IFR Operations at Locations Without Weather Reporting, 15332-15336 [2018-07296]

Download as PDF 15332 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 69 / Tuesday, April 10, 2018 / Proposed Rules Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 (26 U.S.C. 223), and other similar accounts without the prior written consent of the Corporation provided: (1) The bank’s or savings association’s duties as trustee or custodian are essentially custodial or ministerial in nature, (2) The bank or savings association is required to invest the funds from such plans only (i) In its own time or savings deposits, or (ii) In any other assets at the direction of the customer, provided the bank or savings association does not exercise any investment discretion or provide any investment advice with respect to such account assets, and (3) The bank’s or savings association’s acceptance of such accounts without trust powers is not contrary to applicable State law. PART 390—REGULATIONS TRANSFERRED FROM THE OFFICE OF THRIFT SUPERVISION 6. The authority citation for part 390 is revised to read as follows: ■ Authority: 12 U.S.C. 1819. Subpart J—[Removed and Reserved] ■ 7. Remove and reserve subpart J. Dated at Washington, DC, on March 20, 2018. By order of the Board of Directors. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Valerie Best, Assistant Executive Secretary. [FR Doc. 2018–07227 Filed 4–9–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6714–01–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 135 [Docket No.: FAA–2018–0279; Notice No. 18–01] RIN 2120–AK94 IFR Operations at Locations Without Weather Reporting Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). jstallworth on DSKBBY8HB2PROD with PROPOSALS AGENCY: The proposed rule would allow helicopter air ambulance (HAA) operators to conduct instrument flight rules (IFR) departure and approach SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:55 Apr 09, 2018 Jkt 244001 procedures at airports and heliports that do not have an approved weather reporting source in HAA aircraft without functioning severe weather detection equipment (airborne radar or lightning strike detection equipment), when there is no reasonable expectation of severe weather at the destination, the alternate, or along the route of flight. This rule would also update requirements to address the discontinuance of area forecasts, currently used as flight planning and pilot weather briefing aids. Additionally, this rulemaking proposes to update requirements regarding HAA departure procedures to include additional types of departure procedures that are currently acceptable for use. DATES: Send comments on or before May 10, 2018. ADDRESSES: Send comments identified by docket number FAA–2018–0279 using any of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the online instructions for sending your comments electronically. • Mail: Send comments to Docket Operations, M–30; U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Room W12–140, West Building Ground Floor, Washington, DC 20590–0001. • Hand Delivery or Courier: Take comments to Docket Operations in Room W12–140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. • Fax: Fax comments to Docket Operations at 202–493–2251. Privacy: In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits comments from the public to better inform its rulemaking process. DOT posts these comments, without edit, including any personal information the commenter provides, to www.regulations.gov, as described in the system of records notice (DOT/ALL– 14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at www.dot.gov/privacy. Docket: Background documents or comments received may be read at http://www.regulations.gov at any time. Follow the online instructions for accessing the docket or go to the Docket Operations in Room W12–140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tom Luipersbeck, Air Transportation Division, 135 Air Carrier Operations Branch, Federal Aviation PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20591; telephone 202–267–8166; email: Thomas.A.Luipersbeck@faa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Executive Summary This rulemaking would amend 14 CFR 135.611(b) to allow helicopter air ambulance (HAA) operators using aircraft without functioning severe weather detection equipment (airborne radar or lightning strike detection equipment), to conduct IFR departure and approach procedures at airports and heliports that do not have an approved weather reporting source. In conducting these operations, the pilot in command must not reasonably expect to encounter severe weather at the destination, the alternate, or along the route of flight. This action would encourage utilization of the IFR infrastructure to the fullest extent possible, thus increasing the overall safety of HAA Operations. This rulemaking also proposes to update certain provisions in § 135.611(a)(1) to address the discontinuance of area forecasts, currently used as flight planning and pilot weather briefing aids, and the transition to digital and graphical alternatives already being produced by the U.S. National Weather Service (NWS). Additionally, this rulemaking proposes to update requirements in § 135.611(a)(3) regarding HAA departure procedures to include additional types of departure procedures that are currently acceptable for use. II. Authority for This Rulemaking The FAA’s authority to issue rules on aviation safety is found in Title 49 of the United States Code. This rulemaking is promulgated under the general authority described in 49 U.S.C. 106(f), 44701(a), and 44730. III. Background Section 135.611 contains provisions to allow certificate holders to conduct HAA IFR operations at airports with an instrument approach procedure and at which a weather report is not available from the NWS, a source approved by the NWS, or a source approved by the FAA. Each aircraft operated under § 135.611 must be equipped with functioning equipment to detect severe weather, even when weather reports and forecasts indicate no foreseeable severe weather conditions will exist along the route to be flown. A. Statement of the Problem Section 135.611(b) unnecessarily limits the ability of certain HAA operators to conduct IFR departure and E:\FR\FM\10APP1.SGM 10APP1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 69 / Tuesday, April 10, 2018 / Proposed Rules jstallworth on DSKBBY8HB2PROD with PROPOSALS approach procedures at airports and heliports that do not have an approved weather reporting source. The current limitations inadvertently restrict HAA operations conducted when no severe weather is present at the airport or along the route, by requiring all HAA operated under § 135.611 be equipped with functioning severe weather detection equipment. The FAA has determined this requirement is too broad, because a pilot in command can discern whether severe weather at the destination, the alternate airport, or along the route, will exist. The proposed amendment will allow pilots to conduct operations if current weather reports indicate thunderstorms or other hazardous weather is not expected during the flight. The FAA intends for the proposed amendment to § 135.611 to encourage IFR operations and result in more aircraft operating in positively controlled environments, thereby increasing the safety of HAA operations. Altering the requirements of § 135.611(b) will increase the frequency of IFR operations, thereby minimizing pilots’ operations under visual flight rules (VFR) in marginal visual meteorological conditions. The proposed amendment would provide greater opportunity for HAA operations to enter the National Airspace System (NAS) under IFR than previously permitted. B. Exemption History Since the requirement in § 135.611(b) was established (79 FR 43622, July 28, 2014), nine HAA certificate holders have petitioned for exemptions to § 135.611(b) to allow them to operate without functioning severe weather detection equipment when severe weather conditions are not reasonably expected along the route to be flown.1 In such circumstances, the FAA has issued exemptions to HAA operators that have allowed the safe conduct of IFR departure and approach procedures at airports and heliports that do not have an approved weather reporting source in HAA aircraft without functioning severe weather detection equipment (airborne radar or lightning strike detection equipment). The FAA found that the first petition, which granted the same relief as that provided in this proposed rulemaking, would set a precedent. Therefore, to allow for the public to comment on the petition, a summary of the petition was 1 See the following FAA grants of petitions for exemption: Docket Nos. FAA–2016–5575, FAA– 2016–5028, FAA–2015–3934, FAA–2015–3854, FAA–2015–3740, FAA–2015–2696, FAA–2015– 2694, FAA–2015–1868, and FAA–2015–1867. VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:55 Apr 09, 2018 Jkt 244001 published in the Federal Register on June 15, 2015 (80 FR 34195). No comments were received. IV. Discussion of the Proposal A. Modification of Requirement for Severe Weather Detection Equipment Existing § 135.611 permits HAA certificate holders to conduct helicopter IFR operations at airports with an instrument approach procedure and at which a weather report is not available from the NWS, a source approved by the NWS, or a source approved by the FAA. Each HAA aircraft operated under existing § 135.611 must be equipped with functioning equipment to detect severe weather, even when weather reports and forecasts indicate no foreseeable severe weather conditions will exist along the route to be flown. The FAA’s initial intent of requiring severe weather detection equipment was to help the pilot ascertain the weather in the aircraft’s vicinity (75 FR 62640, 62650 (October 12, 2010)) and thus mitigate the risk of inadvertently encountering instrument meteorological conditions (IMC). The agency has reconsidered this requirement and determined it is overly broad, because it applies even in circumstances in which the pilot does not reasonably expect to encounter severe weather along the route or at the destination airport. Further, existing training on meteorology to ensure a practical knowledge of weather phenomena, including the principles of frontal systems, icing, fog, thunderstorms, meteorology hazards applicable to the certificate holder’s areas of operation, adverse weather avoidance practices, and weather planning are all currently part of required training program curriculum segments for HAA operations. This training, together with the pre-flight risk analysis required in § 135.617, provide the pilot in command with the tools by which to ascertain whether severe weather may reasonably exist along the route of a flight or at the destination airport. Pre-flight risk analysis and training designed specifically for HAA operations function to verify the pilot in command can adequately analyze departure, en route, destination and forecasted weather. The continued existence of these requirements verifies a pilot in command does not need severe weather detection equipment when he or she does not reasonably expect to encounter severe weather. Pilots’ determinations concerning the potential for encountering severe weather conditions will result from the routine flight planning they complete PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 15333 prior to operating any aircraft.2 Prior to the first leg of each HAA operation, the pilot in command must conduct a preflight risk analysis pursuant to § 135.617 to ensure awareness of departure, en route, destination, and forecasted weather. The risk analysis also includes determining whether another HAA operator has rejected a flight request based on the presence of any severe weather or dangerous meteorological phenomena. Overall, the pilot in command will use the knowledge and skills he or she maintains pursuant to the provisions of part subpart L of part 135 in determining the likelihood of encountering severe weather. By eliminating the § 135.611(b) requirement for each HAA aircraft to be equipped with severe weather detection equipment when there is no forecast of severe weather, the proposed amendment would allow more HAA operators to conduct IFR departure and approach procedures at airports and heliports that do not have an approved weather reporting source. This proposed amendment would encourage utilization of the IFR infrastructure to the fullest extent possible by allowing more operators to use the IFR infrastructure, thereby avoiding the potential for controlled flight into terrain accidents during flights conducted under marginal visual flight rules conditions. This action would also increase the opportunity for access to critical care patient flights when weather conditions are below those required for VFR operation, but do not involve the potential for severe weather. The FAA emphasizes, however, that if a reasonable expectation of severe weather exists during the flight and in the vicinity of the planned route, the helicopter must be equipped with operable severe weather detection equipment or the flight must be declined or aborted. B. Updated Requirements As noted previously, this rulemaking also proposes to update certain other provisions of § 135.611, specifically § 135.611(a)(1) regarding area forecasts and § 135.611(a)(3) regarding departure procedures. 2 The FAA provides various resources to which pilots may refer in conducting risk analyses to prepare for flight. See, e.g., Instrument Procedures Handbook, FAA–H–8083–16B (Sept. 14, 2017); Aviation Weather, FAA Advisory Circular 00–6B (Aug. 23, 2016); Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, FAA–H–8083–25B (2016); Rotorcraft Flying Handbook, FAA–H–8083–21 (2000). E:\FR\FM\10APP1.SGM 10APP1 15334 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 69 / Tuesday, April 10, 2018 / Proposed Rules Area Forecasts The FAA, in coordination with the NWS, expects to discontinue Area Forecasts, currently used as flight planning and pilot weather briefing aids and transition to digital and graphical alternatives already being produced by NWS.3 While the Area Forecast met aviation weather information needs for many years, today the NWS provides equivalent information through a number of better alternatives.4 In order to address this future transition, this rulemaking proposes to update the wording of § 135.611(a)(1) from ‘‘area forecast’’ to ‘‘weather reports, forecasts, or any combination of them.’’ Departure Procedures This rulemaking proposes to update requirements in § 135.611 regarding HAA departure procedures (DP) to include additional types of DP that are currently acceptable for use. A DP is required in order to depart an airport in weather conditions less than VFR. Several types of DPs, however, exist in addition to an obstacle departure procedure cited in the current regulation, such as a diverse departure or standard instrument departure. Based on an evaluation of these departure procedures, FAA has determined that any of these DPs may be appropriate and safe because of ensured obstacle clearance and flyability (when used appropriate to the location). In this rulemaking, the FAA proposes to update the wording in § 135.611(a)(3) from ‘‘the published Obstacle Departure Procedure’’ to ‘‘a published Departure Procedure.’’ V. Regulatory Notices and Analyses jstallworth on DSKBBY8HB2PROD with PROPOSALS A. Regulatory Evaluation Changes to Federal regulations must undergo several economic analyses. First, Executive Order 12866 and Executive Order 13563 direct that each Federal agency shall propose or adopt a regulation only upon a reasoned determination that the benefits of the intended regulation justify its costs. Second, the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96–354) requires agencies to analyze the economic 3 Aviation Weather Product Change: Transition of Select Area Forecasts (FAs) to Digital and Graphical Alternatives, 79 FR 35211 (June 19, 2014). In the Notice, the FAA recommended that NWS transition six FAs covering separate geographical areas of the contiguous United States and one area forecast covering Hawaii to digital and graphical alternatives already being produced by NWS. The seven area forecasts affected by this transition included FAUS41 (BOS), FAUS42 (MIA), FAUS43 (CHI), FAUS44 (DFW), FAUS45 (SLC), FAUS46 (SFO), and FAHW31 (Hawaii). 4 See id. VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:55 Apr 09, 2018 Jkt 244001 impact of regulatory changes on small entities. Third, the Trade Agreements Act (Pub. L. 96–39) prohibits agencies from setting standards that create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United States. In developing U.S. standards, the Trade Act requires agencies to consider international standards and, where appropriate, that they be the basis of U.S. standards. Fourth, the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104–4) requires agencies to prepare a written assessment of the costs, benefits, and other effects of proposed or final rules that include a Federal mandate likely to result in the expenditure by State, local, or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more annually (adjusted for inflation with base year of 1995). This portion of the preamble summarizes the FAA’s analysis of the economic impacts of this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. Department of Transportation Order DOT 2100.5 prescribes policies and procedures for simplification, analysis, and review of regulations. If the expected cost impact is so minimal that a proposed or final rule does not warrant a full evaluation, this order permits that a statement to that effect and the basis for it to be included in the preamble if a full regulatory evaluation of the cost and benefits is not prepared. Such a determination has been made for this rule. The FAA determined that this action will likely result in regulatory cost savings. Without this rule there will remain in place unnecessary limits on certain helicopter air ambulance (HAA) operations. These limits effectively reduce the number of HAA operations without improving aviation safety. The FAA has been granting exemptions to HAA operators who asked for relief from these limitations and the FAA expects these requests to continue. This change will relieve HAA operators and the FAA of those procedural costs estimated to be $1,500/exemption. This rule would have eliminated the expense of nine petitions for exemption that the FAA granted.5 The FAA has, therefore, determined that this rule has costsavings, has minimal impact, is not a ‘‘significant regulatory action’’ as defined in section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, and is not ‘‘significant’’ as 5 See the following FAA grants of petitions for exemption: Docket Nos. FAA–2016–5575, FAA– 2016–5028, FAA–2015–3934, FAA–2015–3854, FAA–2015–3740, FAA–2015–2696, FAA–2015– 2694, FAA–2015–1868, and FAA–2015–1867. The FAA subsequently granted six petitions to extend the effective dates of the exemptions. PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 defined in DOT’s Regulatory Policies and Procedures. B. Regulatory Flexibility Determination The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96–354) (RFA) establishes ‘‘as a principle of regulatory issuance that agencies shall endeavor, consistent with the objectives of the rule and of applicable statutes, to fit regulatory and informational requirements to the scale of the businesses, organizations, and governmental jurisdictions subject to regulation. To achieve this principle, agencies are required to solicit and consider flexible regulatory proposals and to explain the rationale for their actions to assure that such proposals are given serious consideration.’’ The RFA covers a wide-range of small entities, including small businesses, not-forprofit organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions. Agencies must perform a review to determine whether a rule will have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. If the agency determines that it will, the agency must prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis as described in the RFA. However, if an agency determines that a rule is not expected to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, section 605(b) of the RFA provides that the head of the agency may so certify and a regulatory flexibility analysis is not required. The certification must include a statement providing the factual basis for this determination, and the reasoning should be clear. As this rule removes an unnecessary limitation on the operation of HAA without reducing aviation safety, it will relieve HAA operators of the costs associated with installing unnecessary equipment. Given the demographics on HAA operators, this rule will likely impact a substantial number of small entities. However, it will have a minimal economic impact. Therefore, the head of the agency certifies the rule is not expected to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. C. International Trade Impact Assessment The Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (Pub. L. 96–39), as amended by the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (Pub. L. 103–465), prohibits Federal agencies from establishing standards or engaging in related activities that create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United States. Pursuant to these Acts, the establishment of standards is not considered an unnecessary obstacle to the foreign commerce of the United E:\FR\FM\10APP1.SGM 10APP1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 69 / Tuesday, April 10, 2018 / Proposed Rules States, so long as the standard has a legitimate domestic objective, such as the protection of safety, and does not operate in a manner that excludes imports that meet this objective. The statute also requires consideration of international standards and, where appropriate, that they be the basis for U.S. standards. The FAA has assessed the potential effect of this rule and determined that the rule will have the same impact on international and domestic flights and is a safety rule thus is consistent with the Trade Agreements Act. D. Unfunded Mandates Assessment Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104–4) requires each Federal agency to prepare a written statement assessing the effects of any Federal mandate in a proposed or final agency rule that may result in an expenditure of $100 million or more (in 1995 dollars) in any one year by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector; such a mandate is deemed to be a ‘‘significant regulatory action.’’ The FAA currently uses an inflation-adjusted value of $155 million in lieu of $100 million. This rule does not contain such a mandate; therefore, the requirements of Title II of the Act do not apply. E. Paperwork Reduction Act The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3507(d)) requires that the FAA consider the impact of paperwork and other information collection burdens imposed on the public. The FAA has determined that there is no new requirement for information collection associated with this proposed rule. jstallworth on DSKBBY8HB2PROD with PROPOSALS F. International Compatibility In keeping with U.S. obligations under the Convention on International Civil Aviation, it is FAA policy to conform to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Standards and Recommended Practices to the maximum extent practicable. The FAA has determined that there are no ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices that correspond to these proposed regulations. G. Environmental Analysis FAA Order 1050.1F identifies FAA actions that are categorically excluded from preparation of an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy Act in the absence of extraordinary circumstances. The FAA has determined this rulemaking action qualifies for the VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:55 Apr 09, 2018 Jkt 244001 categorical exclusion identified in paragraph 5–6.6 and involves no extraordinary circumstances. VI. Executive Order Determinations A. Executive Order 13132, Federalism The FAA has analyzed this proposed rule under the principles and criteria of Executive Order 13132, Federalism. The agency has determined that this action would not have a substantial direct effect on the States, or the relationship between the Federal Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government, and, therefore, would not have Federalism implications. B. Executive Order 13211, Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use The FAA analyzed this proposed rule under Executive Order 13211, Actions Concerning Regulations that Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use (May 18, 2001). The agency has determined that it would not be a ‘‘significant energy action’’ under the executive order and would not be likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy. C. Executive Order 13609, International Cooperation Executive Order 13609, Promoting International Regulatory Cooperation, promotes international regulatory cooperation to meet shared challenges involving health, safety, labor, security, environmental, and other issues and to reduce, eliminate, or prevent unnecessary differences in regulatory requirements. The FAA has analyzed this action under the policies and agency responsibilities of Executive Order 13609, and has determined that this action would have no effect on international regulatory cooperation. D. Executive Order 13771, Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs This proposed rule is expected to be an E.O. 13771 deregulatory action. Details on the estimated cost savings of this proposed rule can be found in the Regulatory Evaluation section, above. VII. Additional Information A. Comments Invited The FAA invites interested persons to participate in this rulemaking by submitting written comments, data, or views. The agency also invites comments relating to the economic, environmental, energy, or federalism PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 15335 impacts that might result from adopting the proposals in this document. The most helpful comments reference a specific portion of the proposal, explain the reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data. To ensure the docket does not contain duplicate comments, commenters should send only one copy of written comments, or if comments are filed electronically, commenters should submit only one time. The FAA will file in the docket all comments it receives, as well as a report summarizing each substantive public contact with FAA personnel concerning this proposed rulemaking. Before acting on this proposal, the FAA will consider all comments it receives on or before the closing date for comments. The FAA will consider comments filed after the comment period has closed if it is possible to do so without incurring expense or delay. The agency may change this proposal in light of the comments it receives. B. Availability of Rulemaking Documents An electronic copy of rulemaking documents may be obtained from the internet by— 1. Searching the Federal eRulemaking Portal (http://www.regulations.gov); 2. Visiting the FAA’s Regulations and Policies web page at http:// www.faa.gov/regulations_policies or 3. Accessing the Government Publishing Office’s web page at http:// www.gpo.gov/fdsys/. Copies may also be obtained by sending a request to the Federal Aviation Administration, Office of Rulemaking, ARM–1, 800 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20591, or by calling (202) 267–9677. Commenters must identify the docket or notice number of this rulemaking. All documents the FAA considered in developing this proposed rule, including economic analyses and technical reports, may be accessed from the internet through the Federal eRulemaking Portal referenced in item (1) above. List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 135 Air Transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety. The Proposed Amendment In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal Aviation Administration proposes to amend chapter I of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations as follows: E:\FR\FM\10APP1.SGM 10APP1 15336 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 69 / Tuesday, April 10, 2018 / Proposed Rules PART 135—OPERATING REQUIREMENTS: COMMUTER AND ON DEMAND OPERATIONS AND RULES GOVERNING PERSONS ON BOARD SUCH AIRCRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA–R01–OAR–2014–0604; A–1–FRL– 9976–36—Region 1] 1. The authority citation for part 135 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g), 41706, 40113, 44701–44702, 44705, 44709, 44711– 44713, 44715–44717, 44722, 44730, 45101– 45105; Pub. L. 112–95, 126 Stat. 58 (49 U.S.C. 44730). 2. Amend § 135.611 by revising paragraphs (a)(1), (a)(3) and (b) to read as follows: ■ § 135.611 IFR operations at locations without weather reporting. jstallworth on DSKBBY8HB2PROD with PROPOSALS (a) * * * (1) The certificate holder must obtain a weather report from a weather reporting facility operated by the NWS, a source approved by the NWS, or a source approved by the FAA, that is located within 15 nautical miles of the airport. If a weather report is not available, the certificate holder may obtain weather reports, forecasts, or any combination of them from the NWS, a source approved by the NWS, or a source approved by the FAA, for information regarding the weather observed in the vicinity of the airport; * * * * * (3) In Class G airspace, IFR departures with visual transitions are authorized only after the pilot in command determines that the weather conditions at the departure point are at or above takeoff minimums depicted in a published Departure Procedure or VFR minimum ceilings and visibilities in accordance with § 135.609. * * * * * (b) Each helicopter air ambulance operated under this section must be equipped with functioning severe weather detection equipment, unless the pilot in command reasonably determines severe weather will not be encountered at the destination, the alternate, or along the route of flight. * * * * * Issued under authority provided by 49 U.S.C. 106(f), 44701(a), and 44730 in Washington, DC, on April 3, 2018. John S. Duncan, Executive Director, Flight Standards Service. [FR Doc. 2018–07296 Filed 4–9–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:55 Apr 09, 2018 Jkt 244001 Air Plan Approval; Vermont; Infrastructure Requirement for the 2010 Sulfur Dioxide National Ambient Air Quality Standard Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ACTION: Proposed rule. AGENCY: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to approve the remaining portion of a November 2, 2015 State Implementation Plan (SIP) revision submitted by the State of Vermont. This revision addresses the interstate transport requirements of the Clean Air Act (CAA), referred to as the good neighbor provision, with respect to the primary 2010 sulfur dioxide (SO2) national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS). This action proposes to approve Vermont’s demonstration that the State is meeting its obligations regarding the transport of SO2 emissions into other states. This action is being taken under the Clean Air Act. DATES: Written comments must be received on or before May 10, 2018. ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA–R01– OAR–2014–0604 at www.regulations.gov, or via email to dahl.donald@epa.gov. For comments submitted at Regulations.gov, follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or removed from Regulations.gov. For either manner of submission, the EPA may publish any comment received to its public docket. Do not submit electronically any information you consider to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Multimedia submissions (audio, video, etc.) must be accompanied by a written comment. The written comment is considered the official comment and should include discussion of all points you wish to make. The EPA will generally not consider comments or comment contents located outside of the primary submission (i.e., on the web, cloud, or other file sharing system). For additional submission methods, please contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. For the full EPA public comment policy, information about CBI or multimedia submissions, and general guidance on making effective comments, please visit SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 www.epa.gov/dockets/commenting-epadockets. Publicly available docket materials are available at www.regulations.gov or at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA New England Regional Office, Office of Ecosystem Protection, Air Quality Planning Unit, 5 Post Office Square— Suite 100, Boston, MA. EPA requests that if at all possible, you contact the contact listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section to schedule your inspection. The Regional Office’s official hours of business are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding legal holidays. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Donald Dahl, Air Permits, Toxics, and Indoor Programs Unit, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA New England Regional Office, 5 Post Office Square—Suite 100, (Mail code OEP05–2), Boston, MA 02109—3912, tel. (617) 918–1657; or by email at dahl.donald@epa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Throughout this document whenever ‘‘we,’’ ‘‘us,’’ or ‘‘our’’ is used, we mean EPA. The following outline is provided to aid in locating information in this preamble. Table of Contents I. Background II. State Submittal III. Summary of the Proposed Action IV. Section 110(A)(2)(D)(i)(I)—Interstate Transport A. General Requirements and Historical Approaches for Criteria Pollutants B. Approach for Addressing the Interstate Transport Requirements of the 2010 Primary SO2 NAAQS in Vermont V. Interstate Transport Demonstration for SO2 Emissions A. Prong 1 Analysis—Significant Contribution to SO2 Nonattainment 1. Impact on the Central New Hampshire Nonattainment Area 2. SO2 Emissions Trends 3. SO2 Ambient Air Quality 4. Federally Enforceable Regulations Specific to SO2 and Permitting Requirements 5. Conclusion B. Prong 2 Analysis—Interference With Maintenance of the NAAQS VI. Proposed Action VII. Statutory and Executive Order Reviews I. Background On June 22, 2010 (75 FR 35520), EPA promulgated a revised primary NAAQS for SO2 at a level of 75 ppb, based on a 3-year average of the annual 99th percentile of 1-hour daily maximum concentrations. Pursuant to section 110(a)(1) of the CAA, states are required to submit SIPs meeting the applicable requirements of section 110(a)(2) within three years after promulgation of a new E:\FR\FM\10APP1.SGM 10APP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 69 (Tuesday, April 10, 2018)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 15332-15336]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-07296]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Part 135

[Docket No.: FAA-2018-0279; Notice No. 18-01]
RIN 2120-AK94


IFR Operations at Locations Without Weather Reporting

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of 
Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

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SUMMARY: The proposed rule would allow helicopter air ambulance (HAA) 
operators to conduct instrument flight rules (IFR) departure and 
approach procedures at airports and heliports that do not have an 
approved weather reporting source in HAA aircraft without functioning 
severe weather detection equipment (airborne radar or lightning strike 
detection equipment), when there is no reasonable expectation of severe 
weather at the destination, the alternate, or along the route of 
flight. This rule would also update requirements to address the 
discontinuance of area forecasts, currently used as flight planning and 
pilot weather briefing aids. Additionally, this rulemaking proposes to 
update requirements regarding HAA departure procedures to include 
additional types of departure procedures that are currently acceptable 
for use.

DATES: Send comments on or before May 10, 2018.

ADDRESSES: Send comments identified by docket number FAA-2018-0279 
using any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the online instructions for sending your 
comments electronically.
     Mail: Send comments to Docket Operations, M-30; U.S. 
Department of Transportation (DOT), 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Room 
W12-140, West Building Ground Floor, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
     Hand Delivery or Courier: Take comments to Docket 
Operations in Room W12-140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 
New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday 
through Friday, except Federal holidays.
     Fax: Fax comments to Docket Operations at 202-493-2251.
    Privacy: In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits comments 
from the public to better inform its rulemaking process. DOT posts 
these comments, without edit, including any personal information the 
commenter provides, to www.regulations.gov, as described in the system 
of records notice (DOT/ALL-14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at 
www.dot.gov/privacy.
    Docket: Background documents or comments received may be read at 
http://www.regulations.gov at any time. Follow the online instructions 
for accessing the docket or go to the Docket Operations in Room W12-140 
of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, 
Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tom Luipersbeck, Air Transportation 
Division, 135 Air Carrier Operations Branch, Federal Aviation 
Administration, 800 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20591; 
telephone 202-267-8166; email: [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Executive Summary

    This rulemaking would amend 14 CFR 135.611(b) to allow helicopter 
air ambulance (HAA) operators using aircraft without functioning severe 
weather detection equipment (airborne radar or lightning strike 
detection equipment), to conduct IFR departure and approach procedures 
at airports and heliports that do not have an approved weather 
reporting source. In conducting these operations, the pilot in command 
must not reasonably expect to encounter severe weather at the 
destination, the alternate, or along the route of flight. This action 
would encourage utilization of the IFR infrastructure to the fullest 
extent possible, thus increasing the overall safety of HAA Operations.
    This rulemaking also proposes to update certain provisions in Sec.  
135.611(a)(1) to address the discontinuance of area forecasts, 
currently used as flight planning and pilot weather briefing aids, and 
the transition to digital and graphical alternatives already being 
produced by the U.S. National Weather Service (NWS). Additionally, this 
rulemaking proposes to update requirements in Sec.  135.611(a)(3) 
regarding HAA departure procedures to include additional types of 
departure procedures that are currently acceptable for use.

II. Authority for This Rulemaking

    The FAA's authority to issue rules on aviation safety is found in 
Title 49 of the United States Code. This rulemaking is promulgated 
under the general authority described in 49 U.S.C. 106(f), 44701(a), 
and 44730.

III. Background

    Section 135.611 contains provisions to allow certificate holders to 
conduct HAA IFR operations at airports with an instrument approach 
procedure and at which a weather report is not available from the NWS, 
a source approved by the NWS, or a source approved by the FAA. Each 
aircraft operated under Sec.  135.611 must be equipped with functioning 
equipment to detect severe weather, even when weather reports and 
forecasts indicate no foreseeable severe weather conditions will exist 
along the route to be flown.

A. Statement of the Problem

    Section 135.611(b) unnecessarily limits the ability of certain HAA 
operators to conduct IFR departure and

[[Page 15333]]

approach procedures at airports and heliports that do not have an 
approved weather reporting source. The current limitations 
inadvertently restrict HAA operations conducted when no severe weather 
is present at the airport or along the route, by requiring all HAA 
operated under Sec.  135.611 be equipped with functioning severe 
weather detection equipment. The FAA has determined this requirement is 
too broad, because a pilot in command can discern whether severe 
weather at the destination, the alternate airport, or along the route, 
will exist. The proposed amendment will allow pilots to conduct 
operations if current weather reports indicate thunderstorms or other 
hazardous weather is not expected during the flight.
    The FAA intends for the proposed amendment to Sec.  135.611 to 
encourage IFR operations and result in more aircraft operating in 
positively controlled environments, thereby increasing the safety of 
HAA operations. Altering the requirements of Sec.  135.611(b) will 
increase the frequency of IFR operations, thereby minimizing pilots' 
operations under visual flight rules (VFR) in marginal visual 
meteorological conditions. The proposed amendment would provide greater 
opportunity for HAA operations to enter the National Airspace System 
(NAS) under IFR than previously permitted.

B. Exemption History

    Since the requirement in Sec.  135.611(b) was established (79 FR 
43622, July 28, 2014), nine HAA certificate holders have petitioned for 
exemptions to Sec.  135.611(b) to allow them to operate without 
functioning severe weather detection equipment when severe weather 
conditions are not reasonably expected along the route to be flown.\1\ 
In such circumstances, the FAA has issued exemptions to HAA operators 
that have allowed the safe conduct of IFR departure and approach 
procedures at airports and heliports that do not have an approved 
weather reporting source in HAA aircraft without functioning severe 
weather detection equipment (airborne radar or lightning strike 
detection equipment).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ See the following FAA grants of petitions for exemption: 
Docket Nos. FAA-2016-5575, FAA-2016-5028, FAA-2015-3934, FAA-2015-
3854, FAA-2015-3740, FAA-2015-2696, FAA-2015-2694, FAA-2015-1868, 
and FAA-2015-1867.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The FAA found that the first petition, which granted the same 
relief as that provided in this proposed rulemaking, would set a 
precedent. Therefore, to allow for the public to comment on the 
petition, a summary of the petition was published in the Federal 
Register on June 15, 2015 (80 FR 34195). No comments were received.

IV. Discussion of the Proposal

A. Modification of Requirement for Severe Weather Detection Equipment

    Existing Sec.  135.611 permits HAA certificate holders to conduct 
helicopter IFR operations at airports with an instrument approach 
procedure and at which a weather report is not available from the NWS, 
a source approved by the NWS, or a source approved by the FAA. Each HAA 
aircraft operated under existing Sec.  135.611 must be equipped with 
functioning equipment to detect severe weather, even when weather 
reports and forecasts indicate no foreseeable severe weather conditions 
will exist along the route to be flown.
    The FAA's initial intent of requiring severe weather detection 
equipment was to help the pilot ascertain the weather in the aircraft's 
vicinity (75 FR 62640, 62650 (October 12, 2010)) and thus mitigate the 
risk of inadvertently encountering instrument meteorological conditions 
(IMC). The agency has reconsidered this requirement and determined it 
is overly broad, because it applies even in circumstances in which the 
pilot does not reasonably expect to encounter severe weather along the 
route or at the destination airport. Further, existing training on 
meteorology to ensure a practical knowledge of weather phenomena, 
including the principles of frontal systems, icing, fog, thunderstorms, 
meteorology hazards applicable to the certificate holder's areas of 
operation, adverse weather avoidance practices, and weather planning 
are all currently part of required training program curriculum segments 
for HAA operations. This training, together with the pre-flight risk 
analysis required in Sec.  135.617, provide the pilot in command with 
the tools by which to ascertain whether severe weather may reasonably 
exist along the route of a flight or at the destination airport. Pre-
flight risk analysis and training designed specifically for HAA 
operations function to verify the pilot in command can adequately 
analyze departure, en route, destination and forecasted weather. The 
continued existence of these requirements verifies a pilot in command 
does not need severe weather detection equipment when he or she does 
not reasonably expect to encounter severe weather.
    Pilots' determinations concerning the potential for encountering 
severe weather conditions will result from the routine flight planning 
they complete prior to operating any aircraft.\2\ Prior to the first 
leg of each HAA operation, the pilot in command must conduct a 
preflight risk analysis pursuant to Sec.  135.617 to ensure awareness 
of departure, en route, destination, and forecasted weather. The risk 
analysis also includes determining whether another HAA operator has 
rejected a flight request based on the presence of any severe weather 
or dangerous meteorological phenomena. Overall, the pilot in command 
will use the knowledge and skills he or she maintains pursuant to the 
provisions of part subpart L of part 135 in determining the likelihood 
of encountering severe weather.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ The FAA provides various resources to which pilots may refer 
in conducting risk analyses to prepare for flight. See, e.g., 
Instrument Procedures Handbook, FAA-H-8083-16B (Sept. 14, 2017); 
Aviation Weather, FAA Advisory Circular 00-6B (Aug. 23, 2016); 
Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, FAA-H-8083-25B (2016); 
Rotorcraft Flying Handbook, FAA-H-8083-21 (2000).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    By eliminating the Sec.  135.611(b) requirement for each HAA 
aircraft to be equipped with severe weather detection equipment when 
there is no forecast of severe weather, the proposed amendment would 
allow more HAA operators to conduct IFR departure and approach 
procedures at airports and heliports that do not have an approved 
weather reporting source. This proposed amendment would encourage 
utilization of the IFR infrastructure to the fullest extent possible by 
allowing more operators to use the IFR infrastructure, thereby avoiding 
the potential for controlled flight into terrain accidents during 
flights conducted under marginal visual flight rules conditions. This 
action would also increase the opportunity for access to critical care 
patient flights when weather conditions are below those required for 
VFR operation, but do not involve the potential for severe weather.
    The FAA emphasizes, however, that if a reasonable expectation of 
severe weather exists during the flight and in the vicinity of the 
planned route, the helicopter must be equipped with operable severe 
weather detection equipment or the flight must be declined or aborted.

B. Updated Requirements

    As noted previously, this rulemaking also proposes to update 
certain other provisions of Sec.  135.611, specifically Sec.  
135.611(a)(1) regarding area forecasts and Sec.  135.611(a)(3) 
regarding departure procedures.

[[Page 15334]]

Area Forecasts
    The FAA, in coordination with the NWS, expects to discontinue Area 
Forecasts, currently used as flight planning and pilot weather briefing 
aids and transition to digital and graphical alternatives already being 
produced by NWS.\3\ While the Area Forecast met aviation weather 
information needs for many years, today the NWS provides equivalent 
information through a number of better alternatives.\4\ In order to 
address this future transition, this rulemaking proposes to update the 
wording of Sec.  135.611(a)(1) from ``area forecast'' to ``weather 
reports, forecasts, or any combination of them.''
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ Aviation Weather Product Change: Transition of Select Area 
Forecasts (FAs) to Digital and Graphical Alternatives, 79 FR 35211 
(June 19, 2014). In the Notice, the FAA recommended that NWS 
transition six FAs covering separate geographical areas of the 
contiguous United States and one area forecast covering Hawaii to 
digital and graphical alternatives already being produced by NWS. 
The seven area forecasts affected by this transition included FAUS41 
(BOS), FAUS42 (MIA), FAUS43 (CHI), FAUS44 (DFW), FAUS45 (SLC), 
FAUS46 (SFO), and FAHW31 (Hawaii).
    \4\ See id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Departure Procedures
    This rulemaking proposes to update requirements in Sec.  135.611 
regarding HAA departure procedures (DP) to include additional types of 
DP that are currently acceptable for use. A DP is required in order to 
depart an airport in weather conditions less than VFR. Several types of 
DPs, however, exist in addition to an obstacle departure procedure 
cited in the current regulation, such as a diverse departure or 
standard instrument departure. Based on an evaluation of these 
departure procedures, FAA has determined that any of these DPs may be 
appropriate and safe because of ensured obstacle clearance and 
flyability (when used appropriate to the location). In this rulemaking, 
the FAA proposes to update the wording in Sec.  135.611(a)(3) from 
``the published Obstacle Departure Procedure'' to ``a published 
Departure Procedure.''

V. Regulatory Notices and Analyses

A. Regulatory Evaluation

    Changes to Federal regulations must undergo several economic 
analyses. First, Executive Order 12866 and Executive Order 13563 direct 
that each Federal agency shall propose or adopt a regulation only upon 
a reasoned determination that the benefits of the intended regulation 
justify its costs. Second, the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (Pub. 
L. 96-354) requires agencies to analyze the economic impact of 
regulatory changes on small entities. Third, the Trade Agreements Act 
(Pub. L. 96-39) prohibits agencies from setting standards that create 
unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United States. In 
developing U.S. standards, the Trade Act requires agencies to consider 
international standards and, where appropriate, that they be the basis 
of U.S. standards. Fourth, the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 
(Pub. L. 104-4) requires agencies to prepare a written assessment of 
the costs, benefits, and other effects of proposed or final rules that 
include a Federal mandate likely to result in the expenditure by State, 
local, or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private 
sector, of $100 million or more annually (adjusted for inflation with 
base year of 1995). This portion of the preamble summarizes the FAA's 
analysis of the economic impacts of this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. 
Department of Transportation Order DOT 2100.5 prescribes policies and 
procedures for simplification, analysis, and review of regulations. If 
the expected cost impact is so minimal that a proposed or final rule 
does not warrant a full evaluation, this order permits that a statement 
to that effect and the basis for it to be included in the preamble if a 
full regulatory evaluation of the cost and benefits is not prepared. 
Such a determination has been made for this rule.
    The FAA determined that this action will likely result in 
regulatory cost savings. Without this rule there will remain in place 
unnecessary limits on certain helicopter air ambulance (HAA) 
operations. These limits effectively reduce the number of HAA 
operations without improving aviation safety. The FAA has been granting 
exemptions to HAA operators who asked for relief from these limitations 
and the FAA expects these requests to continue. This change will 
relieve HAA operators and the FAA of those procedural costs estimated 
to be $1,500/exemption. This rule would have eliminated the expense of 
nine petitions for exemption that the FAA granted.\5\ The FAA has, 
therefore, determined that this rule has cost-savings, has minimal 
impact, is not a ``significant regulatory action'' as defined in 
section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, and is not ``significant'' as 
defined in DOT's Regulatory Policies and Procedures.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ See the following FAA grants of petitions for exemption: 
Docket Nos. FAA-2016-5575, FAA-2016-5028, FAA-2015-3934, FAA-2015-
3854, FAA-2015-3740, FAA-2015-2696, FAA-2015-2694, FAA-2015-1868, 
and FAA-2015-1867. The FAA subsequently granted six petitions to 
extend the effective dates of the exemptions.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

B. Regulatory Flexibility Determination

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96-354) (RFA) 
establishes ``as a principle of regulatory issuance that agencies shall 
endeavor, consistent with the objectives of the rule and of applicable 
statutes, to fit regulatory and informational requirements to the scale 
of the businesses, organizations, and governmental jurisdictions 
subject to regulation. To achieve this principle, agencies are required 
to solicit and consider flexible regulatory proposals and to explain 
the rationale for their actions to assure that such proposals are given 
serious consideration.'' The RFA covers a wide-range of small entities, 
including small businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and small 
governmental jurisdictions. Agencies must perform a review to determine 
whether a rule will have a significant economic impact on a substantial 
number of small entities. If the agency determines that it will, the 
agency must prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis as described in 
the RFA. However, if an agency determines that a rule is not expected 
to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities, section 605(b) of the RFA provides that the head of the 
agency may so certify and a regulatory flexibility analysis is not 
required. The certification must include a statement providing the 
factual basis for this determination, and the reasoning should be 
clear. As this rule removes an unnecessary limitation on the operation 
of HAA without reducing aviation safety, it will relieve HAA operators 
of the costs associated with installing unnecessary equipment. Given 
the demographics on HAA operators, this rule will likely impact a 
substantial number of small entities. However, it will have a minimal 
economic impact. Therefore, the head of the agency certifies the rule 
is not expected to have a significant economic impact on a substantial 
number of small entities.

C. International Trade Impact Assessment

    The Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (Pub. L. 96-39), as amended by the 
Uruguay Round Agreements Act (Pub. L. 103-465), prohibits Federal 
agencies from establishing standards or engaging in related activities 
that create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United 
States. Pursuant to these Acts, the establishment of standards is not 
considered an unnecessary obstacle to the foreign commerce of the 
United

[[Page 15335]]

States, so long as the standard has a legitimate domestic objective, 
such as the protection of safety, and does not operate in a manner that 
excludes imports that meet this objective. The statute also requires 
consideration of international standards and, where appropriate, that 
they be the basis for U.S. standards. The FAA has assessed the 
potential effect of this rule and determined that the rule will have 
the same impact on international and domestic flights and is a safety 
rule thus is consistent with the Trade Agreements Act.

D. Unfunded Mandates Assessment

    Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-
4) requires each Federal agency to prepare a written statement 
assessing the effects of any Federal mandate in a proposed or final 
agency rule that may result in an expenditure of $100 million or more 
(in 1995 dollars) in any one year by State, local, and tribal 
governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector; such a mandate 
is deemed to be a ``significant regulatory action.'' The FAA currently 
uses an inflation-adjusted value of $155 million in lieu of $100 
million. This rule does not contain such a mandate; therefore, the 
requirements of Title II of the Act do not apply.

E. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3507(d)) requires 
that the FAA consider the impact of paperwork and other information 
collection burdens imposed on the public. The FAA has determined that 
there is no new requirement for information collection associated with 
this proposed rule.

F. International Compatibility

    In keeping with U.S. obligations under the Convention on 
International Civil Aviation, it is FAA policy to conform to 
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Standards and 
Recommended Practices to the maximum extent practicable. The FAA has 
determined that there are no ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices 
that correspond to these proposed regulations.

G. Environmental Analysis

    FAA Order 1050.1F identifies FAA actions that are categorically 
excluded from preparation of an environmental assessment or 
environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy 
Act in the absence of extraordinary circumstances. The FAA has 
determined this rulemaking action qualifies for the categorical 
exclusion identified in paragraph 5-6.6 and involves no extraordinary 
circumstances.

VI. Executive Order Determinations

A. Executive Order 13132, Federalism

    The FAA has analyzed this proposed rule under the principles and 
criteria of Executive Order 13132, Federalism. The agency has 
determined that this action would not have a substantial direct effect 
on the States, or the relationship between the Federal Government and 
the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among 
the various levels of government, and, therefore, would not have 
Federalism implications.

B. Executive Order 13211, Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy 
Supply, Distribution, or Use

    The FAA analyzed this proposed rule under Executive Order 13211, 
Actions Concerning Regulations that Significantly Affect Energy Supply, 
Distribution, or Use (May 18, 2001). The agency has determined that it 
would not be a ``significant energy action'' under the executive order 
and would not be likely to have a significant adverse effect on the 
supply, distribution, or use of energy.

C. Executive Order 13609, International Cooperation

    Executive Order 13609, Promoting International Regulatory 
Cooperation, promotes international regulatory cooperation to meet 
shared challenges involving health, safety, labor, security, 
environmental, and other issues and to reduce, eliminate, or prevent 
unnecessary differences in regulatory requirements. The FAA has 
analyzed this action under the policies and agency responsibilities of 
Executive Order 13609, and has determined that this action would have 
no effect on international regulatory cooperation.

D. Executive Order 13771, Reducing Regulation and Controlling 
Regulatory Costs

    This proposed rule is expected to be an E.O. 13771 deregulatory 
action. Details on the estimated cost savings of this proposed rule can 
be found in the Regulatory Evaluation section, above.

VII. Additional Information

A. Comments Invited

    The FAA invites interested persons to participate in this 
rulemaking by submitting written comments, data, or views. The agency 
also invites comments relating to the economic, environmental, energy, 
or federalism impacts that might result from adopting the proposals in 
this document. The most helpful comments reference a specific portion 
of the proposal, explain the reason for any recommended change, and 
include supporting data. To ensure the docket does not contain 
duplicate comments, commenters should send only one copy of written 
comments, or if comments are filed electronically, commenters should 
submit only one time.
    The FAA will file in the docket all comments it receives, as well 
as a report summarizing each substantive public contact with FAA 
personnel concerning this proposed rulemaking. Before acting on this 
proposal, the FAA will consider all comments it receives on or before 
the closing date for comments. The FAA will consider comments filed 
after the comment period has closed if it is possible to do so without 
incurring expense or delay. The agency may change this proposal in 
light of the comments it receives.

B. Availability of Rulemaking Documents

    An electronic copy of rulemaking documents may be obtained from the 
internet by--
    1. Searching the Federal eRulemaking Portal (http://www.regulations.gov);
    2. Visiting the FAA's Regulations and Policies web page at http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies or
    3. Accessing the Government Publishing Office's web page at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/.
    Copies may also be obtained by sending a request to the Federal 
Aviation Administration, Office of Rulemaking, ARM-1, 800 Independence 
Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20591, or by calling (202) 267-9677. 
Commenters must identify the docket or notice number of this 
rulemaking.
    All documents the FAA considered in developing this proposed rule, 
including economic analyses and technical reports, may be accessed from 
the internet through the Federal eRulemaking Portal referenced in item 
(1) above.

List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 135

    Air Transportation, Aircraft, Aviation safety.

The Proposed Amendment

    In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal Aviation 
Administration proposes to amend chapter I of title 14, Code of Federal 
Regulations as follows:

[[Page 15336]]

PART 135--OPERATING REQUIREMENTS: COMMUTER AND ON DEMAND OPERATIONS 
AND RULES GOVERNING PERSONS ON BOARD SUCH AIRCRAFT

0
1. The authority citation for part 135 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g), 41706, 40113, 44701-44702, 
44705, 44709, 44711-44713, 44715-44717, 44722, 44730, 45101-45105; 
Pub. L. 112-95, 126 Stat. 58 (49 U.S.C. 44730).

0
2. Amend Sec.  135.611 by revising paragraphs (a)(1), (a)(3) and (b) to 
read as follows:


Sec.  135.611   IFR operations at locations without weather reporting.

    (a) * * *
    (1) The certificate holder must obtain a weather report from a 
weather reporting facility operated by the NWS, a source approved by 
the NWS, or a source approved by the FAA, that is located within 15 
nautical miles of the airport. If a weather report is not available, 
the certificate holder may obtain weather reports, forecasts, or any 
combination of them from the NWS, a source approved by the NWS, or a 
source approved by the FAA, for information regarding the weather 
observed in the vicinity of the airport;
* * * * *
    (3) In Class G airspace, IFR departures with visual transitions are 
authorized only after the pilot in command determines that the weather 
conditions at the departure point are at or above takeoff minimums 
depicted in a published Departure Procedure or VFR minimum ceilings and 
visibilities in accordance with Sec.  135.609.
* * * * *
    (b) Each helicopter air ambulance operated under this section must 
be equipped with functioning severe weather detection equipment, unless 
the pilot in command reasonably determines severe weather will not be 
encountered at the destination, the alternate, or along the route of 
flight.
* * * * *

    Issued under authority provided by 49 U.S.C. 106(f), 44701(a), 
and 44730 in Washington, DC, on April 3, 2018.
John S. Duncan,
Executive Director, Flight Standards Service.
[FR Doc. 2018-07296 Filed 4-9-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-13-P