Mandatory Changes Made to Helo IFR Minimums

 - January 27, 2020, 9:16 AM

The FAA has published Notice 8900.534, which describes mandatory revisions to helicopter operations specification (OpSpec) H105 by implementing revised IFR weather guidance for rotorcraft operations conducted under FAR Parts 91K and 135. To provide time for FAA inspectors and helo operators to incorporate the changes, the revisions don’t become effective until June 19.

OpSpecH105 authorizes certificate holders and program managers to derive alternate airport IFR weather minimums in those cases that require an alternate airport. These revisions should ease operators in selecting those alternates. For example, one revision to H105 revises the “Ceiling” column by replacing the abbreviations “HAA” and “HAT” with “DA(H)” and “MDA(H).”

The agency says that using both decision altitude (height) (DA[H]) and minimum descent altitude (height) (MDA[H]) are consistent with both current U.S. operator usage and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) international agreements to provide a clear explanation of “(H)” or “height” value, relating (H) to height above touchdown (HAT) and height above airport (HAA). Another key revision will offer reduced IFR approach minimums by authorizing operators to conduct GPS-based instrument approach procedures (IAP) at the alternate airport by appropriately-equipped helicopters and applicably-trained crews. This revised guidance includes a chart to provide additional clarity on GPS-equipage requirements, and operational conditions and limitations.