The FAA announced that two new "space based" standard instrument departures (SIDs)—one a public procedure and the other usable only with authorization—would be activated July 19 at Colorado’s Eagle County Regional Airport, when an existing RNAV special departure procedure would no longer be authorized.
Eagle County Regional Airport is a mountainous facility that sits at a field elevation of 6,547 feet msl and is bounded in all quadrants by “high unmarked terrain,” according to its listing in the chart supplement.
In a June 14 letter to operators, the FAA’s Flight Technologies and Procedures Division, NextGen Branch, stressed the importance of SIDs for operations from Eagle County.
“The unique geography associated with this airport requires very strict adherence to departure paths and stringent climb requirements. The departure procedures are designed to provide different user groups with safe, efficient Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) departure options from Runway 25,” it said, adding, “Please read the description of each departure and, after obtaining any necessary operational approval, use the one that meets your aircraft’s Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) eligibility.”
For operators not eligible to fly the new PBN instrument departure procedures, “two conventional IFR departures (GYPSUM FIVE and MEEKER TWO) are still available,” it said.
In late 2017, the FAA issued an Information for Operators document reminding aircraft operators not to use special instrument procedures—those developed for specific users—without authorization.
Duke noted that some ineligible operators flying from Eagle County Regional Airport have flown the Cottonwood Two departure, and done so incorrectly, raising certain airspace and safety risks. “Some pilots without proper authorization and training have mistakenly flown this procedure’s one-engine-inoperative (OEI) track, which encroaches into Aspen’s airspace and may only be flown in response to an engine failure on takeoff,” he said. “Unauthorized use of the procedure can result in certificate action, so we want to remind operators to ensure you have proper authorization before flying ANY special instrument procedures and as always, to ensure you are properly equipped and trained for the operation.”
“Flight crews must not request nor accept an air traffic control clearance for a special instrument procedure without specific FAA-Flight Standards authorization. Special instrument procedures appear like any other procedure and may be included in an operator’s navigational database,” he added.