Helicopter Operations resources

Helicopter Operations

Procedures

Aerodromes

General AIP ENR 1.1

The procedures in this section apply to all helicopters operating in the vicinity of aerodromes and in helicopter–access corridors and lanes, in accordance with the provisions of CARs 92, 157, 163, 166, AIP ENR 1.1 and CAAPs 92-2(2) and 92-4(0).

Use of aerodromes CAR 92

An aircraft shall not land at, or take off from, any place unless having regard to all the circumstances of the proposed landing or take-off (including the prevailing weather conditions); and the following:

  • it is an aerodrome established under the air navigation regulations
  • the use of the place as an aerodrome is authorised by a certificate granted, or registration, under CASR Part 139
  • the place is a defence force aerodrome for which CASA has authorised civil operations in accordance with section 20 of the Act or
  • the place is suitable for use as an aerodrome and the aircraft can land at, or take off from, the place in safety.

Taxiing

For all helicopters, maximum use of the ‘air transit’ procedure should be made to expedite traffic movement and flow about an aerodrome.

All helicopters may use ‘air taxiing’ procedures as required. However, wheeled helicopters, where practicable, are encouraged to ‘ground taxi’ on prepared surfaces to minimise rotor wash and its effects.

At night a helicopter should not taxi via routes which do not meet the physical dimensions and lighting requirements specified in CAAP 92-2(2).

Take-off/departure

Take-off/departure – controlled aerodrome

At locations within controlled airspace, helicopters may be granted a take-off clearance or instructed to report airborne, as appropriate, from any area nominated by ATC or the pilot, and assessed by the pilot as being suitable as an HLS.

Helicopters taking off or departing must proceed in accordance with ATC instructions.

Subject to clearance, a turn after take-off may be commenced when the pilot considers that the helicopter is at a safe height to do so.

Unless requested by the pilot, a take-off clearance will not be issued for a helicopter if the tailwind component exceeds 5 kt.

Prescribed exit ‘gates’ and associated standard routes and/or altitudes may be provided to facilitate the flow of helicopter traffic. Procedures for their use will be promulgated in ERSA. Use of these ‘gates’ is not mandatory. Helicopters may, subject to an ATC clearance, revert to the standard traffic procedures applicable to aeroplanes. This option may be more appropriate when operating larger helicopters.

At night a helicopter should not take-off from a site other than one which conforms to the requirements specified in CAAP 92-2(2). Any illuminated runway or illuminated taxiway of dimensions commensurate with the size of the helicopter landing site applicable to the helicopter, in accordance with CAAP 92-2(2), is considered to meet the requirements of CAAP 92-2(2).

Take-off/departure – non-controlled aerodromes AIP ENR 1.1

At a non-controlled aerodrome a pilot may take off from any area which is assessed as being suitable as an HLS.

When the pilot elects to conduct the take-off from outside the flight strip of the runway in use by aeroplanes, the helicopter take-off path must be outside that flight strip.

Before take-off, the helicopter is to be positioned to the appropriate side of the runway in use so that the turn after take-off does not cross the extended centre line of that runway. The pre-take-off positioning of the helicopter will be by air transit or by taxiing as appropriate.

The turn after take-off onto the desired departure track may be commenced when the pilot considers that the helicopter is at a safe height to do so. If the resultant departure track conflicts with the aeroplane traffic pattern, the helicopter should remain at 500 ft above the surface until clear of that circuit pattern. Where this procedure is not practicable on environmental grounds, the helicopter is to adopt the standard departure procedure applicable to aeroplanes.

Pilots of radio-equipped helicopters must broadcast intentions on the appropriate frequency before take-off.

Helicopter access corridors and lanes AIP ENR 1.1

The following procedures apply for operations within promulgated helicopter access corridors and lanes:

  • maximum IAS of 120 kt
  • helicopters must operate under VFR, usually not below 500 ft above the surface by day, subject to flight over populous area restrictions and the limitations published in ERSA for authorised corridors by night
  • ‘see-and-avoid’ procedures must be used
  • formation flights are restricted to line astern with the lead aircraft responsible for maintaining separation from other traffic in accordance with ‘see-and-avoid’ procedures
  • a traffic advisory service is available in access corridors
  • an ATS Surveillance System advisory service may be given at designated aerodromes
  • a continuous listening watch on the appropriate ATS frequency in access corridors or broadcast frequency in lanes is mandatory
  • two-way operations are conducted with all traffic keeping to the right of the central geographical/topographical feature(s) as detailed in ERSA
  • the pilot-in-command has the responsibility to ensure that operations are confined within the boundaries of the corridor or lane
  • the limits of corridors and lanes must be adhered to, with any transitional altitude requirements maintained within an accuracy of ±100 ft and
  • a helicopter not confining its operations to an access corridor will require ATC clearance and, while outside the corridor, will be subject to separation standards as applied by ATC.

Arrivals

Arrivals – controlled aerodromes AIP ENR 1.1

At a controlled aerodrome, prescribed entry ‘gates’ and associated standard
routes and/or altitudes may be provided to facilitate the flow of helicopter traffic. Procedures for their use will be publicised in ERSA. Use of these ‘gates’ is not mandatory. Subject to the receipt of an ATC clearance, helicopters may, if required, conform to the standard traffic procedures applicable to aeroplanes. This option may be more appropriate when operating larger helicopters.

At locations within controlled airspace, helicopters may be granted a landing clearance or be instructed to report on the ground, as appropriate, at any area nominated by ATC or the pilot, and assessed by the pilot as being suitable as an HLS.

Unless requested by the pilot, a landing clearance will not be issued for a helicopter if the tailwind component exceeds 5 kt.

At night a helicopter should not land at a site other than one which conforms to
the requirements specified in the latest issue of CAAP 92-2(2). Any illuminated runway or illuminated taxiway of dimensions commensurate with the size of the helicopter landing site applicable to the helicopter, in accordance with CAAP 92-2(2), is considered to meet the requirements of CAAP 92-2(2).

Arrivals – non-controlled aerodromes AIP ENR 1.1

At a non-controlled aerodrome in VMC by day applicable to the aircraft category, helicopters need not join the circuit via standard aeroplane entry procedures, at the pilot’s discretion.

As an alternative, helicopters may join the circuit area at 500 ft above the surface from any direction, subject to the normal restrictions of flight over populous areas. Helicopters must avoid other circuit traffic and descend to land at any location assessed by the pilot as being suitable for use as an HLS, provided:

  • the intended landing point is located outside the flight strip of the runway in use
  • the final approach is clear of the extended centreline of the runway in use and
  • post-landing positioning of the helicopter is by air transit or by taxiing as appropriate.

Pilots of radio-equipped helicopters must broadcast intentions on the appropriate frequency as specified in AIP ENR 1.1.

Circuit procedures AIP ENR 1.1

At controlled aerodromes any specific operating procedures applicable to the helicopter traffic pattern will be detailed in ERSA.

Either of the following generally applies:

  • where possible, helicopter circuit traffic will be separated from the aeroplane traffic pattern by the use of contra-direction circuits, outside and parallel to the flight strip of the runway in use, and at a lower altitude than other traffic, but not below 500 ft above the aerodrome elevation or
  • when separate circuit patterns are not practicable, helicopters may utilise the same traffic pattern direction as other traffic, and will normally operate inside and at a lower altitude than that traffic, but not below 500 ft above the aerodrome elevation.

At non-controlled aerodromes the following circuit operating procedures apply:

  • helicopters may be operated on contra-direction circuits and parallel to the aeroplane traffic pattern at a lower altitude than that traffic, but not below 500 ft above the aerodrome elevation. The landing site associated with the helicopter circuit is to be positioned outside the flight strip of the runway in use so that helicopter circuit traffic does not cross the extended centre line of that runway;
  • if the procedure outlined In the paragraph above is not practicable:
    • the helicopter circuit patterns should be flown inside and parallel to the aeroplane traffic, and at lower altitudes, but not below 500 ft above the aerodrome elevation. The landing site associated with the helicopter circuit must be positioned outside the flight strip of the runway in use so that helicopter circuit traffic does not cross the extended centre line of that runway or
    • the helicopter must follow the standard aeroplane traffic pattern and, in this case, may use the flight strip area of the runway in use and
  • the pilots of radio-equipped helicopters must broadcast their intentions and listen out for other traffic on the appropriate frequency.

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