­craft by of­fer­ing easy ac­cess to down­town Cleve­land, the foot­ball sta­dium, the aquar­ium and, of course, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Sit­ting down­wind from Lake Erie, BKL is a reg­u­lar tar­get for fog and lake-ef­fect snow, weather that de­mands an in­stru­ment ap­proach. While BKL is equipped with par­al­lel run­ways, the air­port of­fers only two ap­proaches, an ILS and an RNAV GPS, both to Run­way 24. With that knowl­edge, here are a few key points to note when con­sid­er­ing the use of the RNAV GPS ap­proach to Run­way 24R.


When IFR con­di­tions ex­ist with easterly winds, a cir­cle-to-land is nec­es­sary. At night, cir­cling is made only to Run­way 6L and flown north of the air­port due to the prox­im­ity of the city and ad­ja­cent structures to the south.


Even on a straight-in like the lat­eral/ver­ti­cal nav­i­ga­tion (LNAV/ VNAV), land­ing Run­way 24R de­mands pi­lots see the run­way en­vi­ron­ment at 1,324 feet msl (741 agl). The tra­di­tional ILS ap­proach to 24R ac­tu­ally of­fers lower min­i­mums with a straight-in de­ci­sion height (DH) of 917 feet msl (313 feet agl) with a¾ -mile vis­i­bil­ity re­quire­ment. Lo­cal sources say min­i­mums have been high for years due to a power plant within a mile of the thresh­old, though the sta­tion is gone. Whether the RNAV/ GPS min­i­mums will see changes is un­known.


No­tice two sets of LPV min­i­mums listed for this ap­proach. One in­cludes min­i­mums of 1,401 feet msl (818 feet agl), while the other al­lows a de­scent to 1,249 feet msl (666 feet agl). To ac­cept the ver­sion with the lower min­i­mums, the air­craft must be ca­pa­ble of a missed-ap­proach climb gra­di­ent of 421 feet/nm up to 1,900 feet msl. Lo­cal ob­struc­tions ex­plain the spe­cial missed-ap­proach in­struc­tions.

Re­mem­ber that this re­stric­tion is mea­sured in feet per nau­ti­cal mile, not feet per minute. There’s no cock­pit in­stru­ment that reads in feet/nm, so a lit­tle quick math is re­quired. Pi­lots can use the FAA’s gra­di­ent-to-rate ta­ble (found in the ter­mi­nal pro­ce­dures), which of­fers climb-speed op­tions, ad­justed for wind. If den­sity al­ti­tude also hap­pens to be high, or the air­craft is op­er­at­ing at max­i­mum gross weight, meet­ing the tar­geted climb rate could be chal­leng­ing.


There’s also a spe­cial autho­riza­tion note for this ap­proach that re­quires a BKL altimeter set­ting. While ap­proaches in­crease the min­i­mums without a lo­cal altimeter, the pilot of an air­craft headed to BKL is not al­lowed to even be­gin the ap­proach without a lo­cal altimeter. Sim­ply tun­ing in the Cleve­land Hop­kins altimeter (12 miles south­west) won’t work. BKL of­fers an ASOS on 125.25 when the tower is closed.


No­tice too that the vis­ual glideslope and the LPV glideslope line do not agree, so a pilot will no­tice cock­pit in­di­ca­tions that dif­fer from the PAPI sys­tem out­side. PAPI lights are nor­mally in­stalled left of the run­way, but at BKL, these lights are set on the right due to the prox­im­ity of Run­way 24L.

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