8900.1 CHG 133

VOLUME 4 aircraft equipment and operational authorization


Section 1 Instrument Flight Rules Offshore Operations

4-1083            INTRODUCTION. This chapter contains direction and guidance to be used by principal operations inspectors (POI) concerning rotorcraft authorizations and limitations. This section contains direction and guidance to POIs for reviewing and approving helicopter instrument flight rules (IFR) offshore operations outside controlled airspace. Volume 4, Chapter 7, Section 2 contains direction and guidance to be used by POIs for reviewing and approving Helicopter En Route Descent Areas (HEDA). Volume 4, Chapter 7, Section 3 contains direction and guidance to be used by POIs for reviewing and approving Airborne Radar Approach (ARA) procedures and offshore standard approach procedures (OASP).

4-1084            GENERAL. IFR operations in any controlled airspace, including offshore, are granted to the operator by paragraph B32 in the operations specifications (OpSpecs). IFR operations in uncontrolled airspace are authorized by paragraph A14. POIs should utilize Volume 4, Chapter 1, Section 2, Air Navigation Approval Requirements, for guidance concerning operators desiring to conduct IFR offshore operations in uncontrolled airspace.

4-1085            APPLICATION PROCESS FOR HELICOPTER IFR OFFSHORE OPERATIONS. Any operator that desires to conduct IFR operations in uncontrolled airspace shall adhere to the following guidelines:

A.        Submission of Proposal. The operator shall submit, to its certificate-holding district office (CHDO), a letter that describes the proposed operation. The operatorís letter should include the following items:

              Specific routes to be flown,

              The exact location of the destination,

              The proposed type of aircraft,

              The navigation equipment on the aircraft, and

              Specific Navigational Aids (NAVAID) to be used at the offshore facility, if any.

B.        Coordination. After reviewing the request, the CHDO will arrange a coordination meeting with air traffic elements that will be involved (center, approach control, Flight Service Station (FSS), etc.). If a NAVAID exists at the offshore facility, the regional flight procedures branch should also be represented at the coordination meeting.

4-1086            SPECIFIC OPERATOR REQUIREMENTS AND PROCEDURES. Any operator that wishes to be approved for IFR offshore operations must ensure that the following navigation and facility requirements are met:

A.        Route Requirements. Operators may develop these proposed and specified routes by Class I station reference navigation where adequate signal coverage is available. Outside of the area where signal coverage is available, the operator must provide a suitable means of Class II navigation. By means of validation tests in visual flight rules (VFR) conditions, POIs shall ensure that the operator is able to demonstrate adequate navigational performance for these routes before being granted approval to use them.

B.        Terminal Procedures. One of the two following procedures will be followed for approving terminal-area IFR operations:

1)          Procedures Based Upon a Class I NAVAID. The regional flight procedures branch is responsible for the review of the operatorís proposed procedures. Appropriate approach plates and operating procedures must be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and then be published in the operatorís manual. The POI grants the authorization by creating a nonstandard OpSpecs paragraph which refers to the section of the operatorís manual containing these procedures.
2)          Procedures Used When No Terminal NAVAID Facility Exists. In these cases, the operator must submit a written request to the CHDO for a helicopter offshore procedure according to the current edition of Advisory Circular (AC) 90-80, Approval of Offshore Standard Approach Procedures (OASP), Airborne Radar Approaches (ARA), and Helicopter En Route Descent Areas (HEDA).

C.        HEDAs. At the operatorís request, the POI will coordinate with the regional flight inspection and procedures branch to establish a HEDA. See Volume 4, Chapter 7, Section 2, Helicopter En Route Descent Areas (HEDA), for more information.

D.      Weather-Reporting Requirements. A weather-reporting facility, approved by the National Weather Service (NWS) or FAA, must be present and operable within 10 nautical miles (NM) of the destination. A remote source may be approved by the POI (based on the concurrence of the NWS) as a deviation from the provisions of Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 135, ß 135.213(b) when the operator can demonstrate an adequate level of safety for the proposed operation. The POI will publish approval for such deviation in the OpSpecs (paragraph H112).

4-1087            Indicates change to document numbering. GEOGRAPHIC COORDINATION. When operations are to be conducted in a region other than that of the CHDO, the CHDO is responsible for coordinating, through its regional headquarters, with the Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) having jurisdiction of the geographic area in which operations are to be conducted. The office having geographic responsibility will normally perform route checks and other required inspections and forward reports of these inspections to the POI. When all requirements have been met, the POI will authorize the operator to conduct operations by means of a nonstandard OpSpecs paragraph.

RESERVED. Paragraphs 4-1088 through 4-1095.