311 Flying IFR in and out of Airports with no Instrument Approaches + GA News

Max talks with Mark Kolber about Flying IFR in and out of Airports with no Instrument Approaches. Mark Kolber traces his expertise in aviation law to his background as a trial lawyer and a CFI. He emphasizes the importance of understanding rules, regulations, and procedures in IFR, highlighting that a significant portion of IFR involves adherence to regulations due to the potential impact on others.

The conversation delves into a specific scenario where a listener reports a Homeowners Association (HOA) planning to ban IFR departures from Sea Ranch, which is a private airport in Northern California. Mark clarifies that there is no regulatory prohibition for Part 91 pilots from taking off IFR from an airport without instrument approaches. He emphasizes that such departures are legal, citing examples of airports where IFR takeoffs occur regularly.

The discussion expands to explore the safety considerations associated with IFR departures in IMC from airports without instrument approaches. Mark references regulations like 91.175, which provides guidelines for IFR takeoff and landing, specifying stricter rules for landings compared to departures.

The conversation touches on the distinction between Part 91 and Part 135 operations. Mark explains that Part 135 imposes a direct prohibition on IFR operations from airports without approved standard instrument approach procedures. He highlights the role of Operational Specifications (OPSPEC) in allowing deviations from certain regulations for Part 135 operators.

Mark delves into the FAA’s assessment of airports, particularly the evaluation of obstacle departure procedures (ODP) and how they contribute to safe departures. He explains the purpose of ODPs and the FAA’s meticulous assessment process, emphasizing that private airports without instrument approaches lack such evaluations.

The podcast explores the concept of creating one’s own ODP for airports lacking official assessments. Mark suggests relying on Electronic Flight Bags (EFB) with FAA databases, incorporating local knowledge, and assessing terrain and obstacles using available tools.

Mark clarifies that Part 91 pilots have the discretion to fly or not fly ODPs unless specifically assigned by ATC. For Part 135 pilots, adherence to ODPs is mandatory unless certain exceptions apply. The conversation briefly touches on filing IFR to private airports not in the FAA’s database. Mark recommends using identifiers if available and provides insights into filing to and from using lat-long coordinates. In summary, the interview provides a comprehensive overview of IFR regulations, safety considerations, and the nuances surrounding departures and arrivals at airports without instrument approaches. The discussion is enriched by Mark Kolber’s legal and aviation expertise, offering valuable insights for both pilots and aviation enthusiasts.

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