Bulletin No. 01/14

Subject

Amendment to TP 14727 - Pilot Proficiency Check and Aircraft Type Rating Flight Test Guide (Aeroplane) and TP 14728 - Pilot Proficiency Check and Aircraft Type Rating (Helicopter) and TP 14672 – Advanced Qualification Program Evaluator Manual with respect to the assessment of Stabilized Constant Descent Angle (SCDA) approach techniques; approaches to stall; and approaches flown to Localizer Performance with Vertical guidance (LPV) minima

Purpose

To introduce or amend performance criteria with respect to the assessment of:

  • SCDA techniques during non-precision approaches;
  • approaches to stall; and
  • approaches flown to LPV minima

in TP 14727 - Pilot Proficiency Check and Aircraft Type Rating Flight Test Guide (Aeroplane) and TP 14728 - Pilot Proficiency Check and Aircraft Type Rating (Helicopter) and in chapter 10 of TP 14672 – Advanced Qualification Program Evaluator Manual.

Background

There is a need to address certain recent and important changes that will affect the conduct of flight checks in an expeditious manner and prior to the publication of revised guidance documents, namely both PPC and Aircraft Type Rating Flight Test Guides (where applicable) as well as the Advanced Qualification Program Evaluator Manual.

  • WITH RESPECT TO THE USE OF SCDA TECHNIQUES IN COMMERCIAL FLIGHT OPERATIONS:

In May 2012, the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) has recommended that:

  • The Department of Transport require the use of the stabilized constant descent angle (SCDA) approach technique in the conduct of non-precision approaches by Canadian operators.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has labelled this technique as a Continuous Descent Final Approach (CDFA) and defines it as “a technique, consistent with stabilized approach procedures, for flying the final approach segment of a non-precision approach (NPA) procedure as a constant descent, without level-off, from an altitude/height at or above the final approach fix altitude/height to a point approximately 15 m (50 ft) above the landing runway threshold or the point where the flare manoeuvre should begin for the type of aircraft flown.”  

NOTE - In the interest of respecting terminology already used in Transport Canada guidance documents (such as Advisory Circular 700-028 and the Aeronautical Information Manual) and promoting standardization with NAV CANADA charting protocols, the term SCDA will be applied.

Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) expects that the depiction, in the near term, of the optimum descent path on instrument approach charts, combined with up-to-date guidance with respect to training of SCDA procedures (in the form of Advisory Circular 700-028 and a new edition of the Instrument Procedures Manual), will encourage Canadian operators to actively promote their use as a means to reduce the risk of approach and landing accidents associated with non-precision approaches.

  • WITH RESPECT TO APPROACHES TO STALL:

TCCA recently published Advisory Circular (AC) 700-031 on the subject of prevention and recovery from aeroplane stalls.  This AC emphasizes the reduction of the angle of attack (AOA) as the most important response to any stall/approach to stall event, and that any actions to recover altitude loss and/or an appropriate flight profile can only be taken after a proper stall recovery has been achieved. 

In line with this revised guidance, TCCA must ensure it also revises its performance criteria with respect to the assessment of approaches to stall during flight checks.  From this point of view, it is necessary to avoid confusing an approach to stall with a stall, since recovery of the aircraft must take place from the onset of an approach to stall, and a stall must be avoided.

  • WITH RESPECT TO APPROACHES CONDUCTED TO LPV MINIMA:

It has become necessary to categorize approaches flown to LPV minimums as a precision or non-precision type of approach, since regulatory PPC schedules warrant that one approach of each type (where practicable) must be assessed during PPCs.

NAV CANADA has been working to extend Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) vertical service throughout much of Canada by establishing reference stations in Canada and linking them to the FAA WAAS network.  Approach procedures with vertical guidance (APV) classified as LPV (localizer performance with vertical guidance) may be flown using WAAS. 

LPV approaches share numerous similarities with ILS approaches.  The nominal final approach course vertical flight path angle of an LPV approach is 3°, avoiding the step-down minimum altitudes associated with traditional non-precision approaches.  LPV minima depict a decision altitude (DA), which requires the pilot to initiate a missed approach at the DA if the visual reference to continue the approach has not been established.

RNAV (GNSS) approaches with vertical guidance based on WAAS are entirely dependent on the WAAS signal, but since WAAS meets essentially the same navigation performance requirements (in terms of accuracy, integrity and continuity) as an ILS, pilots can expect that guidance will be similar to that provided by an ILS, with some improvement in signal stability over an ILS. The LPV approach design criteria are similar to ILS CAT I criteria, although the lowest currently attainable DA will be 250 ft HAT.

WAAS avionics continuously calculate integrity levels during an approach and will provide a message to the crew if alert limits are exceeded, which is analogous to ILS monitors that shut down an ILS signal when its accuracy does not meet the required tolerances.

For all these reasons, approaches conducted to LPV minima will be categorized as meeting the requirements of a precision approach for PPC purposes.  Additional performance criteria with respect to the conduct of these approaches will be inserted in TP 14727 - Pilot Proficiency Check and Aircraft Type Rating Flight Test Guide (Aeroplane) and TP 14728 - Pilot Proficiency Check and Aircraft Type Rating (Helicopter)

Intended Staff Guidance

  • WITH RESPECT TO THE USE OF SCDA TECHNIQUES DURING A FLIGHT CHECK:

While non-precision approach procedures are not inherently unsafe, the use of the traditional step-down descent technique for flying non-precision approaches is prone to error, and is therefore discouraged.  Exceptions to the use of an SCDA technique should be limited to circling approaches, approaches that require late maneuvering prior to landing, and situations where environmental conditions (such as in-cloud icing for example) would warrant a different technique.

Therefore, the following will be inserted in the PERFORMANCE CRITERIA section of non-precision instrument approaches as found in TP 14727 - Pilot Proficiency Check and Aircraft Type Rating Flight Test Guide (Aeroplane) and TP 14728 - Pilot Proficiency Check and Aircraft Type Rating (Helicopter) as well as in section 10.25 – Instrument Approaches of TP 14672 – Advanced Qualification Program Evaluator Manual.

“When using an SCDA technique while conducting the final approach segment of a non-precision approach to straight-in minima, the candidate will be assessed on his/her ability to:

  1. use temperature corrections to MDA / DA and other published altitudes, during cold weather operations;
  2. verify altitude and waypoint information, when supplied from a navigation database, against an independent source if available;
  3. compute a stable approach path that approximates an optimum descent angle in accordance with Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), by using any aircraft computer-generated approach path systems or other methods of computing stable approach paths to the target touchdown point, for example by determining an appropriate descent angle or descent rate;
  4. brief the anticipated procedure in accordance with SOPs, and in particular any additional altitude margin to the Minimum Descent Altitude (MDA), where applicable;
  5. maneuver the aircraft so as to commence the final approach segment in the proper configuration and at an appropriate indicated airspeed, in accordance with SOPs;
  6. overfly any step-down fix between the Final Approach Fix (FAF) and the Missed Approach Point (MAP) at or above the minimum altitude;
  7. carry out a continuous descent, without level-offs, to be flown based on the descent angle obtained from the approach chart or as determined by the flight crew member(s);
  8. meet all criteria for a stabilized approach by 1000 feet AGL under Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) or 500 feet AGL under Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC), or as defined by SOPs, in a timely manner;
  9. maintain an appropriate vertical profile to a point in space which will permit a safe landing with minimum manoeuvring if the required visual reference to continue to land has been established;
  10. initiate a missed approach if any stabilized approach parameter is not met by the applicable limit as established under criterion (h), or if the required visual reference necessary to continue to land has not been established, upon reaching the earlier of:
    1. MDA / DA; or
    2. the MAP; and
  11. commence the horizontal (lateral) navigation portion of the published missed approach procedure at the MAP.

Note: An air operator need not take advantage of an exemption to paragraph 602.128(2)(b) of the CARs in order to implement SCDA procedures. 

Without that exemption however, flight crews must be mindful to add an appropriate altitude margin to MDA if using it as a DA during an SCDA profile, so as to avoid flying below MDA should a missed approach be initiated because visual references to continue the approach to land have not materialized.

In air operations taking advantage of that exemption, a pilot may descend below a published MDA, even if the required visual reference necessary to continue the approach to land has not been established, after initiating a missed approach at MDA, when MDA is used as a DA at the end of an SCDA profile.  Approved Check Pilots should be aware that this exemption is subject to the following conditions:

  1. The pilot-in-command shall conduct a final approach descent with a planned SCDA from the final approach fix to a nominal landing runway threshold crossing height of 50 feet;
  2. The pilot-in-command shall initiate a missed approach upon reaching the earliest of either the MDA or the MAP, where the required visual reference necessary to continue the approach to land has not been established; 
  3. The pilot-in-command shall not conduct an SCDA approach on procedures requiring a remote altimeter setting correction; 
  4. The pilot-in-command shall conduct the instrument approach procedure to straight-in minima, and the final approach course shall not be more than 15 degrees from runway centreline; and 
  5. The pilot-in-command of Instrument Flight Rule (IFR) aircraft operated by the holder of an air operator certificate or a private operator certificate issued by the Minister shall maintain compliance with all of the requirements set out in the Schedule attached to this exemption.”
  • WITH RESPECT TO THE ASSESSMENT OF APPROACHES TO STALL DURING A FLIGHT CHECK:

Performance criteria, with respect to entering an approach to a stall and then minimizing a loss of altitude during its associated recovery, will be removed.  The Aim statement will no longer speak to a minimum loss of altitude.  The exercise will solely focus on the recovery aspect of the manoeuvre, and no longer on its entry. The ACP becomes responsible to introduce a situation resulting in inadequate thrust/power settings and/or attitude excursions that will cause a high Angle of Attack (AOA). Therefore, the following text will replace what is currently in place for exercise 12 – STALLS in TP 14727 - Pilot Proficiency Check and Aircraft Type Rating Flight Test Guide (Aeroplane) and TP 14728 - Pilot Proficiency Check and Aircraft Type Rating (Helicopter).

“12. APPROACHES TO STALL

Aim

To determine the candidate’s ability to recognize and recover promptly and correctly from an approach to a stall in various configurations, and avoid a stall.

Description

For the purpose of this manoeuvre, an approach to a stall may be identified at:

  • the first indication of aerodynamic buffeting, a lack of pitch authority, a lack of roll control, an inability to arrest a descent rate; and/or
  • the activation of stall warning devices, stick shaker and/or stick pusher devices (where installed).

When performed in an aeroplane, approaches to stall should take place with a clearly visible horizon during daylight conditions and with sufficient clearance from the ground and/or cloud. Approaches to stalls should be conducted at an altitude of at least 5000 feet AGL, and if above cloud at an altitude of at least 2000 feet above the cloud tops, or by using increased clearance requirements where specified by aircraft manufacturers or air operators.

Initial and upgrade PPCs require the following approaches to the stall:

  1. one in the take-off configuration, except where a zero-flap take-off configuration is normally used in that model and type of aeroplane;
  2. one in a clean configuration, preferably at a medium or high altitude; and
  3. one in a landing configuration.

For PPCs conducted in a synthetic flight training device, one of the approaches to stall will be performed while in a turn with a bank angle of between 15° and 30°.

For Subparts 704 and 705 PPCs conducted in a flight training device, ACPs need not evaluate approach to stalls when the PPC follows either a LOFT scenario (in applicable cases under Subpart 705 only), a scripted PPC or plan of action developed in accordance with the guidelines of Chapter 6 of the ACP Manual, or involves a fly-by wire aeroplane; and

  1. for an initial PPC on an aeroplane type, approaches to stalls have been satisfactorily demonstrated during initial training;
  2. for semi-annual or an annual PPC:
    1. approaches to stalls required in the applicable annual training syllabus were satisfactorily demonstrated during this training; or
    2. approaches to stalls are not part of the applicable annual training syllabus.

Performance Criteria      

Assessment of the candidate’s ability to:

  1. recognize the first indication of an approach to a stall (as listed in the Description section above);
  2. disconnect autopilot and autothrottle (if installed and engaged);
  3. apply nose down pitch control until indications of stall and/or stall warning significantly diminish or disappear, and trim as needed;
  4. roll to wings level using ailerons and apply rudder only as necessary to control sideslip;
  5. add or adjust power/thrust as needed;
  6. carry out configuration changes as recommended and ensure that speed brakes/spoilers (if installed) are retracted;
  7. recover to a safe airspeed and stabilized flight; and
  8. ensure that the aeroplane is in a suitable configuration by checking pertinent items from an appropriate checklist.”

With respect to the Advanced Qualification Program Evaluator Manual, the heading of subsection 10.20 is being changed to “Approach to Stall” only.  The content of this section does not convey the same premium on minimizing altitude loss during the recovery of an approach to a stall.  Only item (d) of paragraph 10.20.2 is being amended to read “a loss of altitude considered excessive or inappropriate to the situation” instead of “a significant altitude loss”, since a large altitude loss may be a reasonable outcome of a stall or approach to stall depending on the conditions under which the event takes place, such as at high altitudes.

  • WITH RESPECT TO APPROACHES CONDUCTED TO LPV MINIMA:

Performance criteria with regards to the preparation and conduct of approaches conducted to LPV minima are being added to the existing list of ILS precision approaches.

NOTE – The PPC Flight Test Report (form 26-0249) does not provide for an LPV circle on Approach lines 15 and 16.  Until such time as the form is amended to reflect this change among others, the ILS circle must be used when the precision approach requirement is met by way of an approach to LPV minimums.  A short statement to that effect should be drafted in the COMMENTS section of the form. Instructions to that effect contained in chapter 5 of the ACP Manual will consequently be updated in the manual’s next edition. 

The updated list of performance criteria for precision approaches reads as follows, with edits inserted in bold characters:

“Precision Instrument Approach (3D - ILS or LPV)

Performance Criteria

Assessment of the candidate’s ability to:

  1. select and comply with the ILS or LPV instrument approach procedure to be performed;
  2. establish two-way communications with ATC using the proper communications phraseology and techniques, either personally, or, if appropriate, directs co-pilot/safety pilot to do so, as required for the phase of flight or approach segment;
  3. comply in a timely manner, with all clearances, instructions, and procedures issued by ATC and advise accordingly if unable to comply;
  4. select, tune, identify and confirm the operational status of ground and aircraft navigation equipment to be used for the approach procedure, and in the case of an LPV approach, retrieve and validate the procedure from the appropriate database and conduct a RAIM check or similar operational check in accordance with SOPs;
  5. establish the appropriate aircraft configuration and airspeed/V-speed considering turbulence, wind shear, microburst conditions, or other meteorological and operating conditions;
  6. complete the aircraft checklist items appropriate to the phase of flight or approach segment, including engine-out approach and landing checklist, as appropriate;
  7. apply altitude corrections to published altitudes depicted on the approach chart used when aerodrome temperatures are 0 degrees Celsius or colder in accordance with the General Section of the Canada Air Pilot;
  8. apply necessary adjustment to the published Decision Height (DH) or Decision Altitude (DA) and visibility criteria for the aeroplane approach category when required, considering items such as NOTAMS, inoperative aeroplane and ground navigation equipment, inoperative visual aids associated with the landing environment;
  9. prior to final approach course, maintain declared or assigned altitudes within ±100 feet without descending below applicable minimum altitudes and maintain headings within ±10 degrees;
  10. on final approach course, allow no more than ½ scale deflection of the localizer and/or glide slope / glide path indications;
  11. during an approach to LPV minimums, confirm meeting Required Navigation Performance (RNP) criteria, such as an approach-active mode for example, prior to reaching the Final Approach Waypoint (FAWP) inbound on the final approach course, in accordance with SOPs;
  12. during an approach to LPV minimums, take appropriate action in the event that RNP criteria are no longer met when the aircraft is established on the final approach course;
  13. maintain declared approach airspeeds within +10/-5 knots;
  14. maintain a stabilized descent to the Decision Height (DH) or Decision Altitude (DA) to permit completion of the visual portion of the approach and landing with minimal manoeuvring; and
  15. initiate the missed approach procedure, upon reaching the DH/DA, when the required visual references for the intended runway are not obtained.”

Effective Date

This instruction takes effect on 01 June 2014, in order to allow for a short familiarization period with its content before it becomes necessary to introduce changes as required.  The next editions of TP 14727 - Pilot Proficiency Check and Aircraft Type Rating Flight Test Guide (Aeroplane) and TP 14728 - Pilot Proficiency Check and Aircraft Type Rating (Helicopter) and TP 14672 – Advanced Qualification Program Evaluator Manual will reflect these changes in due course.

Contact Person

Tom Dunn
Program Manager, Flight Crew Training, Evaluation and Examinations (AARTFE)
613-998-8168
tom.dunn@tc.gc.ca 

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