AVIATION (ENHANCED FLIGHT VISION SYSTEMS) / The Federal Aviation Administration announces availability for comment of two advisory circular drafts relating to Enhanced Flight Vision Systems (EFVS) relating to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking announced June 13, 2013 – the first consisting of rules for EFVS operations, and the second consisting of guidance on getting airworthiness approvals for EFVS & related equipment. The gist of EFVS: Instrumentation that provides a graphic portrayal in place of natural vision to descend to specified altitudes where visibility at the destination airport is below authorized minimums.

Note well: Concerning Enhanced Flight Vision Systems, the proposed advisory circular about EFVS operations covers substantially the entire waterfront of aviation operations – Parts 91 (general operating and flight rules), 121 (scheduled air carrier), 125 (certification of larger aircraft – 20 or more passengers or maximum payload capacity 6,000 pounds or more), 129 (foreign air carriers and foreign operators), and 135 (commuter and on-demand operations) of the Federal Aviation Regulations.

“Availability of Draft Advisory Circular (AC) 90-106A and AC 20-167A”

 August 13, 2013. Notice of Availability for Comment.

“This notice announces the availability of draft Advisory Circular (AC) 90-106A, Enhanced Flight Vision Systems and draft AC 20-167A, Airworthiness Approval of Enhanced Vision System, Synthetic Vision System, Combined Vision System, and Enhanced Flight Vision System Equipment documents that were developed by the FAA. These documents are available for public review, download, and comment.”

“On June 11, 2013, the FAA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register titled Revisions to Operational Requirements for the Use of Enhanced Flight Vision Systems (EFVS) and to Pilot Compartment View Requirements for Vision Systems (78 FR 34935-34958) (Docket No.: FAA-2013-0485; Notice No. 1209). AC 90-106A, Enhanced Flight Vision Systems, and AC 20-167A, Airworthiness Approval of Enhanced Vision System, Synthetic Vision System, Combined Vision System, and Enhanced Flight Vision System Equipment, have been revised to incorporate the operational and airworthiness proposals contained in the NPRM.

“AC 90-106A provides information about the operating rules pertaining to EFVS operations and explains how to obtain authorization to conduct EFVS operations. AC 20-167A provides guidance on airworthiness approvals of EFVS, Enhanced Vision System (EVS), Synthetic Vision System (SVS), and Combined Vision System (CVS) equipment installation.

“AC 90-106A is for persons operating aircraft under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 91, 121, 125, 129, or 135 who seek approval to use an EFVS in lieu of natural vision to either descend below decision altitude/decision height (DA/DH) or minimum descent altitude (MDA) to 100 feet height above touchdown zone elevation (HAT) from a straight-in Instrument Approach Procedure (IAP), or descend below DA/DH to touchdown and rollout from a straight-in precision IAP or a straight-in IAP with approved (published) vertical guidance.

“AC 90-106A applies to all EFVS operations that are conducted to 100 feet HAT and all EFVS operations that would be conducted to touchdown and rollout under proposed §§ 91.176, 121.651, 125.381, 129, and 135.225. AC 90-106A also applies to the proposed EFVS provisions of §§ 121.613, 121.615, 125.361, 125.363, and 135.219 for dispatch, flight release, and takeoff under IFR when the reported or forecast visibility at the destination airport is below authorized minimums. In addition, AC 90-106A applies to the proposed EFVS provisions of §§ 121.651, 125.325, 125.381, and 135.225 for initiating or continuing an approach when the destination airport weather is below authorized visibility minimums for the runway of intended landing. This AC also contains information about the proposed requirements for pilot training under § 61.31 and the proposed recent flight experience and proficiency requirements under § 61.57.

“AC 90-106A provides information on the regulatory background of EFVS operations, the levels of EFVS operations which can be currently approved, the concept of operation associated with each level of EFVS operation, and how to obtain operational approval to conduct EFVS operations. AC 90-106A also provides information on the regulatory requirements for conducting EFVS operations, including operating, equipment, training, recent flight experience, proficiency, dispatch and flight release, and maintenance requirements.

“Public comments on draft AC 90-106A should be submitted on the comment form titled Comment Form for Advisory Circular (AC) 90-106A, Enhanced Flight Vision Systems. An electronic copy of this form can be downloaded from the docket.AC 20-167A is for airplane and rotorcraft manufacturers, modifiers, and type certification engineers seeking certification or installation guidance for their visual display system. Sections 23.773, 25.773 27.773 and 29.773 address vision systems using a transparent display surface located in the pilot’s outside view, such as a head-up-display, head-mounted display, or other equivalent display. Such “vision systems” include any EVS, EFVS, SVS, or CVS.

“AC 20-167A applies to all applicants for a new type certificate (TC), an amended type certificate (ATC), or a supplemental type certificate (STC) who install vision systems and equipment. The method of compliance described in AC 20-167A can be used to obtain a TC, STC, or ATC for an airplane or rotorcraft equipped with EVS, EFVS, SVS, or CVS equipment.

“AC 20-167A describes system performance, provides methods, procedures, and practices acceptable to the FAA for complying with regulations, and addresses specific installation guidance for vision systems on an airplane or on rotorcraft. This AC also provides EFVS safety standards and sample flight test considerations for EFVS operations conducted to 100 feet HAT and for EFVS operations conducted to touchdown and rollout.

Public comments on the available drafts should be submitted on the forms provided. Electronic copies of these forms can be downloaded from the docket: FAA-2013-0485. 

“Both ACs provide methods, procedures, and practices acceptable to the FAA for complying with regulations. They are a means, but not the only means, of obtaining approval to conduct EFVS operations and to install and obtain airworthiness approval for vision systems. These ACs do not alter regulatory requirements.”