What is an Operations Manual?
An Operations Manual describes the mode of operation for your company, including:
- The company’s structure;
- The responsibilities of the various stakeholders;
- The operations for which your company is approved;
- The procedures that pilots should apply, whether from a general point of view or specific to each aircraft type;
- Regulatory features to be considered by the crews for the different countries overflown and for specific airfields;
- The management system;
- The training of crew members.
This document is not just a regulatory requirement, but above all it is a way of formalizing,
sharing and optimizing the operation of your company.
Developing your Operations Manual
Although the general structure of all Operations Manuals is similar, one cannot simply copy the document of another company, the risk being that it would not correspond to the operation of your company. Nor can you copy the ICAO recommendations since they would not describe the specific recommendations of your chief pilot and would be difficult to use for your crews.
The objective is to establish a clear and concise document, specific to the mode of operation of your company, and which will be the reference document for all stakeholders of the company.
The drafting of this manual is important as it will help to formalize and disseminate the desired mode of operation of the company and could help in identifying potential regulatory issues not addressed or in optimizing some modes of operating.
The validation phase for your Operating Manual by your national authority is an opportunity to get an external and expert point of view of your organization and the procedures you want to implement. However, you should plan this review sufficiently ahead of the start of the operation.
Is an Operations Manual mandatory for European non-commercial operators?
With the JAR-OPS or the EU-OPS, only commercial operators had a regulatory obligation to develop an Operations Manual. With the development of the new European regulations, non commercial operators of complex motor-powered aircraft are also subject to this requirement and can no longer simply follow the Airplane Flight Manual (AFM) for their aircraft.
The content of the Operations Manual for non commercial operators is slightly simplified compared to the Operations Manuals for commercial operators.
The effect of the new regulations on existing Operations Manuals
For public operators, the general structure of the Operations Manual is unchanged compared to JAR-OPS 1.1045 and the associated appendix. However, all regulatory references are to be updated, and the content of some sections should also be checked or updated since some requirements have changed (for example, organization, fuel tanks, quality system, etc.).