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Commentaires de l'EASA relatifs aux textes réglementaires sur l'HEMS (2011)


25 Nov 2010 CRD to NPA 2009-02a, 02b, 02f, 02g, 02g1

XII. SPA.HEMS: Subpart J - Helicopter emergency medical service operations

380. This Subpart contains the requirement for the specific approval for helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS). It transposes Appendix 1 to JAR-OPS 3.005(d) and partly the Working Paper HSST-WP-07-03.4. It is based on NPA Subpart D, Section IX (OPS.SPA.HEMS Helicopter emergency medical service operations).

381. The following table provides a rule title comparison between the NPA rules and the CRD rules.


Table 19: Rule title comparison for SPA.HEMS CRD rule reference

CRD rule title

NPA OPS rule reference

NPA OPS rule title


Helicopter emergency medical service operations (HEMS)


Helicopter emergency medical service operations (HEMS)


Equipment requirements for HEMS operations


Equipment requirements for HEMS operations






HEMS operating minima


HEMS operating minima


Performance requirements for HEMS operations


Performance requirements for HEMS operations


Crew requirements


Performance requirements for HEMS operations


HEMS medical passenger and other personnel briefing




Information and documentation




HEMS operating base facilities


HEMS operating base facilities


Fuel supply




Refuelling with passengers embarking, on board or disembarking




Helicopter emergency medical service operations (HEMS)


Helicopter emergency medical service operations (HEMS)


Crew requirements

AMC OPS.SPA.001.HEMS(b)(4)

Helicopter emergency medical service operations (HEMS)


Summary of main comments

382. From the comments received, it is apparent that there is still confusion between HEMS and mountain rescue operations; whereas HEMS is considered to be CAT, mountain rescue is considered to be a similar service in the sense of Article 1 of the Basic Regulation. The joint decision of the Agency and the JAAC to postpone transposition of TGL 43 to a future rulemaking task resulted in the exclusion of guidance in this respect. After discussing this issue in the helicopter working group, the drafting group looked into the possibility of including TGL 43 in the draft proposals. However, it was decided not to include the material at this stage as the publication deadlines prevented the required detailed and technical discussion. The rulemaking task OPS.057 will be used to address this issue and will therefore provide suitable opportunities for stakeholder consultation. However this does not prevent a Member State from using the guidance material of TGL 43 in the application of the Basic Regulation.

383. Following inclusion of HSST/WP-07/03.4 in the NPA text and the question related to which option to choose in the Explanatory Note to the NPA, commentators requested the following:

- several individuals repeated the opinion of the stakeholder organisation that represented them; these opinions only indicated the agreement with that opinion and were therefore set aside;

- 1 stakeholder organisation opted for option 2(a);

- 1 Member State and 1 stakeholder organisation opted for option 2(b); and

- 2 Member States and 1 manufacturer opted for option 2(c).

384. The Agency therefore decided to incorporate option 2(c), which means that HEMS operations to an operating site are only excluded from the specific risk assessment (see SPA.HEMS.125 (b)(2)). A risk assessment is already an element of HEMS operations, as explained in GM1-SPA.HEMS.100(a).

385. To facilitate implementation GM1-CAT.POL.H.305 (b) explains that a full authority digital engine control (FADEC), with recording and downloading facilities, could partly, or in whole, fulfill the usage monitoring system (UMS) requirement; the cost of compliance will consist only of the additional procedures and not equipment fitting.

386. Comments received highlighted the differences in implementation of the JAR rules in the JAA Member States. As explained in the Explanatory memorandum for Part-CAT to the Section CAT.POL.H (148.ff), some problems appear to exist only in a limited number of Member States. it can therefore be deduced that this stems either from a national variant (presumably addressing a very specific localised problem) or incorrect application.

387. In the case of HEMS operations and the designation of public interest sites, the problems could be caused by several countries not implementing, nor using, JAA Section 2 material and possibly misunderstandings on the philosophy behind the rules. This is further illustrated by the fact that not all Member States have highlighted the same problems.

388. Based on standardisation results, only 14 out of 41 JAA Member States were recommended for mutual JAR-OPS 3 recognition by the JAA; some comments are indicative of unfamiliarity with JAR-OPS 3 philosophy and principles and, consequently, the Agency's proposals.

389. Additionally, the underlying reasons for problems with the proposals were not clearly stated in the comments, indicating that a further and more detailed examination of the issue was required. This further examination should be conducted as part of a separate proposal to amend the existing requirements and conclusions transferred to a future rulemaking task, bearing in mind that rulemaking may not necessarily be the best way to address the issue. Changing the current requirements on the basis of these comments would not do justice to those who have not commented because they are in agreement with the current set of requirements.

390. For the above-mentioned reason the Agency did not change the intent of the JAR-OPS 3 requirements; the HEMS philosophy and the discussion of the conditions associated with public interest sites have both been transposed into GM and it should therefore be clear why the requirements have been transposed from JAR-OPS 3. Deviations should be addressed using the flexibility provisions of the Basic Regulation.

391. Due to the nature of HEMS operations (i.e. it is an operation in the interest of the general public), it attracts alleviation from the CAT rules, such as reduced operating minima, landing at unsurveyed sites and low level operations. These alleviations can only be used when appropriately mitigated. The mitigation for these three issues is "an extra pair of eyes‟ in the co-pilot front seat of the helicopter. It is well known, and understood, that this precludes some small helicopters from HEMS operations, even though they may be certificated under Category A and eligible for PC1 operations. A stretcher cannot be used as a seat; if the fitting of a stretcher prevents the HEMS crew member from sitting up front and assisting the pilot it does not satisfy the requirements for HEMS operations; for that reason, the reference to a co-pilot seat in the rule is considered clear enough.

Summary of main changes

Compared with the NPA

392. Elements of Appendix 1 to JAR-OPS 3.005(d), initially included in AMC/GM material of the NPA have been moved to IR level to reinstate a better balance between the requirements and the AMC/GM.

Compared with EU-OPS/JAR-OPS 3

393. Definitions and terminology items originally contained in Appendix 1 to JAR-OPS 3.005(h) and used in IR have been transposed to Annex I - Definitions. Those definitions and terms used only in AMC/GM have been transposed in an AMC to Annex I - Definitions.

Specific issues

SPA.HEMS.100 Helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS)

394. This section now contains only elements for the additional HEMS approval; all other elements are covered by the issuance of the AOC, which is one of the conditions to be met. The requirement therefore addresses only variations to the AOC.

SPA.HEMS.120 HEMS operating minima

395. The Agency had omitted to include the full paragraph (c)(4)(ii) of the JAR-OPS 3 HEMS Appendix. The missing text has now been included.

396. Further comments were received on crediting the use of NVIS and therefore lowering the operating minima, which was not accepted.

397. Since the minimum crew is always one pilot and one HEMS technical crew member, the one pilot operating minima apply to this crew composition, whereas the two pilot operating minima apply only to those cases where the crew consists of two pilots. The HEMS technical crew member is not a pilot and therefore the operation cannot be credited as such. The fact that the one pilot operating minima are already lower than the standard operating minima is already taking into consideration the additional HEMS technical crew member (see also SPA.HEMS.130).

398. One commentator requested a definition of the "short duration of time‟ used when reduction of operating minima is applied in accordance with the requirement. The Agency‟s position is that this cannot be defined and should remain at the pilot‟s discretion. Even the example provided in the comment could be considered to be too long in some cases. Based on good crew resource management (CRM) principles, good airmanship and the application of the guidance it is the commander‟s responsibility not to proceed with the mission when the aviation risk (loss of control due to inadvertent IMC) is no longer proportional to the task (see GM1-SPA.HEMS.100(a)).

SPA.HEMS.125 Performance requirements for HEMS operations

399. Text has been added as a result of the consultation on HSST/WP-07/03.4. The requirements provide for exposure (this term is used to avoid the longer correct term "operation without an assured safe forced landing capability‟) during take-off and landing in the cases defined in (b). It needs to be emphasised that exposure in performance class 1 (PC1) and performance class 2 (PC2) is not equal to performance class 3 (PC3) operations. Therefore the argument put forward by some commentators, that a helicopter that is unable to meet the PC1 or PC2 requirements at high "density altitudes‟, does not justify the application of PC3 criteria below those altitudes where PC2 would otherwise be possible.

AMC1-SPA.HEMS.125(b)(3) Performance requirements for HEMS operations

400. Several comments were received on the AMC setting an acceptable means of compliance for the HEMS operating site dimensions. Although the decision on the suitability of the size can only be that of the commander, there should be a safeguard in terms of risk-taking. As the operation is classified as CAT, it is necessary to limit the risk to a reasonable level, as described in the HEMS philosophy (see GM1-SPA.HEMS.100(a)). The rule itself already stipulates that the site shall be big enough to provide adequate clearance from all obstructions; the use of dimensions is therefore deemed necessary as an indication of what is an acceptable risk to take. It is equally important in the mountains to provide clearance from obstacles. Whilst it is understood that this may be in a different form from a flat landing site, the obligation is still there to ensure that it is safe to land. The only exception is for HEMS HHO, which is clearly indicated in that particular rule. A HEMS operating site by definition has nothing to do with ICAO Annex 14, therefore the dimensions are only stated to ensure obstacle clearance.

SPA.HEMS.130 Crew requirements

401. The balance between rule and AMC/GM has been reconsidered. The rule has been adapted by splitting it in subparagraphs setting specific criteria and objectives for selection, experience, qualification, recency and crew composition. Training and checking requirements are set for flight crew and the technical crew, as well as a requirement for a specific briefing for HEMS medical passengers.

402. The 30 minutes‟ flying by sole reference to instruments is intended as a mitigating procedure to prevent pilots from losing control when inadvertently entering IMC. Since it is not a recognised procedure in the sense of FCL, there is no need to require this to be instructed by a flight instructor (FI), as one Member State suggested.

403. Both for legal clarity and due to comments received, the exceptional circumstances under which the crew may be reduced have been spelt out in paragraph (e)(1).

404. A new AMC has been added to the paragraph (a) to satisfy comments that there are many examples where the "medical passenger‟ is a member of a permanent HEMS team. If the "medical passenger‟ receives regular training, there is no need for a briefing prior to any, or series of, flight(s).

AMC1-SPA.HEMS.130(e) Crew requirements

405. The text has been re-ordered to emphasize what should be considered the primary task (referred to in the summary of comments as "an extra pair of eyes‟) of the HEMS technical crew member and which secondary tasks may be delegated to this crew member by the commander.

GM1-SPA.HEMS.130(e)(2)(ii) Crew requirements

406. GM added to explain what is intended with the term "specific geographical area‟.

AMC2-SPA.HEMS.130(f)(4) Crew requirements

407. The original text has been adapted to indicate more precisely the intent of the rule and to provide guidance because comments indicated that an operator is generally unable to provide familiarisation training to all such ground emergency services personnel.

SPA.HEMS.140 Information and documentation

408. Several comments requested the reintroduction of a requirement for an operations manual supplement. The requirement for a supplement would not be an objective rule, as it would prevent an integrated operations manual. However, this paragraph now defines which HEMS specific elements shall be addressed in the operations manual required by OR.OPS.MLR. It is for the operator to decide how best to include these elements, which may be in the form of a supplement.

409. Several elements initially contained in AMC/GM have now been included in IR to remain consistent throughout the specific approvals for helicopter operations.

SPA.HEMS.145 HEMS operating base facilities

410. A comment suggested more precision in describing what a suitable accommodation should consists of. However, occupational health requirements are not within the remit of this legislation and no changes were made to the text in this respect.

SPA.HEMS.150 Fuel supply

411. This text has been included as a commentator addressed the need to make appropriate provisions for HEMS operations, suggesting that the alleviation contained originally in Appendix 1 to JAR-OPS 3.005(f) should also be applicable to HEMS.

SPA.HEMS.155 Refuelling with passengers embarking, on board or disembarking

412. The rule has been reintroduced from JAR-OPS 3 to be consistent with Part-CAT.

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