International Pilot Services

Contract Pilot Services with a Difference

Already in operation at DFW, SAN, LAX, BOS, and MCO.

The system will be operational at PHX, IAH, SEA, IAD, and LAS in 2012 and will be installed at 23 major airports nationwide by 2016.

What Are Runway Status Lights?
Runway Status Lights (RWSL) are a series of red in-pavement lights that warn pilots of high-speed aircraft or vehicles on runways. They operate independently of Air Traffic Control. Runway Status Lights have two states: ON (lights are illuminated red) and OFF (lights are off) and are switched automatically based on information from the airport surface surveillance systems. RWSL will improve airport safety by indicating when it is unsafe to enter, cross, or takeoff from a runway.

The RWSL system has two types of lights. Runway Entrance Lights (RELs) are installed at taxiways and Takeoff Hold Lights (THLs) on runways.

Runway Entrance Lights
Runway Entrance Lights (RELs) are a series of red in-pavement lights spaced evenly along the taxiway centerline from the taxiway hold line to the runway edge. One REL is placed before the hold line and one REL is placed near the runway centerline. RELs are directed toward the runway hold line and are oriented to be visible only to pilots entering or crossing the runway from that location. RELs that are ON (illuminated red) indicate that the runway ahead is not safe to enter or cross. Pilots should remain clear of a runway when RELs along their taxi route are illuminated. Lights that are off convey no meaning.

The system is not, at any time, intended to convey approval or clearance to proceed into a runway. Pilots remain obligated to comply with all ATC clearances, except when compliance would require crossing illuminated red RELs. In such a case, the crews should hold short of the runway for RELs, contact ATC, and await further instructions.

Takeoff Hold Lights
The Takeoff Hold Light (THLs) system is composed of red in-pavement fixtures in a double row on either side of the runway centerline lighting. Fixtures are focused toward the arrival end of the runway at the “Line Up and Wait” point and extend in front of the holding aircraft beginning 375’ beyond the runway threshold and extending for 1,500’. Illuminated red lights provide a signal, to an aircraft in position for takeoff or rolling, that it is unsafe to takeoff because the runway is occupied or about to be occupied by another aircraft or ground vehicle. THLs that are ON (illuminated red) indicate that the runway ahead is not safe to takeoff. Pilots should refuse takeoff clearance if THLs are illuminated. Red THLs mean do not takeoff. Whenever a pilot observes the red lights of the THLs, the pilot will stop or remain stopped. The pilot will contact ATC for resolution if any clearance is in conflict with the lights. Lights that are off convey no meaning. The system is not, at any time, intended to convey approval or clearance to takeoff. Pilots must still receive an ATC clearance to takeoff.

Pilots are encouraged to learn more about RWSL at:

See this Notice in living color at

Apparently, the sun is approaching what’s known as solar maximum—the high point in its roughly 11-year cycle of activity, according to National Geographic. Scientists anticipate stronger storms around solar max, in 2013.  Flares have occurred almost daily, and may be monitored online or with iPad applications like Solar Monitor Pro.  Flares can precipitate warnings for multiple types of interest the most significant be S3 through S5 which may represent health risks to all occupants of aircraft at typical flight levels.

Effective: 30 June 2010

Runway Crossing Procedure Change

Beginning June 30, 2010 , controllers will be required to issue explicit instructions to cross or hold short of each runway that intersects a taxi route.

“Taxi to” will no longer be used when issuing taxi instructions to an assigned take-off runway.

Instructions to cross a runway will be issued one at a time. Instructions to cross multiple runways will not be issued. An aircraft or vehicle must have crossed the previous runway before another runway crossing is issued.

This applies to any runway, including inactive or closed runways.

Changes will also be made to the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) and AIP to reflect the new procedures.

Never cross a hold line without explicit ATC instructions.
If in doubt ASK!

Reminder: You may not enter a runway unless you have been:

  • Instructed to cross that specific runway;
  • Cleared to take off from that runway; or
  • Instructed to position and hold on that specific runway.

For the Runway Safety notice, please refer to:

Or click this next link for a video of the change.
(You may have to copy and paste the links into your browser.)

For additional information, go to:

IPS delivered Europe’s first EASA certifed Gulfstream G450 to an EU based operator this month.  The aircraft, which incorporates changes mandated by JAA-EASA is the first such unit delivered by Gulfstream.  IPS also delivered one of the first G450’s to a non-US North American based user, as well as the first fractionally owned European G550.  In the G350 and G450, IPS has now accumulated the broadest base of experience on Gulfstream’s newest product and uncommonly powerful sister.

To date IPS has delivered more than 30 GV and derivative airframes (G550, G450, G350) and transitioned more than fifty pilots over six national “flags”.

In the GIV family IPS has delivered more than 30 airframes and transitioned more than 70 pilots in ten countries.

Additionally, IPS has delivered a significant number of G1159 aircraft and continues to support delivery, transition services and TRI / TRE work for several countries that operate this venerable type.

Medaire Many regions of the world offer unique medical challenges and considerations for operators. Whether it is pre-trip vaccinations, in country assets or in coping with in-flight emergencies, we recommend and use MedAire for corporate international flight operations.
Visit their website at:

FAA NOTAM (effective February 16, 2006), informs operators that the ICAO guidance to pilots for track offsets in contingency situations in oceanic airspace has been changed to 15nm.  This new guidance will apply to oceanic operations (including Atlantic and Pacific airspace).

NOTE: Prior to this harmonization, the track offset for in-flight contingencies (ICAO Regional Supplementary Procedures, Doc 7030) was 30nm in the North Atlantic (NAT) and 25nm in Pacific airspace.

IPS seeks to communicate to all GA operators the validity and significance of SAFA inspections, currently in use in Europe and the ECAC countries*.  The method of determining aircraft to be checked may be random or targeted, and may depend upon variables such as the number of inspectors available, causal factors, suspicion of not upholding ICAO standards, et cetera.  The number of inspections will range from very few to several hundred per year, per country.  Download a copy of a SAFA form,…..

The basic (54 item checklist) may include checks of the following:

  •     Pilot & Cabin (Annex 1)
  •     Procedures and Manuals that should be carried in the cockpit
  •     Compliance with these procedures by flight and cabin crew
  •     Safety equipment in the cockpit and cabin
  •     Airworthiness / Maintenance condition of the aircraft

(in addition there may be other items of concern to the nation carrying out the inspection)

Findings or “discovery” are defined into four categories:

  •     Categories (0,1,2,3)
  •     Ranging from None (0), through Minor (1), to Grounding (2); or, possible revocation of entry permit (3)

Recent problem areas reported by operators include.

  •     Non Type rated First Officers (be aware of US Change effective 6 June 2006)
  •     Non Current First Class Medical Certificate (> 6 months)
  •     Non Current Type Rating (PIC or SIC check > 12 months)
  •     PIC > 60 years in Commercial ops (beware of State definition of Comm Ops)
  •     Lack of Noise Certificate
  •     Proof of Radio FM Immunity

Upon sucessful completion of your safety check, the inspector should present you with a postcard sized receipt.  In most cases, that is good for 48 to 72 hours, in satisfying a SAFA inspector at another location, unless that station has a reason to follow-up (bird or hail strike, violation or incident, et cetera).

Download SAFA form , version: DGAC France

* Member States of ECAC are:

Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia & Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom.

Graphical reference:

How do you tell when you are flying over Africa?

Seriously, traffic tripled in the 1990’s and continues to grow.

Despite recent inprovements, traffic management in Africa remains deficient–critically so in some areas.  Some controllers do not communicate effectively with aircraft under their “control”.  Some centers do not communicate with one another-at times due to equipment, sometimes due to politics.

Age limit for flight crew and other Annex 1 changes to SARPs

Amendment 167 to Annex 1
The ICAO Council adopted on 10 March 2006 an amendment to Annex 1 – Personnel Licensing that increases by five years the upper age limit for commercial pilots operating two-pilot aircraft. Althought this applies to ICAO airspace, contracting states have to either adopt the change or publish an exception to the ICAO change.  The US will likely publish an exception since the FAA still holds as current the “Age 60 Rule”.  (By the way, the US holds more exceptions to the Convention than any other single country.) The new provisions become applicable on 23 November 2006, will affect rights of contracting and adopting states to implement.  IPS has made all 65 pages of the ICAO CWP available online (at the end of next page), which covers other significant changes to Annex 1. A Contracting State, having issued pilot licences, shall not permit the holders thereof to act as pilot-in-command of an aircraft engaged in international commercial air transport operations if the licence holders have attained their 60th birthday or, in the case of operations with more than one pilot where the other pilot is younger than 60 years of age, their 65th birthday. Recommendation.- A Contracting State, having issued pilot licences, should not permit the holders thereof to act as co-pilot of an aircraft engaged in international commercial air transport
operations if the licence holders have attained their 65th birthday.

Practical effects Article 33 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (signed in Chicago, it is often quoted as the `Chicago Convention’) limits the international recognition of flight crew licences to those who are in full compliance with the Standards of Annex 1 (note that paragraph is a Standard). As a result, until 23 November 2006, even if an individual State authorizes a pilot-in-command (PIC) to fly in commercial air transport operations when over the age of 60 (65 from 23 November) that authorization can only be given for flights within that State’s national airspace. This is because no State can force another State to accept its own deviation from an ICAO Standard. Article 33 does not apply to the co-pilot as paragraph is a Recommendation, not a Standard.  Articles 39 and 40 of the Convention are also relevant to the age limit of pilots-in-command engaged in commercial air transport operations as they authorize international flights by flight crew who do not meet all international licensing Standards, provided that an authorization is given by each State into which the aircraft is operated.
In practice, this means that if a pilot in command is under the age specified in paragraph (60 years at present and 65 from November 2006) he cannot be prevented by reason of age from operating into any ICAO Contracting State. Further, once he has reached the specified age, he may still operate as PIC, subject to certain conditions:
1. his/her national Licensing Authority permits it; and,
2. operations are undertaken only in national airspace; unless,
3. another State has given specific authorization that such flights are permitted in its airspace.

A State may wish to impose a lower maximum age limit than that specified by ICAO in It may do this for the licenses it issues, but, as stated above, it cannot prevent an aircraft operated by a PIC holding a licence from another State, who is below the ICAO upper limit, from operating in its airspace.

For co-pilots, since paragraph is a Recommendation, not a Standard, the upper age limit is set by the national Licensing Authority which can choose to impose any national age limit on the licenses it issues, as there are no international restrictions based on age for co-pilots.  When over 60, a six-monthly medical examination will be necessary (ICAO specifies an annual medical for those under 60 years who are engaged in two-pilot operations). For single-pilot commercial air transport operations, the upper age limit remains at 60 years.

Most of the States that have authorized their pilots to fly as pilot-in-command in commercial air transport operations after they reach the age specified in also authorize pilots holding a license issued or validated by another States to fly in their own airspace under the same condition. However, ICAO does not collect information on States authorizing pilots to fly in their airspace after reaching the age of 60 and cannot provide information on the subject. Pilots seeking such information are advised to contact individual Civil Aviation Authorities.

Download the ICAO CWP document in PDF format.

IPS recommends offsets in any airspace where ATC might be compromised, whether in Class I or Class II airspace.  Somewhat like SLOP, we have extended our decade old policy for Africa to any region where GPS and RVSM accuracy have the potential of delivering aircraft radome to radome with any gaps in traffic management.  Offsets are always within the containment value of the airspace (.1 to .7 nm right of course) and intended to miss other traffic.

See the editorial in ProPilot’s December  2006, issue ( Outer Marker Inbound ).