Validation Flight Top 10 FAQ’s

Is the FAA first class medical valid for 12 months, if under the age of 40 in international operations?

Yes, this is correct if you are operating with a Commercial Pilot certificate. If your certificate is an Airline Transport Pilot, the FAA Class One will expire at the end of the 6th month for USA operations, 6 months from the DATE of examination for ICAO operations. Specific countries may have different expirations and can be found in their Aeronautical Information Publication, AIP. Annex 1, Chapter 2, Paragraph, 14CFR 61.23

How do you determine which countries/regions/airspaces allow the use of Strategic Lateral Offset Procedure, SLOP?

The Aeronautical Information Publication, AIP for a particular country will detail how procedures are applied inside that country’s  airspace. ICAO Document #4444, Chapter 15, Para 15.2.4 indicates that SLOP can be applied to enroute Oceanic and remote continental operations.

What is the bottom-line for international procedures, ICAO or the country you are flying in?

The country that you are inside the boundaries of has complete sovereignty in the airspace above it’s territory. ICAO provides a set of standard and recommended practices that this country may choose to accept as a whole or only specific parts. 14CFR 91.703, ICAO Article 1.           

Define, Class I Navigation, Class II Oceanic, Class II Remote and Offshore High Airspace?

To comprehend the FAA’s definition of Class I or Class II navigation, we must first understand the concept of operational service volume. 

Operational service volume is the volume of airspace surrounding an ICAO standard airways navigation facility that is available for operational use. Within that area, a signal of usable strength exists and conforms to flight inspection signal strength and course quality standards, including frequency protection. This describes a three-dimensional volume of airspace. ICAO standard NAVAIDs are VOR, VOR/DME and NDB. 

Class I navigation is any en route flight operation that is entirely within operational service volumes of ICAO standard NAVAIDs. Class II navigation is any en route operation not categorized as Class I navigation. 

“Class II” Navigation also places a requirement to at least once an hour "Reliably Fix" your position. This will be detailed in your LOA/OpsSpec B034/B050 and B036 authorizations. A more detailed explanation of “Class II” navigation is found in FAA Order 8900, Volume 4, Chapter 1, Section 4. 

Inside AC 90-105A (issued back in March 2016) Paragraph 6.5 makes the distinction between Oceanic, Remote Continental, and Offshore operations. It really has nothing to do with a specific number of NM from shore. 

Oceanic airspace is defined as international airspace over oceans where separation and procedures are in accordance with ICAO. Controllers provide Air Traffic Services utilizing procedural control and procedural separation. 

Remote Continental airspace is defined as airspace above terrain where line-of-sight communications, independent surveillance and reliable ground-based NAVAIDs is not available. Controllers provide ATS utilizing procedural control and procedural separation. 

Offshore airspace is defined as international airspace within areas of domestic radio navigational signal or ATC radar coverage, and within which domestic ATC procedures are applied.

What special training or checkride do you need to fly international as a Part 91 operator?

None, provided that you do not enter any of the Special Area of Operations like Class II NAV or NAT HLA. As a GA operator you are only required to be knowledgeable. FAA Order 8900.1 Vol. 4, Chap. 1, Sec.2, Para 4-24 

While flying in a particular airspace, how do you know if an ADS-C contract has been established? 

Specific FMC’s will vary. Consult your AFM or Ops Manual for specifics. As a generic procedure... look for the “ATC LogOn” page. On there find the “ADS” line select key. Find the “Active” prompt there. This is the indication of at least one active ADS contract.  The parameters of the contract can be found on “Page 2” of the “ATC LogOn” page. Global Operational Datalink document, GOLD Chapters 2, 4, 5”    

Is there a requirement for a crewmember to hold a valid radiotelephone license during international operations?

Yes. FCC Form 605Pilots Restricted Station License: http://wireless.fcc.gov/commoperators/rp.html

When it comes to revising ETA’s is it 2minutes or 3minutes that is the limit?

One of the ADS-C reporting parameters that ATC will set is "120sec". The contract parameters are mostly hidden from the operating pilot. Buried inside the FMS, there are displays that will allow a pilot to view exactly ATC has "Contracted" for with your FMC. ETA revisions of greater than 120 seconds is one of these triggers. With ADS_C reporting, voice reports are not required. Reporting is automatic thru ADS-C updating ATC anytime your “NEXT” estimated time of arrival is off by more than 120 seconds. ICAO modified Annex 2 with Amendment #43 in 2012 with this newer 2 minute/120 second threshold so as to be consistent between voice and ADS-C reporting. That being said, some regulators describe this reporting requirement as "3 Minutes or greater" vice the “Greater than 2minutes” found in Annex 2. It is the same threshold… just described from the other end of the number line. The Human Factors problem here is that most every pilot remembers the "Greater than +/- 3 minutes" from instrument training. From my view, the choice to use "3 Minutes or greater" is poor. It too closely resembles the old definition and creates the confusion we see now. Worldwide reference documents add little consistency for a solution to this problem.

ICAO Annex 2, Paragraph

NAT Document #007, Paragraph 5.1.7

FAA Order 8900, Volume 7, Chapter 3, Paragraph 7-81,D.4

Is there a maximum age limit for pilots flying internationally?

There is no "Age 60" problem with Part 91/GA operations. The requirement comes in with Commercial operations, (Part 135 or 121). ICAO recommends one pilot at the controls to be below 60 if the PIC is over 60.  The issue is further confused by the fact that the FAA has applied this to Part 121 carriers only. ICAO countries apply this rule to any commercial operation (Part 135 included). An individual state (country) has the right to set their own rules apart from the ICAO or FAA. The AIP for the country in question would have this information.

Is there an FAA regulation that directs 121.5 be monitored in international airspace? Is there an ICAO “Regulation” that directs 121.5 be monitored in international airspace?

So far as the FAA is concerned, No. There is some pretty strong “Guidance” on the subject to say “Yes”. Take a look in AC 91-70a Chapter 6, Paragraph 6-2

So far as the ICAO is concerned, Yes. Annex 10, Volume 2, Chapter 5, Paragraph