By the middle of last month, as the Bush Administration was cautiously lifting many of the September 11-inspired airspace restrictions, NBAA and other general aviation organizations continued to work for Part 91 IFR operations within the New York and Washington temporary flight restriction (TFR) areas, including Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA).
Instrument flight rules
An easy day of flying is not hard to define. Passengers arrive on time, good weather translates into few delays and everything on the airplane works the way it was intended. Identifying a difficult day is a bit more challenging. Is it when the crew shoots a localizer approach to minimums at night with thunderstorms all around?
Customers flying to Eurocopter’s Donauwörth training center and customer service facility in Germany now benefit from a helicopter-dedicated airspace layout, the first of its kind in Europe, according to the local Eurocopter flight operations team. The new flight procedures allow operations in almost all weather conditions.
Since mid-March, approaches at the airport have been GPS-based, allowing flights in IMC.
Companies that have long been awaiting European approval for commercial single-engine operations under instrument meteorological conditions (SE-IMC), or at night, clearly face a longer wait. Despite continuing optimism voiced by some operators, it will be almost three more years before such flights can be approved across the region.
The obstacle clearance panel (OCP), a group of experts in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), is designing more suitable IFR procedures for helicopters, taking advantage of new navigation equipment. Under the proposed rules, scheduled to take effect in the fall of next year, precision guidance on low-level routes to so-called points in space will become common.
Proponents awaiting European approval for commercial single-engine operations at night or under instrumental meteorological conditions (SE-IMC) should not hold their collective breath. It could be another three years before formal clearance for such
operations–roughly equivalent to U.S. commercial single-engine instrument flight rules–are approved by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
Switzerland’s Federal Bureau of Air Accident Investigation, known as the BFU, identified pilot error as the cause of a Crossair Avro RJ100 accident on Nov. 24, 2001, near Bassersdorf, Switzerland, during an approach to Zurich Airport. However, investigators also pointed to external deficiencies at other levels.
Expert groups at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) are designing new rules for helicopter IFR procedures and heliport construction. Developed primarily with Europe in mind, the guidelines are expected to be released sometime next year, according to ICAO officials.
New taxi into position and hold (TIPH) guidance for pilots became effective February 5. It includes new ATC procedures and phraseology to improve runway safety.
Because of “undesirable” events involving TIPH, the FAA convened a safety risk management panel consisting of representatives from the agency’s Air Traffic Service and Flight Standards Service, as well as certain specialists, including experts in aviation human factors.
Online is where it’s at, and FltPlan. com allows corporate, charter and business aircraft users to create IFR flight plans online free of charge. The Web site provides a navigation log, weather data, IFR filing capability, airport information (including diagrams and a list of fields closest to a given city), passenger flight briefing sheets, low- and high-altitude en route charts and customized aircraft performance numbers.