12/14/20

 

8900.1 CHG 735

VOLUME 4  AIRCRAFT EQUIPMENT AND OPERATIONAL AUTHORIZATIONS

CHAPTER 2  ALL WEATHER OPERATIONS

Section 3  Safety Assurance System: Approval of U.S. Operators for Operations Below Standard Category I—Parts 91 (Other Than Small Category A), 91K, 121, 125, 125 LODA Holders, and 135

4-210    OVERVIEW. The purpose of this task is to provide operational system safety oversight, analysis, and guidance to Flight Standards Service (FS) inspectors on the authorization of operators to conduct approach operations. The Principal Operations Inspector (POI) authorizes the operations via the issuance of an operations specification (OpSpec), management specification (MSpec), or Letter of Authorization (LOA). Additionally, initial Category (CAT) II and initial CAT III approvals require concurrence from the Flight Technologies and Procedures Division. The general process of approval or acceptance of certain operations, programs, documents, procedures, methods, or systems is an orderly method used by FS inspectors to ensure that such items meet regulatory standards and provide for safe operating practices. It is a modular, generic process that is ideally suited for the approval of Special Authorization (SA) CAT I, SA CAT II, CAT II, and CAT III programs that are solicited by operators from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The process consists of five distinct, yet related, phases and can result in the approval or disapproval of an operator’s application. The process described in this section is not all-inclusive, but is rather a tool to be used with good judgment in conducting day-to-day duties and responsibilities. A flow diagram of the process is found in Figure 4-8, All Weather Operations Approval Process Flow Diagram.

4-211    APPLICABILITY. The process in this section applies to U.S. fixed-wing and rotorcraft operators conducting operations under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 91 (other than small Category A), 91 subpart K (part 91K), 121, 125, 125 Letter of Deviation Authority (LODA) holders, or 135 who pursue FAA SA CAT I, SA CAT II, CAT II, and CAT III operational approval. For rotorcraft, CAT II authorization in accordance with this section also permits Copter instrument landing system (ILS) operations to a decision height (DH) of less than 200 feet.

A.    Title 14 CFR Part 129 Authorization. See Section 6 of this chapter for guidance concerning part 129 authorizations.

B.    Small Category A Aircraft Authorization. See Section 5 of this chapter for guidance concerning authorizations for small Category A aircraft operators.

4-212    REPORTING SYSTEM(S).

A.    Application Package Tracking. At the time of this writing, requests for or amendments of OpSpec C060 authorizations for part 121 applicants will be uploaded and tracked using the Operations Approval Portal System (OAPS). All other OpSpec/MSpec/LOA C060 applications will utilize the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) application. Over time, the tracking function will gradually migrate to OAPS for all operators. Inspectors should consult Volume 3, Chapter 1, Section 1 and any interim guidance in order to determine which tracking tool to utilize for a particular application. In the event of conflicting or unclear guidance, inspectors should consult the Flight Technologies and Procedures Division.

Indicates new/changed information.

B.    Safety Assurance System (SAS). In addition to the coordination and documentation outlined in this section, inspectors will utilize SAS Data Collection Tool (DCT) 2.2.2 (OP) Category II & III Operations. POIs will make a SAS entry to record the actions directed by this section. The SAS entry will be listed according to the applicable phase, as noted below. POIs should use the “Comment” section to record comments about interactions with the operators. The applicable SAS activity codes for this task are as follows:

    Category II/III ILS Operations (OPS) Phase I, Approval for an Operator: 1430.

    Category II/III ILS OPS Phase II, Approval for an Operator: 1431.

    Category II/III ILS OPS Phase III, Approval for an Operator: 1432.

    Category II/III ILS OPS Phase IV, Approval for an Operator: 1433.

    Category II/III ILS OPS Phase V, Approval for an Operator: 1434.

4-213    PREREQUISITES AND COORDINATION REQUIREMENTS.

A.    Prerequisites. This task requires knowledge of National Airspace System (NAS) operational requirements; knowledge of FAA certification rules, policies, and operational system requirements; knowledge of reduced visibility flight operations, aircraft systems, and certification requirements; skill in applying system safety principles; and the ability to link local issues with the broader regional, national, and international concerns.

B.    Coordination.

1)    This task requires coordination between inspectors, the Flight Technologies and Procedures Division, and other parties, as appropriate.
2)    Some applications for the issuance of, or changes to, OpSpec/MSpec/LOA C060 are required by this order to receive Flight Technologies and Procedures Division concurrence. In such cases, the Flight Technologies and Procedures Division serves as a national point of contact to ensure standardization with national policies and overall technical sufficiency of the application. The Flight Technologies and Procedures Division also ensures adequate coordination with national Airworthiness and Avionics subject matter experts (SME), when applicable, to ensure maintenance programs meet national standards. While concurrence may be required of the Flight Technologies and Procedures Division, the primary responsibility for the review, assessment, and approval of the application rests with the certificate management office (CMO)/Flight Standards District Office (FSDO). The Flight Technologies and Procedures Division’s role is to conduct a concurrence review in order to validate the approval recommendation of the CMO/FSDO and to ensure standardization and compliance with policies.
3)    For applications requiring Flight Technologies and Procedures Division concurrence, once the CMO/FSDO determines the package to be complete and meriting approval, it will be transferred to the Flight Technologies and Procedures Division with a recommendation for concurrence. The Flight Technologies and Procedures Division will send any significantly incomplete applications back to the CMO/FSDO. Examples of significantly incomplete applications include those that are absent documents, specific procedures, programs, etc. For applications requiring minimal additional information or minor adjustments, the Flight Technologies and Procedures Division may communicate directly with the CMO/FSDO to determine the most appropriate course of action. Once the Flight Technologies and Procedures Division is in receipt of a complete application package and recommendation from the CMO/FSDO, Flight Technologies and Procedures Division personnel will complete the concurrence review and advise of their concurrence/nonconcurrence in writing.

4-214    REFERENCES, FORMS, AND JOB AIDS.

A.    References (current editions):

1)    Regulations:

    Title 14 CFR Parts 91, 97, 119, 121, 125, and 135.

    Title 49 of the United States Code (49 U.S.C.) 40101(a) and 44505(a)(1)(A) and (B).

2)    FAA Orders:

    Order 1050.1, Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures.

    Order 6560.10, Runway Visual Range (RVR).

    Order 6750.16, Siting Criteria for Instrument Landing Systems.

    Order 6750.24, Instrument Landing System and Ancillary Electronic Component Configuration and Performance Requirements.

    Order JO 7110.65, Air Traffic Control.

    Order 8000.94, Procedures for Establishing Airport Low-Visibility Operations and Approval of Low-Visibility Operations/Surface Movement Guidance and Control System Operations.

    Order 8260.60, Special Instrument Procedures.

    Order 8400.13, Procedures for the Evaluation and Approval of Facilities for Special Authorization Category I Operations and All Category II and III Operations.

3)    Advisory Circulars (AC):
Indicates new/changed information.

    AC 20-191, Airworthiness Approval of Airborne Systems used for Takeoff, Precision Approach, Landing, and Rollout in Low-Visibility Conditions. (The publication of AC 20‑191 will subsequently cancel AC 120-28 and AC 120-29. See subparagraph 4-214B below.)

    AC 25-7, Flight Test Guide for Certification of Transport Category Airplanes.

    AC 120-28, Criteria for Approval of Category III Weather Minima for Takeoff, Landing, and Rollout.

    AC 120-29, Criteria for Approval of Category I and Category II Weather Minima for Approach.

    AC 120-57, Surface Movement Guidance and Control System.

    AC 120-71, Standard Operating Procedures and Pilot Monitoring Duties for Flight Deck Crewmembers.

    AC 120-118, Criteria for Approval/Authorization of All Weather Operations (AWO) for Takeoff, Landing, and Rollout.

4)    Other:

    Technical Standard Orders (TSO).

    Terminal Procedures Publication (TPP).

    Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM).

Indicates new/changed information.

B.    Relationship of AC 120-118, AC 120-28, AC 120-29, and AC 20-191. AC 120-118 contains the revised operational approval information previously found in AC 120-28 and AC 120-29. Airworthiness approval information currently contained in AC 120-28 and AC 120-29 remains in effect until revised by the publication of AC 20-191. The publication of AC 20-191 will subsequently cancel AC 120-28 and AC 120-29.

C.    Forms. None.

D.    Job Aids:

    SA CAT I Approval Job Aid.

    CAT II/III Approval Job Aid (Operations).

    All Weather Operations (AWO) for Takeoff, Landing, and Rollout Approval Job Aid (Avionics).

    Flight Technologies and Procedures Division Concurrence Review Job Aid.

NOTE:  For the most recent version of the job aids, refer to the Flight Technologies and Procedures Division, Flight Operations Group (FOG) Policies & Guidance website at https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/avs/offices/afx/afs/afs400/afs410/policy_guidance/.

Indicates new/changed information.

4-215    OPERATOR AUTHORIZATION—SA CAT I, SA CAT II, OR CAT II RUNWAY VISUAL RANGE (RVR) 1000. SA CAT I, SA CAT II, and CAT II RVR 1000 all take advantage of onboard equipment exceeding that required for a basic CAT I or II certification as a basis for lower landing minima. The purpose of this task is for the CMO/FSDO to approve or disapprove issuance of the appropriate OpSpec/MSpec/LOA for operators to conduct SA CAT I, SA CAT II, or CAT II RVR 1000. Depending on the operator’s current authorization and its onboard equipment basis, these may be added to an operator’s existing authorizations, issued concurrently with an initial CAT II or III authorization, or issued independently, in the case of SA CAT I.

A.    SA CAT I.

Indicates new/changed information.
1)    SA CAT I requires specific onboard equipment, procedures, and training which may or may not be redundant to those already in place to support the operator’s current authorizations. Therefore, a simple review of operator procedures may be appropriate for some operators, while a complete review of the operator’s application considering the provisions of AC 120-118 may be required for others. Inspectors will utilize Figure 4-4, Special Authorization Category I, Special Authorization Category II, and Category II RVR 1000 Authorization Matrix, to determine the level of review required for a particular operator, and complete the actions specified in the table prior to issuing SA CAT I authorization via OpSpec/MSpec/LOA C059.
2)    SA CAT I is authorized by issuance of OpSpec/MSpec/LOA C059. For parts 91, 91K, 121, 125, and 135 operators and part 125 LODA holders, guidance on authorizing C059 is contained in Volume 3, Chapter 18, Section 5. For part 129 operators, the guidance is located in Volume 12, Chapter 4, Section 4. SA CAT I operational requirements are discussed in Figure 4-4 and AC 120-118.
Indicates new/changed information.
3)    For operations in foreign countries, the Flight Technologies and Procedures Division maintains a list of approved SA CAT I airports/runways. Each runway must be authorized in OpSpec/MSpec/LOA C059, Table 1 (Table 2 for part 91 operators), Foreign Airports and Runways, as appropriate. Even though a particular runway is approved for SA CAT I operations, an operator cannot conduct these operations at that location until that particular operation is authorized in the operator’s OpSpec/MSpec/LOA C059. This list is available at https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/avs/offices/afx/afs/afs400/afs420/.

NOTE:  SA CAT I may be authorized by the State of the Aerodrome under different names. For example, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) authorizes operations similar to SA CAT I under the title “Lower than Standard Category I.” While the basic concepts of these operations are the same as those described in AC 120-118, the minima, equipage basis, and operating requirements authorized by the State of the Aerodrome may be different. Operating minima and requirements authorized in the pertinent OpSpec, MSpec, or LOA, as applicable, must be the most restrictive of those given in AC 120-118 or the State of the Aerodrome.

B.    SA CAT II. To authorize SA CAT II operations, the operator must use onboard systems certified for CAT III operations (e.g., autoland or Head-Up Display (HUD) to touchdown). SA CAT II authorization is contained in selectable text in OpSpec/MSpec/LOA C060. For parts 91, 91K, 121, 125, and 135 operators, guidance on authorizing C060 is contained in Volume 3, Chapter 18, Section 5. For part 129 operators, the guidance is located in Volume 12, Chapter 4, Section 4. SA CAT II operational requirements are discussed in Figure 4‑4 and AC 120-118. Standard CAT II or CAT III authorization is a prerequisite for SA CAT II authorization. The authorization process for CAT II/III is discussed later in this section.

C.    CAT II RVR 1000. While CAT II RVR 1000 is considered a subset of standard CAT II operations, not all CAT II operators are eligible for this authorization because it requires the use of onboard equipment certified for CAT III operations (e.g., autoland or HUD to touchdown). CAT II RVR 1000 authorization is contained in selectable text in OpSpec/MSpec/LOA C060. For parts 91, 91K, 121, 125, and 135 operators, guidance on authorizing C060 is contained in Volume 3, Chapter 18, Section 5. For part 129 operators, the guidance is located in Volume 12, Chapter 4, Section 4. CAT II RVR 1000 operational requirements are discussed in Figure 4-4, AC 120-118, and in the authorization process for CAT II/III, as discussed later in this section.

Indicates new/changed information. Indicates new/changed information.

Figure 4-4.  Special Authorization Category I, Special Authorization Category II, and Category II RVR 1000 Authorization Matrix

Figure 4-4. Special Authorization Category I, Special Authorization Category II, and Category II RVR 1000 Authorization Matrix

4-216    CAT II/III OPERATOR AUTHORIZATION PROCESS.

A.    Inspector Procedures. The purpose of this task is to approve or disapprove issuance of the appropriate OpSpec/MSpec/LOA for operators to conduct CAT II and/or CAT III operations.

1)    All initial CAT II and/or CAT III approvals for a particular make, model, and series (M/M/S) aircraft for a particular operator/program manager require review and concurrence by the Flight Technologies and Procedures Division. Unless specified otherwise, subsequent reductions in CAT II or CAT III operating minima for a particular M/M/S do not require further concurrence from the Flight Technologies and Procedures Division.
2)    Any errors or corrections discovered by the Flight Technologies and Procedures Division during the evaluation must be channeled through the CMO/FSDO back to the applicant. This process will ensure consistency and continuity.

B.    Five-Phase Process. The CAT II/III approval process consists of five distinct phases, and is initiated by an operator’s initial inquiry. Figure 4-8 shows a flowchart with a summary of the five-phase process.

C.    Initial Inquiry (Phase One).

1)    Upon initial inquiry, determine the type of operation proposed by the applicant and advise the applicant that initial CAT II/III approval is a lengthy process, often exceeding a year in duration.
2)    Advise the applicant to submit a Letter of Intent (LOI). The LOI should be submitted before the formal application so that the FAA can dedicate appropriate resources for the evaluation of the application. Once the LOI is received, the CMO/FSDO should notify the Flight Technologies and Procedures Division, which will assign an action officer.
Indicates new/changed information.
3)    Inform the applicant that AC 120-118 is available at https://rgl.faa.gov.
4)    Advise the applicant that CAT II or CAT III type design approval is the only acceptable means for demonstrating that the airborne equipment is airworthy for CAT II or CAT III operations. Inspectors will not approve CAT II or CAT III operations unless the operator presents written evidence of CAT II or CAT III type design approval for the particular aircraft. Operators seeking CAT II or CAT III type design approval should contact any responsible Aircraft Certification Service office.
Indicates new/changed information.
5)    Inform the applicant that AC 20-191 is available at https://rgl.faa.gov (the publication of AC 20‑191 will subsequently cancel AC 120-28 and AC 120-29; see subparagraph 4-214B above).
6)    Provide the applicant with a copy of the latest versions of CAT II/III job aids and explain the job aid to the applicant with particular emphasis on what the contents of the application include, what a compliance statement consists of, and what the Operator Use Suitability Demonstration (OUSD) entails. Advise the applicant that the application package should be distinctly divided into an airworthiness section and an operations section for evaluation purposes. The most current versions of the job aids are available on the Flight Technologies and Procedures Division website at https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/avs/offices/afx/afs/afs400/afs410/policy_guidance/.
7)    Advise the applicant that the minimum timeline (after package approval) will be in accordance with Figure 4-6, Operator Use Suitability Demonstration Summary Table, and/or Figure 4-7, Detailed Operator Use Suitability Demonstration Table, which include the relevant timeframes for each required OUSD stage.
8)    Advise the applicant of the importance of committing resources in developing the application package and to name the company’s central point of contact (POC), and provide telephone and email contact information as early as possible.
Indicates new/changed information.
9)    Make appropriate SAS entries. Note the date that the LOI was received.

D.    Receipt of Application (Phase Two).

1)    Upon receipt of the formal application and compliance statement, the first task is to inventory the contents of the package by referencing the respective Airworthiness and Operations job aids sections titled “Operator’s Document Application Package.” If any of the documentation is missing or appears incomplete, the evaluation process may begin on the remaining documents.
2)    Advise the operator of any missing or incomplete documents as soon as practical.
3)    A compliance statement will be prepared by every operator, regardless of previous experience, when seeking CAT II or CAT III authorization with a new aircraft, new equipment, or an existing aircraft.

NOTE:  The terms “new aircraft,” “new equipment,” and “existing aircraft” are defined in subparagraph 4-216F4)d) and are used to determine the level of OUSD required for a particular application. Changes that do not fall into one of these three categories are considered to be “other operator changes” and do not require an OUSD. See subparagraph 4-216F4)d) and Figures 4-6 and 4-7.

a)    Preparation of the compliance statement benefits the applicant by systematically ensuring that all applicable areas are appropriately addressed during the evaluation process. The compliance statement should be in the form of a complete listing of all AC 120-118 requirements.
b)    Next to each listing, the applicant must provide a specific reference to a manual or other document in the application package and may provide a brief narrative description that describes how the applicant will comply with each requirement. Those requirements that do not apply to the type of operation being requested should be annotated in the compliance statement as “N/A.” The compliance statement also serves as a master index to the applicant’s manual system to expedite the FAA’s review and approval of the operation and manual system. The compliance statement is an important source document during the evaluation process.
c)    Compliance statements should be prepared as a two-volume application. Volume I should contain the AC reference by paragraph (e.g., AC 120-118, Paragraph 7-7c, Unscheduled Component Removals) and provide the location in the operator’s source document (e.g., Aircraft Flight Manual (AFM), section 2.4, page 36). Volume II should contain all the relevant operator documents pertaining to the operator’s application package. The compliance statement should be kept current as changes are incorporated into the applicant’s system until the evaluation process is complete.
d)    Examples of the compliance statement format are provided at https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/avs/offices/afx/afs/afs400/afs410/policy_guidance/.

E.    Evaluating the Formal Application Package (Phase Three).

1)    Begin the evaluation of the applicant’s package by entering the operator’s name and applicable 14 CFR type of operation on the job aid.
Indicates new/changed information.
2)    Then, following the job aid line by line, enter the appropriate page or section from the operator’s documents into the “Operator’s Reference Document” column. Note that the job aid has linked references to ACs, regulations, and orders that will provide additional guidance during the conduct of the evaluation. A representative section of the Flight Operations Group CAT II/III Job Aid (Operations) illustrating how entries are made by the reviewing inspector can be found at https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/avs/offices/afx/afs/afs400/afs410/policy_guidance/.
3)    While the job aids provide a systematic, standardized approach to conducting the evaluation, they do not provide sufficient depth and scope to capture areas that are identified as needing additional work. These areas may be complex and need further clarification or may be as simple as typographical errors that require correction.
4)    The inspector should initiate and maintain a separate comment document list of findings while conducting the evaluation. An example of what such a list may look like can be found at https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/avs/offices/afx/afs/afs400/afs410/policy_guidance/.
5)    During the evaluation, if any documents or other relevant parts of the application require correction, are missing, or are incomplete, the applicant should be notified immediately. Normally, documents should not be returned to the applicant unless so requested. This facilitates the ability to compare newly revised material with its earlier version. A log should be kept by the reviewing inspector to maintain a historical record of telephone conversations, emails, or other forms of correspondence that occur during the evaluation period. However, if the majority of the application package is deemed to be unacceptable to the inspector, it should be returned with a letter of disapproval. An example letter of disapproval may be found at https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/avs/offices/afx/afs/afs400/afs410/policy_guidance/.
Indicates new/changed information.
6)    The operator’s approved training and qualification program must provide flightcrews with the skills, knowledge, proficiency, and qualifications necessary to safely conduct the requested operations. Training requirements depend on the airborne equipment basis for the requested operation (e.g., autopilot, autoland, and HUD), the operating procedures used, and the kinds of operations authorized (e.g., fail passive (FP) and fail operational (FO)).
a)    The ground training curriculum should be shown to meet the intent of AC 120-118.
b)    The flight training curriculum is intended to develop the competence necessary to safely conduct the requested operations. The flight training curriculum should be shown to meet the intent of AC 120‑118.
c)    Each pilot conducting the requested operations must be evaluated on these operations during initial, requalification, transition, upgrade, and recurrent training. The events and/or maneuvers that must be demonstrated are described in AC 120-118 and are dependent upon the airborne equipment installed, the kinds of operations authorized, and the crew duties and responsibilities used by that operator.
Indicates new/changed information.
7)    The operators’ manuals must contain clear and concise policy, criteria, guidance, and direction to its flightcrews and other persons involved in its operations. To be acceptable, these manuals must meet the criteria of 14 CFR and applicable OpSpecs/MSpecs/LOAs. Refer to this order, AC 20-191 (the publication of AC 20-191 will subsequently cancel AC 120-28 and AC 120-29; see subparagraph 4-214B above), and AC 120‑118 for guidance.
8)    Before approving the operator’s proposal, the inspector must ensure that the operator’s Continuous Airworthiness Program (CAP) includes the special airborne equipment and procedures required for the requested operations. Coordination with the Principal Maintenance Inspector (PMI) and the Principal Avionics Inspector (PAI) is essential before granting operational approval.
9)    When the application package is deemed to be acceptable to the inspector and the Flight Technologies and Procedures Division, a letter of approval should be sent to the operator. A sample letter of approval may be found at https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/avs/offices/afx/afs/afs400/afs410/policy_guidance/.

F.    The Demonstration Phase (Phase Four). Phase Four is referred to as the OUSD phase, is applicable to CAT II and/or CAT III applications, and begins after the application package has been approved. The OUSD plan included in the application package, once approved, is the primary vehicle used for conducting this phase. A sample OUSD plan may be found at https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/avs/offices/afx/afs/afs400/afs410/policy_guidance/.

1)    Special Considerations. The specific design requirements and maintenance programs necessary to achieve the airborne system reliability for CAT II/III approval are extensive, expensive, and are usually a determining factor affecting an operator’s decision to conduct these operations.
2)    Purpose. The purpose of the OUSD is to demonstrate and validate the reliability and performance of lower minimum programs in line operations consistent with the operational concepts specified in AC 120-118. Demonstration requirements set forth in this order and AC 120-118 have been developed based upon FAA Flight Standardization Board (FSB) criteria, applicability of previous operator experience, and other such factors. The demonstration period may be in excess of 1 year to progress from CAT I to the lowest CAT III landing minima. This time period permits the FAA to evaluate the validity of the operator’s program, and ensures that the aircraft will perform as certified over time while being operated and maintained by the applicant.
3)    OUSD Phases. The OUSD consists of two phases:
a)    OUSD Landing Phase. During this period, the operator conducts the required number of landings using the CAT II or CAT III systems in accordance with the OUSD plan and Figure 4-6. A success rate of 90 percent is required.

1.    Parts 91K, 121, 125, and 135 operators seeking CAT III approval, or seeking to conduct CAT II using CAT III systems, must be issued OpSpec/MSpec C061 (autoland) or OpSpec/MSpec C062 (HUD to touchdown) prior to the landing demonstrations.

2.    Landings may be conducted in line operations, during training flights, or during aircraft type or route proving runs. To optimize efficiency and minimize impact upon subsequent revenue flights, operators and inspectors should be aware that early coordination may allow the combination of OUSD landing phase flights and irregular terrain pre-threshold landings, if applicable, during the operator’s proving runs (see subparagraph 4-216G3)c)).

3.    During the OUSD landing phase, at least 10 percent of the required number of landings should be observed by an appropriately qualified FAA Operations inspector. For this purpose, an appropriately qualified Operations inspector is:

    For small piston and turboprop airplanes or helicopters, qualified in the appropriate category and class;

    For large helicopters, qualified in a helicopter over 12,500 pounds;

    For large piston or turboprop airplanes, qualified in an airplane over 12,500 pounds;

    For small turbojets, qualified in the appropriate category and class; and

    For large turbojets, qualified in a turbojet airplane over 12,500 pounds.

4.    The CMO/FSDO issues the OpSpec/MSpec/LOA (C060 for fixed wing or H108/H109 for helicopter) with any appropriate restricted lower minima and any other restrictions required per Figure 4-6 and/or Figure 4-7. If failures (e.g., unsatisfactory landings or system disconnects) are experienced during the OUSD landing phase, the inspector should assess the operator’s ability to meet the 90 percent success requirement and a determination should be made for the need for additional demonstration landings, or for consideration of other remedial action (e.g., procedures adjustment, wind constraints, or system modifications).

b)    OUSD Validation Phase. This period begins after completion of the OUSD landing phase, or runs concurrently with the OUSD landing phase, depending on the circumstances of the request (see Figures 4-6 and 4-7). Two OUSD validation phases may be required to achieve the desired minima. Each OUSD validation phase is between 3 and 6 months in duration, depending on the circumstances of the request and the minima sought (see Figures 4‑6 and 4-7). The purpose of the OUSD validation phase is to verify that the operator’s proposed maintenance and operational procedures are suitable for the requested operations. It is a good practice for the OUSD validation phase to contain at least one landing to each runway intended for CAT II/III operations. After successful completion of all required OUSD validation phases, unrestricted minima are issued by the CMO/FSDO.
4)    OUSD Landing and Minima Requirements.
a)    CAT III Certification Basis. The lowest allowable CAT III minima for a particular airplane are a function of the CAT III certification basis, as specified in the AFM or equivalent (e.g., FO, FP, or CAT IIIa) and the presence or lack of a rollout system (and, if applicable, the capabilities of the rollout system). The subparagraphs below describe the minima allowable for the various combinations of landing system and rollout system certifications. The subparagraphs also outline the allowable minima following the first and, if applicable, the second OUSD validation phase. OUSD validation phases are described in detail later in this paragraph.
Indicates new/changed information.
b)    While the FAA no longer uses the terms CAT IIIa and CAT IIIb to describe levels of CAT III certification, some aircraft may still contain an AFM statement specifying CAT III capabilities as either CAT IIIa or CAT IIIb. Allowable minima for such aircraft are described in subparagraph 1 below. Aircraft approved in accordance with AC 20-191 (the publication of AC 20-191 will subsequently cancel AC 120-28 and AC 120-29; see subparagraph 4-214B above) or AC 120-28 typically contain an AFM statement specifying FP or FO systems. Allowable minima for such aircraft are described in subparagraph 2 below. The information in the subparagraphs below is summarized in Figure 4-5, Summary of Allowable CAT III Minima by Landing/Rollout System Certification and OUSD Validation Phase.

1.    Aircraft certified as CAT IIIa or CAT IIIb:

a.    Aircraft certified CAT IIIa are limited to RVR 700 for touchdown zone (TDZ) landing minima irrespective of any rollout system. CAT IIIa may be authorized minima as low as RVR 700 TDZ, RVR 700 for midpoint (mid), and RVR 300 for rollout after successful completion of a single OUSD validation phase.

b.    Aircraft certified CAT IIIb with a rollout control system that meets FP criteria may be authorized minima as low as RVR 600 for TDZ, RVR 600 for mid, and RVR 300 for rollout after successful completion of a single OUSD validation phase. The operator may then be authorized for minima as low as RVR 400 for TDZ, RVR 400 for mid, and RVR 300 for rollout after successful completion of a second OUSD validation phase.

c.    Aircraft certified for CAT IIIb with a rollout control system that meets FO criteria may be authorized minima as low as RVR 600 for TDZ, RVR 400 for mid, and RVR 300 for rollout after successful completion of a single OUSD validation phase. The operator may then be authorized for minima as low as RVR 300 for TDZ, RVR 300 for mid, and RVR 300 for rollout after successful completion of a second OUSD validation phase.

2.    Aircraft certified as FP or FO:

a.    Aircraft with an FP or FO landing system without a rollout system may be authorized minima as low as RVR 600 for TDZ, RVR 600 for mid, and RVR 300 for rollout after successful completion of a single OUSD validation phase.

b.    Aircraft with an FP landing and any rollout system may be authorized minima as low as RVR 600 for TDZ, RVR 400 for mid, and RVR 300 for rollout after successful completion of a single OUSD validation phase.

c.    Aircraft with an FO landing system and FP rollout system may be authorized minima as low as RVR 600 for TDZ, RVR 400 for mid, and RVR 300 for rollout after successful completion of a single OUSD validation phase. The operator may then be authorized for minima as low as RVR 400 for TDZ, RVR 400 for mid, and RVR 300 for rollout after successful completion of a second OUSD validation phase.

d.    Aircraft with FO landing and rollout systems may be authorized minima as low as RVR 600 for TDZ, RVR 400 for mid, and RVR 300 for rollout after successful completion of a single OUSD validation phase. The operator may then be authorized for minima as low as RVR 300 for TDZ, RVR 300 for mid, and RVR 300 for rollout after successful completion of a second OUSD validation phase.

Figure 4-5.  Summary of Allowable CAT III Minima by Landing/Rollout System Certification and OUSD Validation Phase

Figure 4-5. Summary of Allowable CAT III Minima by Landing/Rollout System Certification and OUSD Validation Phase

c)    Operator Experience. To meet the definition of “CAT II experienced” as used in this section, the operator must have a current OpSpec/MSpec/LOA that has been authorized for at least 1 year for unrestricted CAT II operations to RVR 1200 or lower. To meet the definition of “CAT III experienced” as used in this section, the operator must have a current OpSpec/MSpec/LOA that has been authorized for at least 1 year for unrestricted CAT III operations to RVR 700 or lower. An operator that is neither CAT II experienced nor CAT III experienced is considered to be a “new operator.”

1.    Experienced CAT III operators seeking a lower CAT III authorization, or experienced CAT II operators seeking a lower CAT II authorization, on the same M/M/S aircraft and without new equipment (e.g., approved CAT III RVR 600 operator seeking a CAT III RVR 300 authorization) are not required to complete an additional OUSD. Before authorizing the requested operation, the inspector should ensure that the aircraft are suitable for the authorization sought and review the operator’s training, maintenance, and operational procedures to ensure that each reflect the new authorization.

d)    Determining OUSD Requirements for Operator Fleet Changes. The intent of this OUSD is to ensure that an aircraft will consistently perform in the CAT II/III arena as certified over time when being operated and maintained by the applicant. Questions often arise concerning the extent of OUSD required, or even if an OUSD is required at all, when an operator adds an aircraft to its fleet or introduces new or modified equipment to its fleet. This assessment may become especially subjective when the new aircraft or equipment is very similar to, or shares a common type rating with, the operator’s existing fleet. In general, the intent is for operators to conduct an OUSD when seeking CAT II or CAT III authorization with a new aircraft, new equipment, or an existing aircraft. Because of the various nomenclature conventions used by different Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM), as well as the continuing evolution in the growth of “aircraft families,” it is not possible to publish definitive guidance that covers every possible scenario. However, the following guidance will enable inspectors to easily classify most operator changes into the categories described below and used in Figures 4-6 and 4-7. The following guidelines and examples are provided to assist inspectors in making such categorizations.

1.    New Aircraft. An aircraft make or model new to an operator’s fleet is considered a new aircraft. For CAT I-only experienced operators, the aircraft is considered new regardless of how long it has been in the operator’s fleet. Examples of new aircraft might be an experienced A330 CAT III operator adding A350, an experienced B737 CAT III operator adding A320, or an existing B737NG CAT I operator seeking CAT II and III approval. In the final example, while the aircraft is not technically “new” to the operator, its use under CAT II and III conditions is new for that operator and must be evaluated as such.

2.    New Equipment. New or modified equipment that effects or interfaces with flight guidance, flight control, or avionics systems introduced into a fleet; a change in the basis for CAT II/III operations within an existing fleet, or a new series of the same make and model aircraft added to a fleet (notwithstanding the provisions of subparagraph 4-216F4)d)4a are all considered new equipment for the purposes of determining OUSD requirements. The following are all examples of new equipment:

    An experienced B737NG CAT III operator with FP autoland adding B737NG with HUD.

    An experienced B737NG CAT III operator with FP autoland adding B737MAX with FP autoland.

    An experienced B737MAX CAT III operator with HUD adding B737MAX with FP autoland.

    An experienced B737MAX CAT III operator with FP autoland adding B737MAX with HUD.

3.    Existing Aircraft. When an experienced CAT II operator seeks CAT III with no equipment change (i.e., neither new aircraft nor new equipment) it is considered existing aircraft.

4.    Other Operator Changes. When an operator proposes a change that is not a “new aircraft,” “new equipment,” or “existing aircraft,” it is considered an “other operator change” and does not require an OUSD.

a.    Aircraft of the same make and model but different series, where differences are nonexistent or determined to be negligible, are considered “other operator changes” (e.g., an experienced B787-9 operator with FO autoland adding B787-10 with FO autoland). When determining if differences are negligible, consider flightcrew procedures, maintenance procedures, and systems that effect/interface with flight guidance, flight control, or avionics systems. Such determinations require concurrence from the Flight Technologies and Procedures Division and should be made in coordination with the appropriate Aircraft Evaluation Group (AEG), the Aircraft Maintenance Division, and the appropriate CMO.

b.    When an experienced CAT II or CAT III operator seeks lower minima within a category (e.g., CAT II RVR 1200 seeking CAT II RVR 1000) with no equipment change, it is considered “other operator changes.” Changes under this provision do not require coordination with the Flight Technologies and Procedures Division.

5.    In any case, when a determination is made as to how to appropriately categorize a fleet change, that categorization should be administered in a consistent manner when subsequent authorizations are sought by similar operators making similar fleet changes.

e)    Summary of OUSD Landing and Validation Phase Requirements. Figure 4-6 contains a summary of OUSD landing and validation phase requirements for multiple scenarios. These scenarios are illustrated in detail in Figure 4-7. The tables show OUSD requirements for foreseeable scenarios based on operator experience, equipment basis for the requested operation, and minima sought. While there are numerous combinations of these factors illustrated by the tables, the requirements can be broken down into the four basic scenarios described below:

1.    OUSD Landing Phase Followed by a Single OUSD Validation Phase. The OUSD landing phase will be conducted at CAT I weather minima or greater using the procedures and equipment for which authorization is being sought. Upon successful completion of 90 percent of the OUSD landing phase, the CMO/FSDO may issue OpSpec/MSpec/LOA C060 (H108 for helicopter operations) authorizing CAT II operations to the minima prescribed in Figures 4-6 and/or 4-7. This marks the end of the OUSD landing phase. The OUSD landing phase will be followed by a single OUSD validation phase lasting 6 months. Upon successful completion of the OUSD validation phase, the CMO/FSDO may authorize CAT II or III operations to the minima prescribed by Figures 4-6 and 4-7. These are the final minima being sought. This marks the end of the OUSD.

2.    OUSD Landing Phase Followed by Two OUSD Validation Phases. The OUSD landing phase will be conducted at CAT I weather minima or greater using the procedures and equipment for which authorization is being sought. Upon successful completion of 90 percent of the OUSD landing phase, the CMO/FSDO may issue OpSpec/MSpec/LOA C060 (H108 for helicopter operations) authorizing CAT II operations to the minima prescribed in Figures 4-6 and/or 4-7. This marks the end of the OUSD landing phase. The OUSD landing phase will be followed by two OUSD validation phases, each lasting 6 months. Upon successful completion of OUSD validation phase 1, the CMO/FSDO may issue OpSpec/MSpec/LOA C060 authorizing CAT III operations to the minima prescribed in Figures 4-6 and/or 4-7. These minima will apply for the duration of OUSD validation phase 2. Upon successful completion of OUSD validation phase 2, the CMO/FSDO may authorize CAT III operations to the minima prescribed by Figures 4-6 and 4-7. These are the final minima being sought. This marks the end of the OUSD.

3.    OUSD Landing Phase Run Concurrently with a Single OUSD Validation Phase. The OUSD landing phase will consist of 25 landings at the minima prescribed in Figures 4-6 and/or 4-7, using the procedures and equipment for which the authorization is being sought. The OUSD landing phase will run concurrently with a single OUSD validation phase with a duration of 3 months. Upon successful completion of at least 90 percent of the landings and the OUSD validation phase, the CMO/FSDO may issue OpSpec/MSpec/LOA C060 authorizing CAT II or III operations with the minima prescribed in Figures 4-6 and/or 4-7. These are the final minima being sought. The operator will continue all data gathering and reporting activities associated with the OUSD validation phase for another 3 months. The completion of the second 3-month period marks the end of the OUSD.

4.    OUSD Landing Phase Run Concurrently with the First OUSD Validation Phase Followed by a Second OUSD Validation Phase. The OUSD landing phase will consist of 25 landings at the minima prescribed in Figures 4-6 and/or 4-7, using the procedures and equipment for which the authorization is being sought. The OUSD landing phase will run concurrently with OUSD validation phase 1, which will be 3 months in duration. Upon successful completion of at least 90 percent of the landings and OUSD validation phase 1, the CMO/FSDO may issue OpSpec/MSpec/LOA C060 authorizing CAT II or III operations with the minima prescribed in Figures 4-6 and/or 4-7. These minima will apply for the duration of OUSD validation phase 2, which will be 3 months in duration. Upon successful completion of OUSD validation phase 2, the CMO/FSDO may authorize CAT II or III operations to the minima prescribed by Figures 4-6 and/or 4-7. These are the final minima being sought. This marks the end of the OUSD.

f)    Other OUSD Considerations.

1.    For operators seeking standard CAT II minima of RVR 1000 predicated on the use of CAT III airborne equipment, the operator’s OpSpec/MSpec/LOA C060 must specify that all such CAT II operations must be conducted utilizing airborne equipment operating to CAT III standards.

2.    Operators conducting OUSD with “new equipment” (e.g., CAT II autoland operator seeking CAT II with HUD) that are restricted to CAT I minima during the OUSD landing phase may continue to use CAT II minima for nondemonstration landings, provided the requirements of the current authorization continue to be met. The operator should submit a plan stating how they will transition between operations using the current authorization, and operations for OUSD landing phase credit. This plan must delineate how the operator will conduct CAT II operations using currently authorized equipment while not relying upon new equipment, and must address operational control, training, procedures, and profiles. In cases where it is deemed unfeasible for operations under the current CAT II authorization to coexist with the conduct of landings for OUSD landing phase credit, CAT II must be deauthorized until completion of the OUSD landing phase.

Figure 4-6.  Operator Use Suitability Demonstration Summary Table

Figure 4-6. Operator Use Suitability Demonstration Summary Table

Figure 4-7.  Detailed Operator Use Suitability Demonstration Table

Figure 4-7. Detailed Operator Use Suitability Demonstration Table

5)    Operators with Small Fleets. The FAA recognizes that it may be impractical to require operators with limited fleet size to accumulate the number of landings required by the OUSD landing phase. In such cases, the CMO/FSDO, with concurrence from the Flight Technologies and Procedures Division, may allow a combination of approach and landings in a Level C or higher full flight simulator (FFS) and in the actual aircraft. Such determinations should consider the operator’s prior experience with the requested type of operations, the number of aircraft in the operator’s fleet, the FAA’s experience in CAT II/III operations with the operator’s aircraft, and must still meet the intent of AC 120-118.

G.    The Approval Phase (Phase Five). OpSpec/MSpec/LOA authorizations are issued in accordance with the guidance, direction, and procedures found in Volume 3, Chapter 18, Section 5.

1)    Approval of Landing Minima. When the data from the operational demonstration has been analyzed and found acceptable, the CMO/FSDO may authorize the lowest requested minima consistent with the requirements in subparagraph 4-216F4).
2)    Qualification and Currency. The number or percentage of flightcrew members required to be current and qualified prior to authorizing AWO is at the discretion of the POI. Operators may receive approval for flightcrew training prior to commencement of the OUSD landing phase. This will ensure a large percentage of pilots are current and qualified for the requested operations upon issuance of the authorization.
3)    OpSpecs/MSpecs/LOAs.
a)    Approved Airports and Runways. All standard AWO are restricted to airports and runways that meet the special safety requirements necessary for such operations. Within the United States, all approved SA CAT I, SA CAT II, CAT II, and CAT III airport and runway operations are conducted in accordance with approved instrument approach procedures (IAP) published in part 97.
Indicates new/changed information. Indicates new/changed information.
b)    Foreign Airports and Runways. For operations in foreign countries, the Flight Technologies and Procedures Division maintains a list of approved SA CAT II, CAT II, and CAT III airports/runways. Each runway must be authorized in OpSpec/MSpec/LOA C060, Table 3, Foreign Airports and Runways, as appropriate. Even though a particular runway is approved for SA CAT II, CAT II, or CAT III operations, an operator cannot conduct these operations at that location until that particular operation is authorized in the operator’s OpSpec/MSpec/LOA. This list is available at https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/avs/offices/afx/afs/afs400/afs420/.
Indicates new/changed information.

NOTE:  SA CAT II may be authorized by the State of the Aerodrome under different names. For example, EASA authorizes operations similar to SA CAT II as “Other than Standard Category II.” While the basic concepts of these operations are the same as those described in AC 120-118, the minima, equipage basis, and operating requirements authorized by the State of the Aerodrome may be different. Operating minima and requirements authorized in the pertinent OpSpec, MSpec, or LOA, as applicable, must be the most restrictive of those given in AC 120‑118 or the State of the Aerodrome.

c)    Irregular Terrain Runways. The Flight Technologies and Procedures Division maintains a list of special terrain runways that must be authorized in OpSpec/MSpec/LOA C060 to utilize autoland or HUD to touchdown. This list shows all such runways in the United States, as well as the list of approved aircraft/guidance systems for each runway. This list is available at https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/avs/offices/afx/afs/afs400/afs410/cat_ils_info/. Refer to AC 120-118, Appendix 4, Irregular Terrain Assessment, for the full criteria and demonstration requirements for authorizing an operator to utilize autoland or HUD to touchdown at an irregular terrain runway. These demonstrations may require multiple landings during nonrevenue operations and/or line operations. Irregular terrain approvals are issued on an operator-by-operator and airport-by-airport basis. The appearance of an aircraft type on the spreadsheet does not eliminate the requirement for the operator to complete the approval process, but it may make that process less arduous. Operators are limited to CAT I weather minima or greater until the evaluation has been completed at a particular irregular terrain runway and lower minima have been authorized for that runway by the operator’s OpSpec/MSpec/LOA C060. The four possible cases are as follows:
Indicates new/changed information.

1.    Case I—First of a Type/Model at any Irregular Terrain Airport/Runway. Case I concerns the first time a particular aircraft type/model is to be approved for any operator at any irregular terrain airport/runway (e.g., the first B787 autoland approval at the first of the irregular terrain airports listed on the “Restricted U.S. Facilities Approved for Category II/III Operations” spreadsheet on the FAA’s website).

2.    Case II—First of a Type/Model at any Subsequent Irregular Terrain Airport/Runway. Case II concerns a particular type/model of aircraft previously approved at one or more of the irregular terrain airports, now seeking initial approval for any operator at a different irregular terrain airport/runway (e.g., the first B767 autoland approval at the Pittsburgh International Airport (KPIT) RWY 10L, after being previously approved at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (KSEA)).

3.    Case III—Subsequent Operator Use of a Particular Irregular Terrain Airport/Runway and Type Combination. Case III concerns an operator seeking approval for a particular irregular terrain airport/runway using an aircraft type/model previously approved by a different operator (e.g., ABC airline requests approval of B757 operations at the Denver International Airport (KDEN) RWY 34R and this combination was previously demonstrated and approved by XYZ airlines).

4.    Case IV—“Not-For-Minima-Credit” Use of Irregular Terrain Airport/Runway and Type Combinations. “Not-For-Minima-Credit” use of irregular terrain airport/runway and type combinations applies to operators desiring to use a flight guidance system (FGS) (e.g., autoland or flight guidance HUD) at an irregular terrain airport/runway, but not for any landing minima credit (i.e., CAT I autoland or HUD to touchdown).

Figure 4-8.  All Weather Operations Approval Process Flow Diagram

Figure 4-8. All Weather Operations Approval Process Flow Diagram

RESERVED. Paragraphs 4-217 through 4-240.