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12/2/21 

AIM 

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 at any time. 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 inside the front cover of the U.S. Terminal 
Procedures Publication to derive the Category A 
minima before applying the 14 CFR Section 97.3 
rule. 

2. 

Helicopters flying Copter IAPs should use 

the published minima, with no reductions allowed. 
Unless otherwise specified on the instrument 
procedure chart, 90 KIAS is the  maximum speed on 
the approach. 

3. 

Pilots flying Area Navigation (RNAV) 

Copter IAPs should also limit their speed to 90 KIAS 
unless otherwise specified on the instrument 
procedure chart. The final and missed approach 
segment speeds must be limited to no more than 70 
KIAS unless otherwise charted.  Military RNAV 
Copter IAPs are limited to no more than 90 KIAS 
throughout the procedure. Use the published minima; 
no reductions allowed. 

NOTE

 

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

MINI 

greater than 70 knots; therefore, 

they cannot meet the 70 knot limitation to conduct these 
RNAV approaches. Some helicopter autopilots, when used 

in the “go

around” mode, are programmed with a 

V

YI 

greater than 70 knots. Therefore, those helicopters 

when using the autopilot “go

around” mode, cannot meet 

the 70 knot limitation for the RNAV approach. It may be 
possible to use the autopilot for the missed approach in 
other than the “go

around” mode and meet the 70 knot 

limitation. When operating at speeds other than V

YI 

or V

Y

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. 

NOTE

 

V

MINI 

 Instrument flight minimum speed, utilized in 

complying with minimum limit speed requirements for 
instrument flight 

V

YI 

 

Instrument climb speed, utilized instead of V

for 

compliance with the climb requirements for instrument 
flight 

V

 

Speed for best rate of climb 

4. 

TBL 10

1

1 summarizes these require-

ments. 

5. 

Even with weather conditions reported at or 

above minimums, under some combinations of 
reduced cockpit cutoff angle, 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), or those 
references may only be visible in a very small portion 
of the available field of view. Even if identified by the 
pilot, the 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. 

6. 

Pilots should always be prepared to execute a 

missed approach even though weather conditions 
may be reported at or above minimums. 

NOTE

 

See paragraph 5

4

21, Missed Approach, for additional 

information on missed approach procedures. 

Helicopter IFR Operations 

10

1