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Chapter 8. Flight procedures

Table of Contents
8.1. VFR/IFR policy
8.2. Altimeter setting procedures
8.3. RVSM
8.4. In-flight fuel management
8.5. Hazardous atmospheric conditions
8.6. All Weather Operations
8.7. Miscellaneous flight procedures

8.1. VFR/IFR policy

When controlled airspace exists between departure and destination airports, flights will be planned to remain within that airspace. Where controlled airspace does not exist, advisory airspace will be used if available.

Where a flight is planned to remain within controlled or advisory airspace, flight outside that airspace should only be considered for safety reasons.{TODO: EOM-A then goes on to contradict itself, saying that you can fly outside controlled airspace after all e.g. if you are VMC in sight of airfield or flying in airspace known to be clear of other traffic}. The maximum level of radar service should be sought whenever outside controlled airspace. Flight in uncontrolled airspace without radar cover requires authorisation from the duty pilot.

VFR flight should be considered exceptional and must be authorised by the post holder flight operations. It must be conducted in accordance with the normal VFR minimum visibility and distance for cloud regulations, set out in EOMA 8.1.4/

[EOM-A 8.3.1, EOM-A 8.1.1.1]

8.2. Altimeter setting procedures

On the ground, the main altimeters should be within 20ft of each other and within 25ft of the airfield elevation. The ISIS should be within 100ft of the main altimeters.

easyJet is a QNH operator. Main altimeters should be set to 1013 when cleared to a flight level during climbout and set to QNH when cleared to an altitude during descent. The standby altimeter should remain on QNH until passing MSA during climbout and should be set to QNH before passing FL200 in the descent.

[EOM-A 8.3.4, FCOM PRO.SUP.34]

8.3. RVSM

RVSM airspace is airspace above FL290 where only 1000ft vertical separation is maintained. All easyJet aircraft are RVSM approved.

On entry to RVSM airspace the following equipment must be installed and serviceable: 2 primary altimeters, one automatic altitude control system, one altitude alerting system and one SSR transponder with altitude reporting. The primary altimeters must agree within 200ft. The altimeter being used to control the aircraft should normally be selected as the input to the transponder. If equipment failure leads to loss of RVSM capability, inform ATC immediately.

ATC must also be notified if severe turbulence is encountered.

[EOM-A 8.3.3.13]

8.4. In-flight fuel management

All flights require a written fuel check at the top of climb, then further written checks at intervals of 1 hour or less.

Company Normal Reserves (CNR) is defined as ALTN + FINRES (see Section 6.5, “Pre-flight fuel planning”). The OFP provides a Minimum Fuel Required (MFR) value for each planned waypoint. MFR is CNR plus the planned remaining fuel burn to destination. The fuel check should record Actual Fuel On Board (FOB) at a planned waypoint and compare this with MFR. The difference should be CONT + EXTRA + ~40kg per minute that you are early passing the waypoint due to shortcuts. If the FOB is less than this without reasonable explanation then the possibility of a fuel leak should be considered.

If it is determined that fuel on landing at destination will be below CNR, action must be taken to reduce fuel burn. Options include flying at CI=0, changing levels or requesting shortcuts. If fuel burn cannot be reduced sufficiently to land with more than CNR, a decision must be made whether to divert or continue to destination. A decision to continue to destination is a committal to land there, and is permissible if landing is assured and the maximum anticipated delay is known. A landing is considered assured if no forecast weather deterioration or single failure of ground or airborne equipment can prevent landing. In general this means that Cat I minimas must be available at Cat III equipped aerodromes and non-precision minimas must be available at Cat I equipped aerodromes.

If it is determined that any change in current clearance would result in a landing with less than final reserve fuel, declare "Minimum fuel" to ATC. This is not an emergency call, just a heads up. If it is determined that the fuel on landing will be less than final reserve, a MAYDAY call should be made.

[EOM-A 8.3.8]

8.5. Hazardous atmospheric conditions

8.5.1. Thunderstorms

Do not attempt to land or take-off when a thunderstorm is overhead or approaching.

Avoid thunderstorms by 20nm when above 20,000ft. Below 20,000ft avoid by 10nm:

  • any echoes with 'hooks', 'fingers', scalloped edges or other protrusions

  • any echoes with sharp edges, strong intensities or strong gradients of intensity

  • any echoes showing rapid change of intensity, shape or height

If overflying maintain at least 5000ft vertical clearance.

In general it is preferable to be upwind of a thunderstorm; severe turbulence and hail are most often encountered on the downwind side. In particular avoid flying underneath the anvil or in the cirrus or cirrostratus layers downwind of the storm. The greatest probability of severe turbulence and lightning strikes is near the 0°C isotherm, so avoid this level.

If an area of thunderstorm activity cannot be avoided, set the aircraft up for turbulence (autopilot on, autothrust disconnected when thrust changes become excessive, thrust as per QRH 5.01), heavy icing (anti-ice systems all on) and heavy precipitation (ignitors on). Turn up the cockpit lighting fully and lower the crew seats to prevent blindness from lightning flashes. Disregard the ADF. Penetrate lines of thunderstorms at 90° using the weather radar to identify the path of least activity. Once inside a thunderstorm maintain heading as this is likely to be the shortest path through it. If manual flight is required maintain attitude and expect large variations in altitude.

[EOM-A 8.3.9, UK AIC P056/2010, FCOM PRO.SUP.91.10]

8.5.2. Turbulence

The cabin crew should be informed of any forecast turbulence during the pre-flight brief.

When reporting turbulence to ATC, the term "severe turbulence" indicates that the aircraft is momentarily out of control and the term "extreme turbulence" indicates that the aircraft is practically impossible to control and likely to be suffering structural damage.

[EOM-A 8.3.9.3]

8.6. All Weather Operations

8.6.1. Determination of minima

Determination of aerodrome minima is discussed in Section 6.3, “Aerodrome Operating Minima”

8.6.2. Approach Ban

An approach must not be continued below 1000ft AAL unless the RVR or Met Visibility is sufficient to comply with aerodrome minima. Once below 1000ft AAL the approach may be continued even if conditions worsen.

[EOM-A 8.4.3]

8.6.3. Required visual reference

An approach should not continue below relevant DH/DA/eDA unless the required visual reference is attained.

No visual reference is required for Cat IIIB operations with no DH. At least one centre line light must be attained for Cat IIIB operations with DH.

Cat IIIA operations require 3 consecutive lights. These can be the centre-line lights of the approach lighting, the TDZ lights, the runway centre line lights or the runway edge lights. Cat II operations require the same reference as Cat IIIA plus a lateral element of the ground pattern (e.g. an approach lighting crossbar). Cat I LTS operations require the same reference as Cat II.

easyJet policy is to use autoland systems for all Cat I LTS, Cat II and Cat III approaches.

For non-precision approaches the threshold, touch down zone, PAPIs or suitable parts of the approach or runway lighting system must be distinctly visible and identifiable.

[EOM-A 8.4.4, EOM-A 8.4.5, EOM-A 8.4.9]

8.6.4. Consecutive missed approaches

A third consecutive approach to the same airfield should only be considered if neither missed approach was due to weather or when there has been a significant improvement in weather conditions. Exceptionally, if only one of the missed approaches was due to weather and landing is considered assured a third approach may be flown.

[EOM-A 8.4.2]

8.7. Miscellaneous flight procedures

8.7.1. Controlled rest

Controlled rest is defined as a period "off task", that may include sleep. It may be used at the commander's discretion to manage unexpected fatigue; if it is felt likely before flight that controlled rest will be required, the flight should not depart.

The period of controlled rest should be no longer than 45 minutes in order to avoid periods of deep sleep with their associated long recovery times; multiple controlled rest periods within a single sector are acceptable. A crew member should not be left in sole control of the aircraft for a period of 20 minutes after the completion of a period of controlled rest. Controlled rest periods should terminate at least 30 minutes before top of descent.

The resting crew member should wear their full harness and adjust their seat to minimise the chances of interfering with controls.

The cabin crew should be appraised of any controlled rest periods being taken so that they can increase their monitoring of the alertness of the remaining flight crew member. Appropriate alarm devices may also be useful as a line of last defence.

[EOM-A 8.3.11.1]

8.7.2. Flight deck door

Except for essential entry and egress of crew, the flight deck door should remain locked whenever the engines are running. The door should be unlocked for the minimum time possible, and whenever it is unlocked it should be guarded by a cabin crew member standing outside the flight deck and facing the cabin. The flight crew should monitor compliance via CCTV or spy-hole before unlocking the door. If a pilot needs to leave the flight deck a member of cabin crew must remain in the flight deck.

[EOM-A 8.3.11.1, EOM-A 8.3.12]

8.7.3. Crew seating and harnesses

Both pilots must wear full harnesses whenever the "fasten belts" sign is on. Seats should only be moved from their normal flying position when in level cruise. If a pilot leaves his seat, the other pilot should wear his full harness and have his seat in the normal flying position.

An encyclopedic list of people authorised to use the flight deck jump seat may be found at EOM-A 8.3.13. Some of these will only be entitled to use the jump seat if they carry a valid cockpit permit.

[EOM-A 8.3.12.1, EOM-A 8.3.13]

8.7.4. Incapacitation of crew members

It may be assumed that a crew member is incapacitated if he does not respond appropriately to two verbal communications or does not respond to a verbal communication associated with a significant deviation from a standard flight profile.

If the incapacitation occurs when the aircraft is on approach, fully configured, and visual with the runway, the landing should be completed. Otherwise, other crew should be summoned to care for the incapacitated crew member, an emergency should be declared and a diversion should be made to the nearest suitable airport. The incapacitated crew member must take no further part in the flight, even if he appears to have fully recovered. Medical advice should be sought by the remaining crew before further flying.

[EOM-A 8.3.15]

8.7.5. Passenger electronic equipment

Passengers may use mobile phones on the aircraft whenever the doors are open, including when fuelling. Passengers may also use mobile phones at the commander's discretion during extended delays on the ground, including when remote holding with running engines. Use of non-transmitting PEDs or transmitting PEDs in “flight mode” is permitted in all phases of flight except during LVOs. There is no requirement for passengers to remove headphones at any time.

[EOM-A 8.3.23]

8.7.6. Skills retention

Where conditions are suitable it is permissible and encouraged that crew regularly practice flying with deliberately reduced levels of automation. It is also permissible to make an approach utilising reduced levels of approach guidance (e.g. an NDB approach when an ILS is available). A thorough briefing of intentions is required in both cases. The maximum bank angle permitted with flight directors off is 25°.

It is permissible to practice LVO approaches, but these should generally be restricted to times when ATC is able to protect the ILS sensitive areas. It is acceptable to set up the systems using LVO minima, but the Cat I minimas will be the legal minimas (LVPs will not be in force) and appropriate calls should be made against these minimas by PNF.

It is not permitted to practice abnormal and emergency procedures by intentionally disabling systems.

[EOM-A 8.3.19, EOM-A 8.3.20]

8.7.7. Communications policy

VHF1 will be used for the active ATC frequency and must be monitored by both pilots at all times. VHF2 may be set to 121.5 when it is not operationally necessary to use it for other purposes. Whenever set to 121.5 both pilots should monitor VHF2.

Headsets must be used on the ground whenever engines are running or when copying an ATC clearance. Headsets may be removed in level cruise, but must be worn in all other phases. Headsets should be worn covering both ears except when engaged in three way communication with ground crew when use of the intercom may lead to confusion.

Calls to handling agents or OCC should only be made in level flight and should be completed at least 15 nm prior to top of descent.

[EOM-A 8.3.21]