FAA Revising Flight Rules for EMS Helicopter Pilots

The Federal Aviation Administration is proposing to change Operations Specification A021, which applies to helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) flights. FAA is taking comments on the changes until Dec. 15. The agency also proposed changes on Friday in Operations Specification A050, which applies to helicopter night vision goggle operations.

FAA's notice said this: "The FAA has determined that safety in air commerce and the public interest requires additional hazard mitigation for HEMS operations, and therefore has revised Operations Specifications A021 and A050 pursuant to 14 CFR 119.51."

The changes in A021 say if a flight or sequence of flights includes a part 135 segment, all visual flight rules segments of the flight must be conducted within the weather minimums and minimum safe cruise altitude determined in pre-flight planning. A021 requires pilots to identify the minimum safe cruise altitude in pre-flight planning by documenting obstructions and terrain along the flight path.

The changes to A050 change weather minimums for helicopter night vision goggle operations conducted in Class G, or uncontrolled, airspace, where IFR aircraft typically do not operate, to make the minimums consistent with the changes in Class G airspace minimums in A021.

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