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Helicopter IFR Operations



2. Helicopter Instrument Approaches


Helicopters are capable of flying any published

14 CFR Part 97, Standard Instrument Approach

Procedures (SIAPs), for which they are properly

equipped, subject to the following limitations and



Helicopters flying conventional (non−

Copter) SIAPs may reduce the visibility minima to

not less than one half the published Category A

landing visibility minima, or 




 statute mile

visibility/1200 RVR, whichever is greater unless the

procedure is annotated with “Visibility Reduction
by Helicopters NA

.” This annotation means that

there are penetrations of the final approach obstacle

identification surface (OIS) and that the 14 CFR

Section 97.3 visibility reduction rule does not apply

and you must take precaution to avoid any obstacles

in the visual segment. No reduction in MDA/DA is

permitted. The helicopter may initiate the final

approach segment at speeds up to the upper limit of

the highest approach category authorized by the

procedure, but must be slowed to no more than

90 KIAS at the missed approach point (MAP) in

order to apply the visibility reduction. Pilots are

cautioned that such a decelerating approach may

make early identification of wind shear on the

approach path difficult or impossible. If required, use

the Inoperative Components and Visual Aids Table

provided in the front cover of the U.S. Terminal

Procedures Volume to derive the Category A minima

before applying the 14 CFR Section 97.3(d−1) rule.


Helicopters flying Copter SIAPs may use the

published minima, with no reductions allowed. The

maximum airspeed is 90 KIAS on any segment of the

approach or missed approach.


Helicopters flying GPS Copter SIAPs must

limit airspeed to 90 KIAS or less when flying any

segment of the procedure, except speeds must be

limited to no more than 70 KIAS on the final and

missed approach segments. Military GPS Copter

SIAPs are limited to no more than 90 KIAS

throughout the procedure. If annotated, holding may

also be limited to no more than 70 KIAS. Use the

published minima, no reductions allowed.


Obstruction clearance surfaces are based on the aircraft
speed and have been designed on these approaches for
70 knots. If the helicopter is flown at higher speeds, it may
fly outside of protected airspace. Some helicopters have a


 greater than 70 knots; therefore, they cannot meet

the 70 knot limitation to conduct this type of procedure.
Some helicopter autopilots, when used in the “go


mode, are programmed with a V


 greater than 70 knots,

therefore when using the autopilot “go

−around” mode,

they cannot meet the 70 knot limitation to conduct this type
of approach. It may be possible to use the autopilot for the
missed approach in the other than the “go

−around” mode

and meet the 70 knot limitation to conduct this type of
approach. When operating at speeds other than V


 or V



performance data may not be available in the RFM to
predict compliance with climb gradient requirements.
Pilots may use observed performance in similar
weight/altitude/temperature/speed conditions to evaluate
the suitability of performance. Pilots are cautioned to
monitor climb performance to ensure compliance with
procedure requirements.


TBL 10−1−1 summarizes these require-



Even with weather conditions reported at or

above landing minima, some combinations of

reduced cockpit cutoff angle, minimal approach/

runway lighting, and high MDA/DH coupled with a

low visibility minima, the pilot may not be able to

identify the required visual reference(s) during the

approach, or those references may only be visible in

a very small portion of the pilot’s available field of

view. Even if identified by the pilot, these visual

references may not support normal maneuvering and

normal rates of descent to landing. The effect of such

a combination may be exacerbated by other

conditions such as rain on the windshield, or

incomplete windshield defogging coverage.


Pilots are cautioned to be prepared to execute

a missed approach even though weather conditions

may be reported at or above landing minima.


See paragraph 5

−4−21, Missed Approach, for additional

information on missed approach procedures.

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