What are critical phases of flight?
Reference: Regulation (EU) No 965/2012, Annex I Definitions
Annex I (Definitions) of the Regulation (EU) 965/2012 on air operations contains definitions for critical phases of flight for aeroplanes and helicopters:
“'Critical phases of flight' in the case of aeroplanes means the take-off run, the take-off flight path, the final approach, the missed approach, the landing, including the landing roll, and any other phases of flight as determined by the pilot-in-command or commander.
'Critical phases of flight' in the case of helicopters means taxiing, hovering, take-off, final approach, missed approach, the landing and any other phases of flight as determined by the pilot-in-command or commander.”
As one can see from these definitions, for helicopters taxiing is defined as a critical phase of flight, while for aeroplanes it is not. Rules for activities considered acceptable during critical phases of flight are provided in the Regulation (EU) No 965/2012 on air operations – in Annex III (Part-ORO), Annex IV (Part-CAT), Annex VI (Part-NCC), Annex VII (Part-NCO) and Annex VIII (Part-SPO). Basically, these implementing rules require crew members during critical phases of flight:
- to be seated at his/her assigned station; and
- not to perform any activities other than those required for the safe operation of the aircraft