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Airport Operations

4−3−15. Gate Holding Due to Departure


a. Pilots should contact ground control or

clearance delivery prior to starting engines as gate

hold procedures will be in effect whenever departure

delays exceed or are anticipated to exceed

15 minutes. The sequence for departure will be

maintained in accordance with initial call up unless

modified by flow control restrictions. Pilots should

monitor the ground control or clearance delivery

frequency for engine startup advisories or new

proposed start time if the delay changes.

b. The tower controller will consider that pilots of

turbine−powered aircraft are ready for takeoff when

they reach the runway or warm−up block unless

advised otherwise.

4−3−16. VFR Flights in Terminal Areas
Use reasonable restraint in exercising the prerogative

of VFR flight, especially in terminal areas. The

weather minimums and distances from clouds are

minimums. Giving yourself a greater margin in

specific instances is just good judgment.

a. Approach Area. Conducting a VFR operation

in a Class B, Class C, Class D, and Class E surface

area when the official visibility is 3 or 4 miles is not

prohibited, but good judgment would dictate that you

keep out of the approach area.

b. Reduced Visibility. It has always been recog-

nized that precipitation reduces forward visibility.

Consequently, although again it may be perfectly

legal to cancel your IFR flight plan at any time you

can proceed VFR, it is good practice, when

precipitation is occurring, to continue IFR operation

into a terminal area until you are reasonably close to

your destination.

c. Simulated Instrument Flights. In conducting

simulated instrument flights, be sure that the weather

is good enough to compensate for the restricted

visibility of the safety pilot and your greater

concentration on your flight instruments. Give

yourself a little greater margin when your flight plan

lies in or near a busy airway or close to an airport.

4−3−17. VFR Helicopter Operations at

Controlled Airports

a. General.

1. The following ATC procedures and phrase-

ologies recognize the unique capabilities of

helicopters and were developed to improve service to

all users. Helicopter design characteristics and user

needs often require operations from movement areas

and nonmovement areas within the airport boundary.

In order for ATC to properly apply these procedures,

it is essential that pilots familiarize themselves with

the local operations and make it known to controllers

when additional instructions are necessary.

2. Insofar as possible, helicopter operations will

be instructed to avoid the flow of fixed−wing aircraft

to minimize overall delays; however, there will be

many situations where faster/larger helicopters may

be integrated with fixed−wing aircraft for the benefit

of all concerned. Examples would include IFR

flights, avoidance of noise sensitive areas, or use of

runways/taxiways to minimize the hazardous effects

of rotor downwash in congested areas.

3. Because helicopter pilots are intimately

familiar with the effects of rotor downwash, they are

best qualified to determine if a given operation can be

conducted safely. Accordingly, the pilot has the final

authority with respect to the specific airspeed/altitude

combinations. ATC clearances are in no way intended

to place the helicopter in a hazardous position. It is

expected that pilots will advise ATC if a specific

clearance will cause undue hazards to persons or


b. Controllers normally limit ATC ground service

and instruction to movement areas; therefore,

operations from nonmovement areas are conducted at

pilot discretion and should be based on local policies,

procedures, or letters of agreement. In order to

maximize the flexibility of helicopter operations, it is

necessary to rely heavily on sound pilot judgment.

For example, hazards such as debris, obstructions,

vehicles, or personnel must be recognized by the

pilot, and action should be taken as necessary to avoid

such hazards. Taxi, hover taxi, and air taxi operations

are considered to be ground movements. Helicopters

conducting such operations are expected to adhere to

the same conditions, requirements, and practices as

apply to other ground taxiing and ATC procedures in

the AIM.

1. The phraseology taxi is used when it is

intended or expected that the helicopter will taxi on

the airport surface, either via taxiways or other

prescribed routes. Taxi is used primarily for

helicopters equipped with wheels or in response to a