September 13, 2018

Buttonville LOC RWY 15 Approach Unusable


Nav Canada’s renaming of a fix that forms part of the LOC RWY 15 approach into Buttonville (YKZ), using the name of a pre-existing waypoint located 60nm to the south, has led to the approach being NOTAM’ed unusable until the next data cycle on Nov. 8, 2018.

Jim Ferrier, Nav Canada’s director for aeronautical information management, told eFlight, “Nav Canada received a concern from a YKZ customer identifying a safety issue with similar sounding names being used on the LOC 15 procedure (ETGOX and ELGYN). Therefore, it was decided to resolve the issue by changing one waypoint name. WELLA was one of the options provided to the designer that was available for use.”

According to Nav Canada, the root cause of this problem is the FAA’s use of WELLA waypoint (in Canada) as a fix for IFR procedures into Buffalo airport (KBUF). Ferrier went on to say, “The FAA was advised that WELLA would be revoked and we were not made aware that they were still using this fix for procedures in KBUF. Our current policy dictates that we are unable to use this waypoint for a minimum of six months. It was not reused for this period, so no conflict was identified. We are correcting the issue in coordination with the FAA”.

The error was detected too late to amend the Canada Air Pilot (CAP) and related publications that were issued with an effective date of September 13.

The impact of this anomaly is not only limited to IFR flights. A common practice for pilots conducting VFR night flights into Buttonville airport is to load this approach into their navigation hardware so they can find the airport in Toronto’s sea of lights.

Pilot Mark Brooks alerted NAV Canada of this anomaly in early September. The inconsistency was also identified by Jeppesen when Nav Canada reported the waypoint in a different location from what they had in the Buffalo procedures.

With reports from Phil Lightstone and Mark Brooks.