AMRDEC Tech Talk By Mr. David B. Cripps
This situation was at best awkward in Aviation Foreign Internal Defense missions conducted jointly and particularly troublesome when involving Russian-built helicopters. In a series of three ALARACT (All Army Activities) messages, Army senior leadership provided policy guidance requiring risk acceptance at the general officer (GO) level for passenger operations on Mi-8/17 series helicopters.
This situation was at best awkward in Aviation Foreign Internal Defense missions conducted jointly and particularly troublesome when involving Russian-built helicopters. In a series of three ALARACT (All Army Activities) messages, Army senior leadership provided policy guidance requiring risk acceptance at the general officer (GO) level for passenger operations on Mi-8/17 series helicopters. Flying as aircrew on these aircraft was even more restrictive, essentially prohibiting Army Aviators to operate Russian-built helicopters in all but the most critical of missions. The Air Force and Navy, however, had no such restrictions. But many of the support contracts were Army contracts, which necessarily follow Army regulations.
To remedy this situation, the Joint Staff assembled a team of aviation and airworthiness experts from the Joint Staff, the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), all the Services and several combatant commands to develop an overarching DoD Airworthiness Policy, which was formally published in April 2013 as DoD Directive 5030.61. This new policy clarified the requirement that all aircraft on which DoD personnel (including uniformed military, civil service employees and contractors performing on a DoD contract) fly must have been certified as airworthy by a recognized airworthiness authority.
Many aircraft are considered to be fully airworthy for Army purposes. Army personnel may fly as passenger, and when appropriately trained, as aircrew aboard these aircraft. They include:
- U.S. military (USN, USMC and USAF) aircraft certified as airworthy by their Service airworthiness authority (AA);
- U.S. civil registered aircraft with FAA-issued Type Certificate (TC), any applicable Amended or Supplemental TCs (ATC or STCs) and current Certificate of Airworthiness (CoA) for the current configuration, and operated and maintained in accordance with the approved flight and maintenance manuals;
- Contractor-owned aircraft not in an approved civil configuration but holding an airworthiness certification from a U.S. Service AA;
- Other U.S. Government Agency aircraft certified as airworthy by their Agency and operated/maintained under provisions of Federal Management Regulation 33-102, Management of Federal Aircraft;
- Non-U.S. civil registered aircraft for countries holding a current FAA International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) Category 1 rating (see http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/iasa/ for current listing) with TC and applicable ATC/STCs and current CoA issued by the nation’s civil aviation authority (CAA) for the current configuration of the aircraft;
- Foreign military aircraft certified as airworthy by their country’s Military Airworthiness Authority (MAA) after that MAA has been assessed and formally recognized by the U.S. DoD’s National Airworthiness Council. Current recognized countries include Australia, Czech Republic, Israel, New Zealand, Singapore, Sweden, and United Kingdom. Assessments are currently being planned for France, Italy, Norway, Poland, and Turkey.
Mr. David B. Cripps is the deputy director of the Aviation Engineering Directorate of the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) located at Redstone Arsenal, AL.