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AIM

10/12/17

10−2−5

Special Operations

FIG 10−2−2

Closed Helideck Marking

j. Offshore (VFR) Operating Altitudes for

Helicopters

1. Background. Mid−air collisions constitute

a significant percentage of total fatal offshore

helicopter accidents. A method of reducing this risk

is the use of coordinated VFR cruising altitudes. To

enhance safety through standardized vertical separa-

tion of helicopters when flying in the offshore

environment, it is recommended that helicopter

operators flying in a particular area establish a

cooperatively developed Standard Operating Proce-

dure (SOP) for VFR operating altitudes. An example

of such an SOP is contained in this example.

2. Recommended Practice Example

(a) Field Operations. Without compromis-

ing minimum safe operating altitudes, helicopters

working within an offshore field “constituting a

cluster” should use altitudes not to exceed 500 feet.

(b) En Route Operations

(1) Helicopters operating below 750’ AGL

should avoid transitioning through offshore fields.

(2) Helicopters en route to and from

offshore locations, below 3,000 feet, weather

permitting, should use en route altitudes as outlined

in TBL 10−2−1.

TBL 10−2−1

Magnetic Heading

Altitude

0

 to 179

750’

1750’
2750’

180

 359

1250’
2250’

(c) Area Agreements. See HSAC Area

Agreement Maps for operating procedures for

onshore high density traffic locations.

NOTE−

Pilots of helicopters operating VFR above 3,000 feet above

the surface should refer to the current Federal Aviation

Regulations (14 CFR Part 91), and paragraph 3−1−4,

Basic VFR Weather Minimums, of the AIM.

(d) Landing Lights. Aircraft landing lights

should be on to enhance aircraft identification:

(1) During takeoff and landings;
(2) In congested helicopter or fixed wing

traffic areas;

(3) During reduced visibility; or,
(4) Anytime safety could be enhanced.

k. Offshore Helidecks/Landing Communica-

tions

1. Background. To enhance safety, and pro-

vide appropriate time to prepare for helicopter

operations, the following is recommended when

anticipating a landing on an offshore helideck.

2. Recommended Practices

(a) Before landing on an offshore helideck,

pilots are encouraged to establish communications

with the company owning or operating the helideck

if frequencies exist for that purpose.

(b) When impracticable, or if frequencies do

not exist, pilots or operations personnel should

attempt to contact the company owning or operating

the helideck by telephone. Contact should be made

before the pilot departs home base/point of departure

to advise of intentions and obtain landing permission

if necessary.