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6/17/21 

AIM 

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2.  Helicopter Instrument Approaches 

a. 

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 
conditions: 

1. 

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 

1

/

4

 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. 

2. 

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. 

3. 

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. 

NOTE

 

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 
V

MINI

 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

around” 

mode, are programmed with a V

YI 

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

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. 

4. 

TBL 10

1

1 summarizes these require-

ments. 

5. 

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. 

6. 

Pilots are cautioned to be prepared to execute 

a missed approach even though weather conditions 
may be reported at or above landing minima. 

NOTE

 

See paragraph 5

4

21, Missed Approach, for additional 

information on missed approach procedures. 

Helicopter IFR Operations 

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