Takeoff Minimums


  • Takeoff minimums are a regulatory piece of safety



  • Part 121, 125, 129, and 135 operators must follow their requirements:
    • Must meet the requirements of part 97, or if none are prescribed:
      • For aircraft, other than helicopters, having 2 engines or less – 1 SM visibility
      • For aircraft having more than two engines, 1/2 SM visibility
      • For helicopters, 1/2 SM visibility
      • No pilot may takeoff under IFR from a civil airport having a published obstacle departure under part 97 for the takeoff runway to be used, unless the pilot uses such ODPs or an alternative is assigned
  • An inverted triangle with a capital letter “T” means a textual departure is located in the front of the IAPs indicates an ODP developed solely for obstacle avoidance [Figure 2]
    • Review these before departure!
  • If the pilot does not possess a DP or does not wish to use one, he/she is expected to advise ATC
  • This may be accomplished by stating “NO DP” in the remarks section of the flight plan or by verbally advising ATC


ODP Takeoff Minimums
Figure 2: ODP Takeoff Minimums



    • Shall comply with the IAPs and the takeoff and landing minimum prescribed by the military authority having jurisdiction of that airport
      • This applies to the landing runway in use
      • If at the hold short use the runway remaining boards for a real time assessment


  • Standard Instrument Rating:
    • Published non-precision minimums, no lower than 300-1
    • Published precision minimums, no lower than 200-1/2 or 2400 RVR
  • Special Instrument Rating
    • Pilot judgment and urgency of flight
    • No visibility or ceiling requirements


Only an aircraft commander with a special instrument rating, who is also on the flight controls, is authorized to make departures from an airfield when weather conditions are below minimum

  • Formation:
    • Independent of instrument ratings
    • Published circling minimums
      • If circling approach not authorized for runway in use, formation takeoff minimums revert to basic VFR of 1000-3
      • Only takeoff minimum that is also the same requirement to shoot the approach
    • Restricted to two aircraft of “similar” performance