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 E-N-G Safety Manual

 
Click this image below and download your own copy of the most recent “Broadcast Aviation Safety Manual”.

Comprehensive safety guidelines in this manual were drafted by a joint committee with representatives from the helicopter and ENG industries, the FAA and NTSB working together over the course of a year.

Read full story here.


    
 2015 Wildfire & Disaster Season - Aerial ENG Procedures


The 2015 wildfire season brings with it a need to review the mandatory procedures required of our aerial ENG aircrews for safely coordinating our aerial newsgathering with interagency aerial firefighters.

As most ENG aircrews know, "Fire Traffic Area" (FTA) Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR’s) will be established over all major fires and many smaller ones. Although access is allowed inside these TFR’s for news media aircraft, our access requires advance radio communication and careful coordination.

One initial source for TFR location, hours and boundary information is the FAA site:
tfr.faa.gov. However, before actual flight into the vicinity of the FTA, be sure to check by phone or radio with the regional Flight Service Station (FSS). No website provided by any service or agency is 100% dependable for wildfire TFR details. Some of the websites do not update regularly and some are not updated at all on evenings or weekends.

Electronic flight bag (EFB) equipment and personal electronic devices (PED’s) are also not fully reliable for accurate mapping of TFR’s. Always check with the FAA by phone or radio to make sure you have accurate and up to date information.

For wildfires under jurisdiction of the USFS and other agencies, specific “Fire Traffic Area” procedures are published on a FTA procedures card. This card specifies procedures incoming aircraft must follow in approaching and entering a wildfire TFR. Click the thumbnail to the right for a full copy of these procedures.

A good way to coordinate our ENG missions in advance is to meet in person at the local Geographical Area Coordination Centers (GACCS) or at the local Interagency Dispatch Centers.  Contact them by phone at
coordination centers around the country.

If you are flying on a disaster that is not a wildfire, we recommend being acquainted with the FAA’s “Airspace Management Plan (AMP) for Disasters” which is located here. You'll find many other helpful safety and information resources here in the Publications and Training area of the Interagency Airspace Coordination website. The AMP document is a MUST read for pilots who are covering major hurricanes, tornados, floods, etc as it contains specific information about how the FAA approaches non wildfire disasters.  

Here is some additional guidance excerpted from the HAI Broadcast Aviation Safety Manual:

While FAR 91.137(a)(2) and (a)(3) allow news media aircraft to travel inside most TFR’s established over events such as wildfires and natural disaster scenes, it is prudent to contact the agency in charge of the airspace to obtain air-to-air coordination frequencies and any additional information that may be of assistance in operating safely.

FAR 91.137 specifies that media operations are to be conducted above the altitude used by the disaster relief aircraft, unless otherwise authorized by the official in charge of on scene emergency response activities. 91.137 also specifies media aircraft file a flight plan with “the appropriate FAA or ATC facility specified in the Notice to Airmen”.

The USFS and other wildfire agencies request media aircraft contact the controlling aircraft at least 12 nm from the incident. Upon TFR entrance, media aircraft should remain above the highest incident aircraft or at an altitude and position assigned by the controlling aircraft.

ENG Pilots should NOT assume that because no TFR was in effect at the time of departure, that one will not be in effect upon arrival at the scene. Assume there WILL be a TFR, and seek coordination before entering the airspace. If the pilot arrives before emergency aircraft arrive, keep vigilant for the arrival of emergency aircraft and regularly transmit your position on both the incident assigned (victor) frequency (obtained from your coordination center) and 123.025, or other designated common helicopter frequency for the area.



  
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