The controversy over commercial single-engine instrument flight rules (SEIFR) operations may be drawing to a close now the proposed regulation has passed one of the final stages in a 10-year fight for approval. The third Joint Aviation Authorities consultation period on a European SEIFR rule ended in early December, said aviation consultant Ronald Ashford, speaking last week at the Hellenic Air Accident Investigation and Aviation Safety Board safety conference in Athens, Greece.

Ashford represents Cessna, manufacturer of the Caravan series of single-turboprop utility aircraft that stand to benefit from a pan-European approval of commercial SEIFR. He points out that the only issues to be resolved in the third consultation period concerned maintenance regulation, and a summary paper is in preparation. He expects approval for the operations to be given between March and May next year.

Meanwhile, the International Civil Aviation Organisation's Operations Group recently recommended to ICAO's Air Navigation Commission that SEIFR be approved. The group recommended a number of onboard safety items that must be satisfied before a single-engine turbine aircraft may be operated in adverse weather conditions. These include a radar altimeter, automatic monitoring of engine performance and a GPS navigation program that determines the nearest suitable emergency landing alternative (Flight International, 14-20 October).

ICAO standards and recommended practices (SARPS) do not currently accept commercial SEIFR, although Ashford points out that the SARPS for single-engine operations has not been revised since 1948, and a rapidly growing number of nations have since filed differences with ICAO on commercial SEIFR.

Source: Flight International