General => The Classroom (Controller Tips) => Topic started by: Chris McGee on February 07, 2010, 02:12:03 pm

Title: Runway RVR
Post by: Chris McGee on February 07, 2010, 02:12:03 pm
A little something I put together for our Anchorage controllers. We love our winter season up here. Figured I would share one of those little things you might encounter online.

What is RVR:

Runway Visual Range (RVR) is a term used in aviation meteorology to define the distance over which a pilot of an aircraft on the centreline of the runway can see the runway surface markings delineating the runway or identifying its centre line. RVR is normally expressed in feet or metres. RVR is used as one of the main criteria for minima on instrument approaches, as in most cases a pilot must obtain visual reference of the runway to land an aircraft. The maximum RVR reading is 2,000 metres or 6,500 feet, above which it is not significant and thus does not need to be reported. RVRs are provided in METARs and are transmitted by air traffic controllers to aircraft making approaches to allow pilots to assess whether it is prudent and legal to make an approach.

Originally RVR was measured by a person, either by viewing the runway lights from the top of a vehicle parked on the runway threshold, or by viewing special angled runway lights from a tower at one side of the runway. The number of lights visible could then be converted to a distance to give the RVR. This is known as the human observer method and can still be used as a fall-back. Today most airports use Instrumented Runway Visual Range or IRVR, which is measured by devices called transmissometers which are installed at one side of a runway relatively close to its edge. Normally three are provided, one at each end of the runway and one at the mid-point.


R07R/2600FT Means Runway Visual Range (RVR). Signifies that the runway visual range for runway 07 Right is 2600 feet. The format is R(XXX) Runway Designator including (L)eft ©enter or ®ight /(XXXX) 4 digit visibility in feet.

Some coding pilots may also see for RVR include:
M Indicates that RVR is less than lowest reportable sensor value (e.g. M0600FT)
P Indicates RVR greater than highest reportable sensor value (e.g. P6000FT).
V Variable If the RVR is variable between 2000 and 4000 feet for runway 6L: (R06L/2000V4000FT). May contain up to four RVR reports.

RVR Phraseology:

Provide RVR/RVV information by stating the runway, the abbreviation RVR/RVV, and the indicated value.
Example: Runway Seven Right RVR Two Thousand Six Hundred.

When there is a requirement to issue an RVR or RVV value and a visibility condition greater or less than the reportable values of the equipment is indicated, state the condition as “MORE THAN” or “LESS THAN” the appropriate minimum or maximum readable value.
Example: Runway Three Six RVR more than Six Thousand.

When a readout indicates a rapidly varying visibility condition report the current value followed by the range of visibility variance.
Example: Runway Two Four RVR Two Thousand, variable One Thousand Six Hundred to Three Thousand.
Title: Runway RVR
Post by: Matt Fuoco on February 09, 2010, 05:57:30 am
Great tip!  I can't tell you how many times I have heard controllers struggling with this.  RVR is a great piece of info...and a required piece of info if shooting a CAT2 or higher approach.

Matt Fuoco
Title: Runway RVR
Post by: Andrew Doubleday on February 10, 2010, 12:00:32 am
Glad someone posted this as well. If you want to be even more accurate with reporting, here is a great website that reports live RVR conditions... (

This section of the .65 also describes the requirements for issuance of RVR/RVV information to pilots from approach control... (
Title: Re: Runway RVR
Post by: Dean Hintz on November 17, 2020, 08:41:04 pm
The Detroit Metro ATTC SOP states that one of the factors that should be taken in to consideration while conducting LUAW procedures is RVR.

Could you shed some light on how RVR could effect LUAW?  Thanks.
Title: Re: Runway RVR
Post by: Brad Littlejohn on November 18, 2020, 10:15:22 am
The Detroit Metro ATTC SOP states that one of the factors that should be taken in to consideration while conducting LUAW procedures is RVR.

Could you shed some light on how RVR could effect LUAW?  Thanks.

Here's two different situations to consider. If visibility is low enough and RVRs are poor (If I remember right, ceiling has to be 800 or less, or 3SM visibility or less) ATC has to protect the ILS critical area when an arrival on an ILS approach is inside the outer marker or FAF for the approach. That would put the ILS hold bars for the critical into play so you may have to have an aircraft hold short of that critical area. Depending on RVRs for that runway, you may not even see that holding point until you're close or on top of it. That will affect a longer time for LUAW, as you are not completely holding short of the runway itself.

Another example. Say the soup has come in, you have VV001, and you've been given LUAW on the runway whose full length is 7300ft, but the RVR is less than 1000. You now have to take into account your speeds and when to rotate, and remind yourself of the full length of the runway as you won't see the end of the runway until you are 6300ft or more down the runway.

With that, bear in mind that RVRs are always fluid and changing, as they are not static for the entire hour that the METAR gets updated. You could have RVRs change between readings without having a new METAR report come out. However, since we can not change that here, we are limited to having the RVRs for the entire hour that the METAR reading is current.

Title: Re: Runway RVR
Post by: Dean Hintz on January 08, 2021, 11:26:59 am
Thanks BL.