EFVS: The what and why of Enhanced Flight Vision System

There is no doubt that when you can enhance what pilots can see on approach, especially in inclement weather conditions, you can greatly reduce the risk of accidents or incidents.

In 2017, the FAA introduced an enhanced flight vision system (EFVS) rule. This helped increase the use of vision system technologies, which aim to assist safer landings by virtually eliminating low-visibility conditions.

EFVS explained

But what exactly is EFVS? Enhanced Flight Vision System is an aircraft system that uses a type of heads-up display and imaging sensors to present information to the pilot, such as aircraft information, flight symbology combined with an electronic real-time sensor image of the forward external scene.

In essence, EFVS provides the pilot with a second pair of highly-enhanced eyes. The EFVS, installed on most midsize and large business jets, will show the pilot artificially displayed elements on top of real-world views, such as the horizon and runway – not unlike a video game.

Pioneered by NASA in the late nineties, and then further developed by business jet and avionics manufacturers, EFVS is becoming increasingly widespread which will hopefully drive down pricing allowing the benefits of this technology to find its way into more aircraft. Now, military requirements are driving further EFVS innovations, which in time should then become standard on general and commercial aircraft as well.


What are the benefits of EFVS?

The technology allows pilots to land safely at airports even in limited visibility due to haze, smog, smoke, fog, or simply darkness. This can help minimize delays and prevent aircraft from being rerouted. Most importantly, it greatly reduces the likelihood of runway incidents and potentially accidents.


EFVS Operations

There are two types of EFVS:

  • EFVS Operations to 100 feet above TDZE

In this case, EFVS is only activated when descending below Decision Altitude/ Decision Height (DA/DH) to 100 feet above the Touchdown Zone (TDZE). From 100 feet onwards to the TDZE, you must use natural vision.

  • EFVS Operations to Touchdown and Rollout

Alternatively, EFVS from Operations to Touchdown and Rollout allows you to activate EFVS from descent below DA/DH, until the plane reaches normal taxi speed.


Do I need an LOA for EFVS?

While a Letter of Authorization (LOA) for EFVS is not required within the United States, it is often mandatory when flying internationally, especially in the EU.

To make sure that you can use all of your EFVS capabilities when flying abroad, apply for the LOA so you’re covered.


We can help

To make things easy, we can help prepare all the required LOA documentation you’ll need to present to the FAA. Part-135 Operators should bear in mind that they also need to send the FAA an evaluation plan.

Our new EFVS Operations Manual makes the entire process even simpler. We cover procedures for EFVS to 100 feet above TDZE, as well as touchdown and rollout.

Have questions? Contact our experts.


 

Do I Need an LOA for ADS-B Out?

Countries can set their own requirements for authorizations for ADS-B Out operations. The FAA has decided to discontinue the ADS-B Out LOA (A153) and will no longer be issuing authorizations to US operators. However, we recommend that US operators carry a copy of Notice 8900.491 to show to foreign inspectors if they are requested to provide their authorization. In essence, Notice 8900.491 is provided by the FAA to summarize why it is no longer providing authorizations for ADS-B Out.  It is important to note that an LOA is still required for ADS-B In operations.

Setting the scene

Back in 2010, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) determined that operators needed to request operational approval for Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out from their Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). While the FAA had not required an LOA to use ADS-B Out in the United States, they had issued OpSpec/MSpec/LOA A153 or A353 to satisfy foreign CAAs that did require authorization.

However, in September 2015, ICAO Member States adopted new guidance that gradually phased out operator authorization requirements to use ADS-B Out. As stated in Notice 8900.491, “continuous monitoring of equipment performance has proven to be the most effective means of oversight.” By overseeing the data of ADS-B Out, the FAA and other CAAs can identify aircraft performance. Any aircraft with a negative safety impact on Air Traffic Control could be restricted from flying in airspace requiring ADS-B Out. Additionally, with rising demand in OpSpecs, MSpecs, and LOAs, the FAA has become understandably stretched. Removing the need for any LOA can help minimize the burden placed on both regulators and operators.

What’s changing for the ADS-B Out LOA and what should I do?

In short, the FAA has decommissioned OpSpecs/MSpecs/LOA A153 and A353, also known as the ADS-B OutLOA. By June 30, 2019, the FAA will have reached out to operators currently holding these OpSpecs/MSpecs/LOAs to inform them that it is no longer necessary. However, it’s strongly advised to carry a copy of Notice 8900.491 on the aircraft. If any foreign inspectors or officials ask about the LOA, operators can show the Notice explaining why the FAA is no longer issuing an authorization.

Different airspace will have different regulations, so be sure to research equipage requirements when planning your overseas journey anyway – especially in regard to the ADS-B Out mandate. No further action should be needed from pilots and operators as we understand it.

For operators carrying our International Operations and Procedures Manual, no immediate revisions are needed, but we will be covering this in our next International Operations and Procedures Manual Revision Service update, so keep an eye out.

We want to again emphasize that all of this applies only to ADS-B Out.  ADS-B In continues to require an LOA.

If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. If you want to know more about our FAA LOA Support Services, you can find more information here.

Do I Need an LOA to operate in RVSM airspace?

Authorization is required for RVSM. However, the FAA has changed the requirements allowing some aircraft equipped with ADS-B to operate within the contiguous United States RVSM airspace without applying for operator-specific authorization. Since the guidance does not specify how an operator can verify authorization, we are still recommending that ALL operators carry an operator-specific authorization (LOA). Operations outside of the contiguous U.S., including flights to Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, still require a formal LOA application under ALL circumstances.

What is an RVSM LOA?

RVSM or Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum decreases the specified standard vertical separation of aircraft flying between FL 290 (29,000 ft) and FL 410 (41,000 ft) from 2,000 ft to 1,000 ft minimum. This allows more aircraft to fly safely in a particular airspace.

Since this type of operation requires aircraft to be equipped with certified equipment and crews to have specific training, operators need to gain permission to fly in RVSM airspace. That’s where the LOA comes into play. LOAs grant aircraft operators the FAA’s authorization to exercise particular activities, in this case RVSM.

What’s changed?

As of January 22nd,2019, the RVSM LOA is considered to be automatic for operators with a compliant ADS-B system and will not be formally issued unless applied for. This change allows some operators to skip the application process but DOES NOT exempt having an authorization. Due to a certain amount of current ambiguity, in order to demonstrate proof of authorization, we are still recommending that ALL operators carry an operator-specific authorization (LOA).

As of now, if you meet all of the following criteria you are theoretically automatically authorized and do not need to submit a formal LOA Application:

  1. Your aircraft is fitted for ADS-B Out, and is transmitting sufficient ADS-B data;
  2. Your ADS-B Out system is compliant with 14 CFR 91.227;
  3. Your aircraft is maintained in accordance with all the mandatory maintenance tasks (such as air data and transponder checks) and is meeting height monitoring specifications;
  4. Crews are trained in RVSM;
  5. The crew has no other need for a specific document confirming they are RVSM-authorized;
  6. You do not ever operate outside of the contiguous United States.

It is critical to keep in mind that noncontiguous, foreign and international airspaces (including Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, the Caribbean and Mexico) still require formal authorization: any operator who intends to conduct international flights still needs to apply for the RVSM LOA.

If you are not able to answer yes to all 6 items then you will need to apply for the RVSM LOA. This may include your operation if ANY of the following applies:

  • You intend to fly in RVSM airspace outside the contiguous 48 United States;
  • You still have to install ADS-B Out, or you have any reason to doubt that sufficient ADS-B data is being broadcast;
  • Your ADS-B system does not comply with 14 CFR 91.227;
  • You need direct evidence that you are specifically authorized for RVSM, for any reason.

Also, if your aircraft is not yet equipped with ADS-B Out – don’t forget that deadline is looming so make sure your aircraft is equipped by January 1st, 2020.

How will this progress?

For now, there has been no further discussion on whether other countries will be following suit after the FAA’s decision, nor whether the automatic authorization is internationally recognized. However, it is unlikely other countries will follow without the benefit of certain processes to verify specific airframes and their ADS-B data.

Whether the FAA will be publishing a database of operators or aircraft presumed to be automatically authorized has not yet been discussed. But if this does progress and is accepted by other countries, there might be an application-free future peeking on the horizon. AviationManuals will be keeping an eye on international operations and watching this space to provide you with the latest updates.

We still recommend carrying an RVSM LOA until further clarification from the FAA. Still need an LOA package, application, or an RVSM Operations Manual? We can help.

How Millennials are Changing Today’s Flight Departments

They’re using mobile team messaging apps like Slack to communicate; they’re being groomed earlier in their jobs for a more sustainable career; and they’re gaining access and exposure to industry experiences that not too long ago were reserved for more seasoned employees.

Millennials are changing the landscape of today’s flight departments in a significant way. Pew Research Center defines the Millennial generation as those born between 1981 and 1996. — also known as the generation that grew up with The Goonies, pagers and dial-up Internet.

We recently spoke with one such Millennial, NBAA Manager, Flight Operations and Regulation, Brian Koester, to find out how Millennial employees are shaking up flight departments across the business aviation sector and what established flight departments should incorporate into their work structure to remain relative, competitive and successful. Here are some key items you, Flight Department Manager, should know:

How are Millennials as Part of the Business Aviation Workforce Impacting Established Flight Departments?

One of the main areas NBAA is focusing on is the shortage of qualified personnel coming into the aviation industry. We are looking at how young professionals are reshaping established departments as they take up roles such as pilots, mechanics, schedulers and dispatchers. If you look at the data, you will see that in the U.S. the average age of a worker is 42, while in the aviation industry the age averages out closer to 52. Given those age differences, many flight departments are now grooming their younger employees sooner and are focusing more on succession planning in the first few years of employment than they have traditionally done in the past. In order to keep young talent around and shape them into future business aviation industry leaders, flight departments today are establishing a solid career development path for Millennials with employment tactics and incentives.

What are Some of Those Incentives and Tactics?

For example, a flight department we have engaged with has changed the way it executes international operations training. Instead of waiting for an employee to be a bit more seasoned—one who has been with the department for a few years—managers are incentivizing their younger employees to stay in their positions longer by sending them to train earlier on in their post with the promise that the international trips will soon follow.

Another shift is seen more broadly within the aviation sector: Flight departments are encouraging Millennials early on to get more involved with industry events, groups and happenings. They are sending their young professionals to industry events—previously reserved for more senior employees who have, if you will, already paid their dues. Today these younger employees whom are given such opportunities as professional development are willing to invest more in their companies as they see their companies investing in them.

What is the Most Significant Issue Facing Flight Departments and What Advice Would You Give Them?

We conducted a survey on issues facing small flight departments a while back and the results overwhelmingly showed long-term staffing ranking as one of the biggest issues. It is no secret that younger professionals tend to leave the business aviation sector to go work for commercial airlines. This is because Millennials are looking at pay scale differences over the course of a career and see that they very well may be leaving money on the table if they don’t go to the airlines and stay in business aviation too long.

What Adjustments Are Flight Departments Making to Persuade Them to Stay?

The way departments interact and communicate is changing with the onslaught of younger and cross-generational employees. We advise that flight departments determine how people want to communicate, depending on the urgency of the communication, and what best works for each team. Non-Millennial employees communicate via traditional channels such as email, in-person meetings or via phone. With younger generations, communication occurs faster, tends to be more mobile and comes in smaller batches.

For example, flight departments today are adopting more technical means for departmental communications. We all know that Millennials are eager to adopt new technologies. Now flight departments are including more text/apps communications channels to interact within their teams and across departments. Some departments are adopting mobile apps such as Slack to incite chats and sharing of challenges, experiences and lessons learned or tips on safety regulations and flight operational issues among teammates. This encourages bonding, comradery and builds a stronger team environment and business unit.

What’s the Best Thing Millennials are Bringing to Flight Departments?

Fresh energy, adaptability and new perspectives to and for the job, hands down.

Key Issues Facing International Flight Operators to and from Europe

With the 2018 European Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition (EBACE) taking place this month, all eyes in the business aviation industry will be focusing on Europe. We thus wanted to share the key issues flight operators need to keep in mind when traveling to and from Europe.

Regulatory Compliance

2018 has ushered in some significant changes that impact the business aviation industry. For those operating to and from Europe, the two key regulatory issues to keep in mind are:

  • The 2018 IS-BAO standard. Released at the beginning of 2018 in beta version, the go-live date is scheduled for July 1, 2018. It is a code of best practices designed to help flight departments worldwide achieve a high level of safety. If your manual has not been updated to the latest IS-BAO standards, and you have an audit prior to July 1, 2019, you should consider updating your FOM at least two months prior to your audit. We can include best practices and any revisions that you may have as part of a standard reissue.
  • Part-NCC. The European Union’s Part-NCC (Non-Commercial Complex) is a regulation aimed at enhancing safety, training and record-keeping protocols within Europe for companies flying complex corporate aircraft privately. With Part-NCC, it’s not about where the aircraft is registered, but where the operator of the aircraft is established or, in the event of an individual owner, resides. So, if you are a UK-based operator with a Cayman Island registered aircraft, you should be Part-NCC compliant for instance.

Customs

Customs can be a challenge for flight operators traveling to multiple European destinations. Each country and airport may have unique customs requirements, and managing those requirements for flight operators is critical to quickly and efficiently clear customs. The US is currently working on a customs compliance guide for private operators with hopes it will be commonplace within the next few years.

A key factor to keep in mind is ensuring passports or visas for all flight crew are current, and making sure visas especially – which may vary from country to country – are approved well in advance.

Weather

On Atlantic crossings, weather and volcanic activity become a significant factor and one that flight operators need to be prepared for. Temperature conditions, for instance near Greenland, may also make it challenging to maintain altitudes in certain aircraft.

Security

Flight operators need to stay vigilant when it comes to personal and IT security. With recent system hackings, it is crucial to ensure that flight (and personal) devices stay within your control and that malware is not downloaded. Breached network issues also apply to onboard Wi-Fi systems, so it is important that operators equip aircraft broadband access with secure networks.

Finally, regarding personal security, flight operators should establish an emergency plan that is ready to be implemented if a situation arises. This should include, for instance, an evacuation plan coordinated with passengers designating and communicating a meeting place.

To learn more about how AviationManuals can help support your efforts to achieve trouble-free flights to and from Europe, contact us today.

Europe Trip Planning Best Practices

There are key elements items operators should ensure they have covered before taking off to Europe. Non-European Union (EU)-registered aircraft operators are subject to SAFA (Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft) ramp inspections when operating in the EU member states plus Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, along with any state with which the European Aviation Safety Administration (EASA) has a working arrangement on SAFA. The biggest issues generally occur when inspectors come to the plane and the crew is not prepared. To avoid unnecessary complications, we are highlighting some key items you should be prepared to be able to show:

International Operations Manual

Operators should have an up-to-date International Operations Manual (IOM) to ensure they are conforming to current required procedures and industry best practices when operating across the Atlantic and within Europe. An IOM should include procedures for North Atlantic (NAT HLA), RVSM, PBN (RNP/RNAV), and, if equipped, Data Link procedures. For operations within Europe, the IOM should also include procedures for P-RNAV and B-RNAV, which covers RNAV operations in the enroute and terminal areas within Europe.

Operators should be aware that LOAs for each of these Special Areas of Operation are required, regardless of where the aircraft is based. The LOA must be issued with the name of the entity with operational control of the aircraft. In a case where more than one entity has operational control, separate LOAs must be obtained

MEL Compliance

Even though there are still ongoing discussions between the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European authorities, it is critical to note that FAA approval does not ensure international compliance when it comes to Minimum Equipment Lists (MEL), so we recommend erring on the side of caution for your trip.

One of the most important clarifications that operators must understand today is that it is no longer acceptable to use your MMEL as your MEL. Because an MEL is developed specifically for your aircraft, your fleet and your company, many European inspectors have now made it clear that they require an MEL.

This is because the MMEL does not contain the specific procedures or regulations that crews must follow. Additionally, EASA’s focus on performance-based standards included in the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Annex 6, Part 2, Chapter 2.5 requires operators to have information relevant to the airplanes required communication, navigation or communication specification capabilities included in the MEL. This standard requires the operator to take a broader view of specific equipment and its relationship to other systems and performance requirements.

Part-NCC Must be a Part of Your Pre-flight Arsenal

If you are an operator that either has an operating base in Europe or one outside any EASA country, then you also need to strongly look how you may fall under Part-NCC requirements. If you operate an aircraft registered in an EASA member state, or if your aircraft is registered in another country but your principal trip or regular business is to an EASA member state, your operations will be subject to Part-NCC.

As a business jet operator executing flight activities to Europe, you should prior to your trip verify at a minimum:

  • If you are subject to Part-NCC and, if in doubt, get a ruling from the competent authorities.
  • If you are subject to Part-NCC, determine which entity will be the operator under Part-NCC.
  • Start the compliance process with Part-NCC and apply for the specific approvals by the competent authority.
  • Declare the new activity and submit relevant documentations to the competent authority.

An SMS Program is Critical for Your Travel

You should also be prepared to demonstrate you have a Safety Management Systems (SMS) program in place and that it clearly outlines the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) your flight crew executes. An SOP or a proper operations manual provides crews with the step-by-step guide to effectively and safely carry out operations. Many accidents occur because of the operating environments and individual operator behavior – the “Human Factor” – in the aviation community. Such causal factors of accidents aren’t common to all operators, but they must be examined with methods that are specific to the individual operator’s situation.

Specifically, one of the defining characteristics of an SMS is its emphasis on risk management within an operation. It provides inspectors with the ability to better see the relation between the common risk factors that are addressed by traditional aviation regulations and those that are more situational. ICAO Introduced requirements related to SMS back in 2009. It is important to note that EASA compliance is set to strengthen traditional risk control practices and ensure safety risks are managed in a systematic way – so be prepared prior to your trip.

AviationManuals Support

All of the documentation and procedures discussed are critical elements for any flight plan, but essential for travel to the EU. Flight operators should be able to demonstrate all of these are in place in the event of a ramp check. Contact AviationManuals if you have any questions or if you would like additional information.

Get Ready for Revised 2018 IS-BAO Standard

As you may be aware, IBAC is making significant changes to the IS-BAO standard this year. We wanted to share some information about the changes and how they may affect operators. In addition, we have highlighted steps you will need to take in order to be compliant with the new standard.

The 2018 IS-BAO standard was released at the beginning of the year in beta version with the go-live scheduled for July 1, 2018. Operators, however, can continue to use the 2017 standard until July 1, 2019.

Key changes

  • ERP protocols are being added back in and slightly expanded
  • Redundant protocols are being removed or consolidated
  • The International protocols are being removed or merged with the ‘regular’ flight operations protocols
  • The ‘regular’ flight operations protocols are being reorganized to align more closely with the steps of scheduling/planning a trip and phases of flight

What does this mean for you?

Depending on your situation, one of the following scenarios will apply to you:

  1. If your manual has not been updated to the 2017 IS-BAO standard and you have an audit prior to July 1, 2019, you will need to update your FOM at least two months prior to your audit. We can include best practices and any revisions that you may have as part of a standard reissue.
  2. If your manual has been updated to the 2017 IS-BAO standard and you have an audit prior to July 1, 2019, you don’t need to do anything at this time. That said, we still recommend updating your manual with best practices and any applicable revisions.
  3. If you have an audit after July 1, 2019, your manual will need to be updated to the 2018 IS-BAO standard at least two months prior to your audit. Again, we will also include best practices and any revisions that you may need at that time.

You’re in good hands

We recognize this is an unusual IS-BAO update transition; rest assured, we will stay on top of these changes for you.

Please find attached an information sheet that goes into more detail.

Questions? We’re there to help. Get in touch today.

What Should You Do to Respond To the Data Link LOA A056 Changes

The FAA introduced a new template for LOA A056 for Data Link communications in November 2017. The new template adds two pieces of information that were not previously tracked. The changes focus on the PBCS capabilities, in order to meet the March 29, 2018, PBCS implementation, and the name of the service provider used for Data Link services for each aircraft.

Here are four paths to take when responding to the Data Link LOA changes, depending on your status:

I already have an approved LOA A056 and it is in the new format:

  •  You are in compliance with both the PBCS implementation and Data Link mandate already. No further action is needed.

I already have an approved LOA A056, but it is not yet in the new format:

  • Fill out a new A056 application and ask FSDO to reissue your A056 in the new format.
  • In rare cases your FSDO may issue you the new LOA A056 without a full resubmission. Be sure to speak with your inspector to get a better idea of what exactly they would like you to submit.

I do not have an approved LOA A056, but have submitted an application OR I have submitted a request to add a new aircraft to my LOA A056:

  • Be sure your submission has been prepared using the FAA’s newest format.
  • If you submitted prior to November 2017, and your request hasn’t been approved yet, you will need to re-prepare and re-submit.

I do not have an approved LOA A056, and have not yet applied:

  • Be sure to have your aircraft upgraded to meet Data Link requirements as soon as practical if you intend to keep operating in the NAT. Right now, Data Link is required for any NAT operations at FL340 to FL390.  Beginning in January 2020, Data Link will be required for all NAT operations at FL290 and above.
  • Apply for an LOA A056 using the FAA’s newest format.

To learn more about how AviationManuals can help, contact us today.

 

MEL 2017 in Review

With numerous changes to Minimum Equipment Lists (MELs) having gone into effect in 2017 and with more to come in 2018, now is a great time to ensure your MEL is up-to-date and compliant.

The most notable change last year was the enforcement of the ICAO Annex 6 and EASA requirements requiring operators to have a specific MEL for their aircraft when operating to or from EASA member states.

U.S. Part 91 twin turboprops and jets flown in Europe are now required to operate with an MEL developed for a specific aircraft under Letter of Authorization (LOA) D195, rather than with a manufacturer’s aircraft model Master MEL (MMEL) approved by the FAA under LOA DO95.

In addition, there were also a number of required revisions introduced to FAA Master MELs and policy letters during the course of 2017.

Check the list below to see if your aircraft is on it. If so, you will need to make sure that your MEL is up-to-date. Operators have 90 days from the date of the MMEL to revise their manuals.

What’s new in 2018?

This year, we expect to see significant changes to MELs for U.S. Part 91 operators and further updates to MMELs. So far, there have already been two updates to MMELs in 2018, including for the Citation 500 series.

The FAA is reportedly planning to release a Notice requiring all aircraft operating internationally to have an individual MEL and D195 LOA. It is also anticipated that EASA will announce that, while they will continue to enforce the D195 LOA mandate for U.S. Part 91 operators, they will grant a 12-month grace period to allow operators time to comply.

Revised FAA MMELs include:

  • Boeing 737 – Rev 59 – 02/13/2017
  • Challenger 600 – Rev 10a – 01/06/2017
  • Falcon 7X/8X – Rev 11 – 11/06/2017
  • Falcon 900EX EASy, 900DX – Rev 8 – 01/19/2017
  • Embraer EMB-500 (Phenom 100) – Rev 3 – 05/11/2017
  • Embraer EMB-545 / EMB-550 (Legacy 450, Legacy 500) – Rev 2 – 07/28/2017
  • Gulfstream G280 – Rev 3 – 10/31/2017
  • Gulfstream V Series – Rev 9 – 12/18/2017
  • Cessna Citation 500 Series – Rev 10 – 01/03/2018

Policy letter changes include:

  • Navigation Database text – 6/1/2017
  • Protective Breathing Equipment (PBE) – 12/4/2017

Can You Take Off with a Broken Cup Holder?

NEF, MMEL, LOA, MEL, aviation, business aviation

Nonessential Equipment and Furnishings Program (NEF): Allows operators to use the deferral authority granted in the MMEL to provide relief for inoperative, damaged, or missing nonessential items.

Operators who hold an LOA authorizing the use of an MMEL as an MEL or a customized MEL can only defer items listed in their MELs or via their NEF Program. Therefore, if an operator does not have an NEF Program, any inoperative nonessential items must be operative for flight.

Need an NEF Program to cover your cup holders? Let AviationManuals support you.