Helicopter Operations resources

Helicopter Operations



Instruments for VFR operations  CAO 20.18 (3.2), Appendix VI, Appendix VIII, Appendix IX. See also GEN 1.5


In addition to any other instruments and indicators specified in the helicopter’s flight manual, a helicopter may only be operated under VFR if it is equipped with the following:

  • an airspeed indicating system
  • an altimeter, with a readily adjustable pressure datum setting scale graduated in millibars
  • one of the following
    • a direct reading magnetic compass, or
    • a remote indicating magnetic compass and a standby direct reading magnetic compass and
  • an accurate timepiece indicating hours, minutes and seconds (may be carried on the pilot or navigator), and
  • if conducting flight under VFR and engaged in RPT, charter, aerial work operations or when conducting a flight at night:
    • a slip indicator, and
    • an outside air temperature indicator when operating from or at a location at which ambient air temperature is not available from ground-base instruments.

Night VFR

In addition to the requirements for day VFR specified in the paragraph above, a helicopter operating under night VFR must be equipped with:

  • an attitude indicator (artificial horizon)
  • except for agricultural operations, either
    • a standby attitude indicator, or
    • a turn indicator, and
  • except for agricultural operations
    • a heading indicator (directional gyroscope)
    • a vertical speed indicator, and
    • a means of indicating whether the power supply to the gyroscope instrument is working satisfactorily.

Additional equipment requirements

For flights under night VFR, requirements additional to those specified for day VFR and night VFR apply, except for agricultural operations. These additional requirements are as follows:

  • For operations onto vessels or platforms at sea by night VFR, an instantaneous vertical speed indicator is required in place of the vertical speed indicator specified for night VFR
  • The attitude indicator and standby attitude indicator or turn indicator that are specified for night VFR shall have separate and independent power sources
  • A gyro-magnetic type of remote indicating compass installed to meet the requirements as specified for day VFR may be considered also to meet the requirement for heading indicator for night VFR operations, provided that such an installation also has separate and independent power sources.

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New rules came into effect from 2 December 2021 that cover the general operating and flight rules. This website is now out of date and will be switched off in the new year. A PDF copy of the VFRG is available for download.
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