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Special Operations

(2) No electrical storms (thunderstorms)

are present within 10 nautical miles. Lightning can

travel great distances beyond the actual thunder-


(3) Passengers disembark the helicopter

and move to a safe location prior to HRR operations.

When the pilot−in−command deems it necessary for

passenger safety that they remain onboard, passen-

gers should be briefed on the evacuation route to

follow to clear the area.

(4) Passengers not board or disembark

during HRR operations nor should cargo be loaded or


(5) Only designated personnel, trained in

HRR operations should conduct HRR written

authorization to include safe handling of the fuel and

equipment. (See your Company Operations/Safety

Manual for detailed instructions.)

(6) All doors, windows, and access points

allowing entry to the interior of the helicopter that are

adjacent to or in the immediate vicinity of the fuel

inlet ports kept closed during HRR operations.

(7) Pilots ensure that appropriate electrical/

electronic equipment is placed in standby−off

position, to preclude the possibility of electrical

discharge or other fire hazard, such as [i.e., weather

radar is on standby and no radio transmissions are

made (keying of the microphone/transmitter)].

Remember, in addition to communications radios,

radio transmissions are also emitted by aircraft radar,

transponders, radar altimeters, DME equipment, and


(8) Smoking be prohibited in and around

the helicopter during all HRR operations.

The HRR procedures are critical and present

associated hazards requiring attention to detail

regarding quality control, weather conditions, static

electricity, bonding, and spill/fires potential.

Any activity associated with rotors turning

(i.e.; refueling embarking/disembarking, loading/

unloading baggage/freight; etc.) personnel should

only approach the aircraft when authorized to do so.

Approach should be made via safe approach

path/walkway or “arc”− remain clear of all rotors.


1. Marine vessels, barges etc.: Vessel motion presents

additional potential hazards to helicopter operations

(blade flex, aircraft movement).
2. See 

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

Document 407, “Standard for Aircraft Fuel Servic-

for specifics regarding non−HRR (routine refueling


10−2−2. Helicopter Night VFR Operations

a. Effect of Lighting on Seeing Conditions in

Night VFR Helicopter Operations


This guidance was developed to support safe night VFR

helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) opera-

tions. The principles of lighting and seeing conditions are

useful in any night VFR operation.

While ceiling and visibility significantly affect safety

in night VFR operations, lighting conditions also

have a profound effect on safety. Even in conditions

in which visibility and ceiling are determined to be

visual meteorological conditions, the ability to

discern unlighted or low contrast objects and terrain

at night may be compromised. The ability to discern

these objects and terrain is the seeing condition, and

is related to the amount of natural and man made

lighting available, and the contrast, reflectivity, and

texture of surface terrain and obstruction features. In

order to conduct operations safely, seeing conditions

must be accounted for in the planning and execution

of night VFR operations.
Night VFR seeing conditions can be described by

identifying “high lighting conditions” and “low

lighting conditions.”

1. High lighting conditions exist when one of

two sets of conditions are present:

(a) The sky cover is less than broken (less

than 5/8 cloud cover), the time is between the local

Moon rise and Moon set, and the lunar disk is at least

50% illuminated; or

(b) The aircraft is operated over surface

lighting which, at least, provides for the lighting of

prominent obstacles, the identification of terrain

features (shorelines, valleys, hills, mountains, slopes)

and a horizontal reference by which the pilot may

control the helicopter. For example, this surface

lighting may be the result of:

(1) Extensive cultural lighting (man−made,

such as a built−up area of a city),