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AIM

10/12/17

4

−3−21

Airport Operations

4

−3−15. Gate Holding Due to Departure

Delays

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
property.

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

3/29/18

AIM