The Las Cruces International Airport has the following text in the Takeoff Minimums and ODP document:


LAS CRUCES INTL (LRU) TAKEOFF MINIMUMS AND (OBSTACLE) DEPARTURE PROCEDURES AMDT 2 16231 (FAA) TAKEOFF MINIMUMS: Rwys 4, 8, 12, 22, 26, 30, 2500-3 for climb in visual conditions.

VCOA: All runways, obtain ATC approval for climb in visual conditions when requesting IFR clearance. Climb in visual conditions to cross Las Cruces Intl southwest bound at or above 6500 on CUS VOR/DME R-038 to ZAXOX INT/ DMN 27 DME. Continue climb in ZAXOX holding pattern (hold W, right turns, 094° inbound) to cross ZAXOX at or above MEA or assigned altitude for route of flight

What I don't understand is if these procedures are optional or required. While I understand that part 91 doesn't have to abide by Takeoff minimums and ODPs, would a commercial carrier be expected to do the VCOA? In IFR training they said VCOAs can be requested but not offered by ATC. Would a commercial carrier be expected to do the VCOA or could they do a Diverse Departure? Also do the Takeoff minimums only apply to the VCOA?

Link to document Here

  • $\begingroup$ I think you are mistaken about whether Part 91 has to follow procedures other than takeoff minimums. Suppose a departure procedure requires a minimum climb of 275’ per nm. The reason that climb gradient is required is because if you don’t climb at that rate you will most likely hit something. I could be wrong, but Im pretty sure that if you accept a departure procedure, then you have agreed to follow it—regardless of whether you are Part 91 or not. $\endgroup$
    – JScarry
    Jan 6, 2020 at 23:08
  • $\begingroup$ Also, diverse departure in not an option at this airport. When you see inverted triangle with a T symbol— Alternate Takeoff Minimums on the approach plate, it means that either there are non-standard takeoff minimums or that there is a published departure procedure. Airports with a diverse departure (not radar diverse departure) do not have published departure procedures and this airport does. Alliance Muni, Dodge City, Harper Muni, Neodesha Muni, Platsmouth Muni, Pratt, Smith Center, Cessna Field are examples of fields with diverse departure procedures—in Kansas with no obstacles for miles. $\endgroup$
    – JScarry
    Jan 6, 2020 at 23:19

1 Answer 1


The only takeoff departure at Las Crucas, NM (KLRU) is a visual climb over airfield (VCOA).

Typically you would depart the airport and visually see and avoid the obstacles around the airport while you climb. If you are in IMC conditions (at this airport) you need 2500' ceilings and 3SM visibility to circle and climb above the airfield. In essence, the procedure is for you to avoid the obstacles while you are climbing in a confined space.

ATC wants to know about your intentions of flying VCOA so they can plan accordingly. It is one thing to climb over the airfield to the MEA vs. reaching the MEA 30NM from the airport.

From AIM 5-2-7

A VCOA procedure is a departure option for an IFR aircraft, operating in VMC conditions equal to or greater than the specified visibility and ceiling, to visually conduct climbing turns over the airport to the published "climb-to" altitude from which to proceed with the instrument portion of the departure. VCOA procedures are developed to avoid obstacles greater than 3 SM from the departure end of the runway as an alternative to complying with climb gradients greater than 200 FPNM. Pilots are responsible to advise ATC as early as possible of the intent to fly the VOCA option prior to departure.


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