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Flight Operations SOP


1. PURPOSE. To set forth policies and procedures that govern the Flight Operations Section in a tactical environment, to include the duties and responsibilities of Operations personnel.
(This is not to be misconstrued as applicable in all situations. When the unit operates at the AASF, then procedures followed are those set forth in the AASF SOP. If the unit operates at an installation or under direct operation of a parent unit, then their SOP would apply. This SOP is specifically for the unit operating in an environment other than those mentioned.)

2. SCOPE. To prescribe the organization, function, duties and procedures applicable to the Flight Operations Section and Flight Crews.

3. ORGANIZATION.
Flight Operations functions under S3, Squadron Headquarters
(a) Chain of command is: Commander, Executive Officer,
Operations Officer, Flight Operations, Troop Commanders,
Troop Section Leaders or designated representatives, as
included in the Squadron order for "briefing Officers"
(b) Assistant Operations Officer (additional duty)
(c) Aviation Operations Sergeant/Platoon Sergeant
(d) Communications Specialists
(e) Switchboard Operator
(f) Other assigned personnel as required for the operation

4. FUNCTIONS.
The Flight Operations Section
(a) The flight operations section plans and coordinates
all flight operations in the unit including
(b) Operational Flight Planning.
(c) Flight Briefing, Dispatch and tracking of flights with log(s).
(d) Maintenance of flight records.
(e) Tactical communications support for the unit.
(f) Continuous monitoring of communications equipment
(g) Management of Lift and Aeromedical evacuation requests.
(h) Management of aircraft recovery operations.
(I) Coordination for aerial logistical support missions
(j) Implement unit level and higher echelon directives.
(k) Secure and issue the mission essential equipment such as
keys, publications, navigation kits, hoods, radios, NVG's, water wings and survival kits as the situation dictates.
(l) Assist in supervising the unit safety programs.
(m) Additional duties shall include, unless provided for by
attached units: Weather Updates, ASET II, Hazards logs and
Fire recon.

5. COORDINATION WITH SUPPORT ELEMENTS
Flight Operations will closely monitor Refuel/Rearm Functions
(a) Only those personnel actually refueling the
aircraft will be in the immediate area during refueling.
(b) No refueling operations will be conducted within 50 feet of
an aircraft with engine running unless Hot Refueling Procedures are being used.
(c) A distance of 20 feet will be maintained between units.
(d) Access to the fire extinguisher is always available.
(e) No smoking within 50 feet during refueling operations.
(f) A static ground cable will be connected from the servicing
unit to grounding stakes. The fuel nozzle will be grounded.
(g) Avoid contact of fuel with skin. When contact cannot be
avoided, wash skin with mild soap and water.
(9) Fuel, oil and hydraulic fluid is toxic to the skin.
(10) Personnel must wear protective clothing when handling fuel.

5. DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES.
a. Flight Operations Officer. The Flt Ops officer is responsible for
the over-all planning, conduct, and coordination of unit flights.
(1) Keeps abreast of current situation and makes
recommendations on courses of action.
(2) Establishes a training program for Flt Ops personnel.
(3) Insures displacement of TAC/TOC when unit is moved.
(4) Maintains an intelligence system to include the
tactical situation map and forwards newly obtained intel.
(5) Coordinates with maintenance regarding aircraft readiness.
(6) Maintains the daily reports as required.
(7) Forwards required reports to higher headquarters.
(8) Insures that flight operations and records are maintained.
(9) Insures that flight crews meet APART requirements.
(10) Insures that communication capabilities are maintained.
(11) Makes recommendations to the Aviation Safety Officer
and Councils concerning hazards and topics of safety.

b. Assistant Flight Operations Officer (Not a TOE position).
(1) Assumes duties of the Operations Officer if he is absent.
(2) Assists the Flt Ops in completion of assigned duties.

c. Operations Section Sergeant.
(1) Supervises the Flight Operations section and personnel.
(2) Responsible for the training of the Flt Ops personnel.
(3) Responsible for the welfare of personnel assigned to FltOps
(4) Maintains personnel and equipment accountability
(5) Ensures that the administrative functions are completed.

d. Aviation Operations/Communications Specialists and Operators.
The Flight Operations Specialists and the Radio Operators work
together utilizing their individual specialties to maintain a 24-hour operation. They are allowed to operate within the Tactical Operations Center restricted area, and accept missions of a routine nature IAW this SOP and directives of the operations officer.

(1) Flight Operations Specialist.
(a) Records and posts flight records.
(b) Assists in maintenance of operations equipment.
(2) Radio Telephone Operator.
(a) Logs all communications to include primary mission
requests, aircraft flight following reports, and other
messages received over the communications network.
(b) Adheres to current CEOI procedures.
(c) Uses the authentication procedure as necessary
(d) Thoroughly briefs his relief as the status dictates.
(e) Assists the flight Operations Sergeant as assigned.

e. Flight Operations should know status of the following:
(1) Supply and Class3/5 Stock levels to determine rate of
usage and prevent shortages.
(2) Forecast POL, solvents and preservative needs (FM 10-67).
(3) Submit aviation fuel requirements IAW OPORD, or TSOP.

6. PROCEDURES.
a. General. Assigned missions will have priority over all other
requirements, with the exception of emergencies.
(1) All aircraft missions will be coordinated through Flt Ops.
(2) Aircraft will be assigned according to mission priority,
administrative or training mission requirements.
(3) The operations officer will coordinate the aircraft
availability with the maintenance officer on a continuous
and timely basis with accurate records kept to document it.
(4) The missions will dictate the hours of operation readiness.
(5) The operations officer or an assistant operations officer will be present in or readily available at all times. At least one flight operations specialist will be present in operations at all times.
(6) All operational missions will be flown with full crew unless otherwise directed.
(7) PIC for each assigned mission will be determined by order in the aircrew designation Matrix. Air mission commander (AMC) will be assigned for multiple ship operations.
(8) Radio discipline will be exercised and ComCards will be used as directed by mission briefings. Radio transmissions will be mission essential, short, to the point, and comply with current SOI/CEOI.
(9) A Hazard Map will be maintained and updated daily.
(10) Facilities will be provided for mission briefing,
flight planning, and alert accommodations.
(11) Crash rescue equipment and procedures will be tested
periodically as set forth in Safety and Pre Accident Plans
(12) The maintenance section will be immediately
informed of any reported maintenance problems.

b. Communications.
(1) It is essential that communications equipment be set up,
properly maintained and operated by trained and fully
qualified personnel.
(2) Maintenance and Servicing of communication
equipment will comply with all Field Manuals.
(3) During unit movement every effort will be made to keep the
radio nets open for operational needs.
(4) Upon arriving at the assigned area, the operations site
should be selected first and assembly of communications
equipment begin as quickly as possible.
(5) Flt Ops will be accountable for field phones but not wire.
(6) In the event of any communication failure, the
operations officer will be notified immediately.
(7) When the unit is ordered to move, the operations
section will remain functional either from the advance or main unit.
(8) Communications will be maintained during the hours
specified by the Operations Officer.

c. Flight Following.
(1) Unless assigned to a unit or area of operation which has an established flight following service,the unit flight operations will provide its own flight following capability.
(2) All organic aircraft will comply with flight following procedures established during the flight briefing.
(3) The following are mandatory radio calls to Flt Ops:
(a) Initial Departure
(b) Arrival at final destination
(c) Unforecast weather or hazards encountered
(4) The following other reports shall be made to Flt Ops:
(a) Aircraft maintenance status upon landing.
(b) Crew Status
(c) Other notes critical to mission
(5) When going to a remote site which negates two-way radio communications, the PIC will coordinate a flight following procedure with the Flt Ops prior to departure.


d. Advanced Party Flight Operations Element.
(1) Personnel from the operations section may be designated by the flight operations Officer to react if a
situation develops that would require its use.
(2) Equipment, at a minimum, would include portable radio antenna, microphones and headsets, will be prepared and located within the operations area so that it can be expeditiously loaded and transported by aircraft or ground.
(3) Upon notification of a unit move or other requirement for this advance unit, the assigned personnel will insure appropriate equipment is loaded on the designated vehicle. They will accompany that equipment to the new location.

7. PRIORITIES.
The following are categories of precedence and the criteria used in their assignment will determine appropriate actions.
(1) Priority I - URGENT/ EMERGENCY: as soon as possible
response within a maximum of 2 hours in order to save life,
limb, or eyesight, to prevent life threatening conditions.
(2) Priority 2 - SERVICE When required by higher headquarters
(3) Priority 3 - ROUTINE Training missions fit this description
(4) Priority 4 - CONVENIENCE is assigned to requests which can be accommodated without additional resources to above missions.



8. ARMED ESCORT
Armed Helicopter Support For Outside Units.
(A) Gunship support will normally be requested/coordinated by
the support unit, which will provide call sign and frequency.
(B) Mission requests, that state an unsecured LZ or
troops in contact, will normally require an armed escort.
(C) If a mission dictates an armed escort, Supported unit and
gunship aircraft will rendezvous at a predetermined point
and coordinate the mission.
(D) LZ criteria will be decided at mission planning with the
final decision resting with the PIC of landing aircraft.
(E) Pilots may request an alternate LZ's at their discretion.

9. SEARCH AND RESCUE.
While capable of this mission, the rescue part is difficult in AH-1F.
These should be treated as area recon with lift support request.
(A) Missions will be assigned by higher headquarters.
(B) Mission requirements and aircraft availability will be the
determining factors in density and extent of search.

10. FLIGHT CREW DUTIES.
The following listed duties apply to all flight crews in the exercise of their responsibilities to complete assigned missions.
(A) Pilot in Command (PIC) is responsible for safe and orderly
completion of all assigned missions.
(B) Upon termination of mission, report to Flt Ops with aircraft status and any other reports as required.
(C) Will insure that Flt Ops or relieving crew is briefed on current situation.
(D) Is responsible to checkout NVGs, if required, and return.

11. SAFETY and GENERAL POLICY.
This policy provides a concept for mission risk assessment.
(A) PIC will conduct a risk assessment for all missions and
provide a written copy to Flight Operations with Flt Plan.
(B) Crew rest of all flight crews will be monitored by the
Flight Operations Officer, as well as Troop Commanders and be a major factor considered when assigning flight crews.
(C) Missions of High Risk shall be briefed only by the Squadron Commander.
(D) The risk analysis forms establish major factors. Additional
factors may enter into the final evaluation at the
discretion of the crew, however, not to lessen the risks
documented on the forms.
(E) Preventable risk can be reduced or eliminatedby carefully evaluating alternatives to operational parameters within existing resources and technology without unacceptable impediment to the mission.

12. OVERDUE AIRCRAFT PROCEDURES
Overdue aircraft procedures will be initiated by operations personnel if aircraft have exceeded their downtime by 30 minutes.
(A) The Operations Officer will initiate overdue aircraft
procedures by performing:
(1) Immediate area ramp search.
(2) Telephonic search to the aircraft destinations.
(3) Radio search to try to contact the helicopter or
other aircraft in the vicinity helicopter.
(B) If the aircraft is not found:
(1) Notify Commander and Squadron Safety Officer.
(2) Initiate Pre-Accident Plan
(3) Contact higher headquarters for guidance (to
coordinate search and rescue operations).
(4) Notify and coordinate aircraft recovery team.

Recommendations or suggestions for appropriate changes to this document are welcome and encouraged in order to most accurately reflect current doctrine and operational directives. Comments should be addressed to the Flight Operations Officer.