Recent AIM Revisions Published and Recommendations Given to Streamline LOA for Part 91 Operators

Recent AIM Revisions Published and Recommendations Given to Streamline LOA for Part 91 Operators

FAA Publishes AIM Revisions

The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is encouraging pilots to review the recent published revisions to the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM). The revisions include clarifications of “approach category” and its application in determining the appropriate straight-in or circling minima on an instrument approach.

Previous AIM language required pilots to use the next higher approach category if it was necessary to maneuver at a speed above the upper limits of the aircraft’s defined approach category. The revised language advises a pilot is never required to use the next higher approach category and clarifies an aircraft is certified to one approach category.

This revision comes in part due to industry work with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in response to many approaches published with CAT C minima and CAT D depicted as “NA” (Not Authorized) often a result of FAA airport design standards or upon request from the airport operator. This essentially prohibited CAT C airplanes from flying straight-in approaches or conduct the circling maneuver at a speed above the CAT C speed limit of 140 knots.

The revised AIM language also provides guidance for pilots regarding responsibilities and recommended actions in flying these approaches, including using either the minima corresponding to the category determined by certification or minima associated with a higher category. However, the AIM cautions, “If it is necessary to operate at a speed in excess of the upper limit of the speed range for an aircraft’s category, the minimums for the higher category should be used.”

Another important revision is a reminder that operations below the minimum decision altitude or decision altitude/decision height require the runway environment be in sight and the aircraft be continuously positioned so that a landing on the intended runway can be made using a normal rate of descent and normal maneuvers.

FAA and Industry Working Group Issue Recommendations to Streamline LOA for Part 91 Operators

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and the FAA Flight Technologies and Procedures Divisions co-led an aviation industry/FAA working group which issued a final report to the FAA with recommendations to streamline and expedite the current process of issuing Letters of Authorization (LOA) for Part 91 operators.

The NBAA participated in the working group and reported the group concluded that “Streamlining the process for the most requested authorizations by Part 91 operators would reduce demand on the FAA and produce the largest benefit for the business aviation industry while maintaining the safety of the largest aerospace system in the world.”

“Each Part 91 LOA application requires a review and approval of three essential elements: aircraft capability, pilot training and an operator’s procedures,” said NBAA Director, Flight Operations and Regulations, Brian Koester, CAM. “The working group identified key areas for improvement that would offer authorizing FAA inspectors an alternate, streamlined method to review and issue a letter of authorization. We are excited about the changes to come and look forward to working with the FAA to ensure these recommendations are introduced smoothly and quickly.”

The report contained six recommendations which were:

  1. GAMA should develop an Aircraft Statement of Capability template and release it online for use by aircraft manufacturers free of charge.
  2. Aircraft manufacturers should develop Aircraft Statement of Capability documents using the industry template.
  3. Manufacturers providing an Aircraft Statement of Capability also should establish a process to maintain and update the document.
  4. The FAA should consider the aircraft make, model and series, serial number or operator name rather than an aircraft’s registration number when reviewing a Part 91 operator’s application.
  5. The FAA should create and/or update all guidance material necessary to create a new LOA Training Statement of Compliance form for international operations training providers.
  6. The FAA should develop an additional process to provide a statement of compliance for vendors that sell International Operating Manuals to Part 91 operators.

Initially, the recommendations will apply only to new aircraft delivered to operators once the new policies have been implemented.

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