U.S. Geological Survey Manual
Aviation Management Definitions
Note: Department of the Interior (Department or DOI) and U.S. Geological Survey
(Bureau or USGS).
- 1. Active Military Maintenance and
- This is a program whereby the active or reserve
components of the U.S. Armed Forces, including the U.S. Coast Guard, maintains
a viable maintenance program for the make/model/series aircraft operated within
those components. This system provides for a type malfunction/defect report
gathering, analysis, and distribution of essential safety-of-flight information.
In addition, it supports the resource user with current maintenance
publications/procedures and timely changes similar to a civil manufacturer’s
program. It also provides an up-to-date parts inventory and a repair and
- 2. Affiliated Aircraft.
- Civil aircraft operated in accordance with 14 CFR 91, 121, or 135 for the mutual benefit of DOI and the affiliated party at no cost to DOI.
- 3. Agreement Aircraft.
- An Office of
Aircraft Services (OAS)-approved aircraft that is available for intermittent,
short-term use under an OAS Basic Ordering Agreement (BOA). Orders for use of
agreement aircraft are subject to the small purchase limitation established
under the Federal Acquisition Regulations unless otherwise authorized by the
- 4. Aircraft.
- The term “aircraft” is
used to refer to both airplanes and helicopters.
- 5. Aircraft Accident.
- An occurrence
associated with the operation of an aircraft which takes place between the time
any person boards the aircraft with the intention of flight and all such
persons have disembarked, and in which any person suffers death or serious
injury, or in which the aircraft receives substantial damage.
- 6. Aircraft Acquisition.
an aircraft through either purchase or transfer (excess), or through lease,
rental or loan, the operating cost of which can reasonably be expected to
exceed $25,000 per year. Any aircraft secured on a fully vendor-operated basis
is specifically excluded from this definition.
- 7. Air Crewmember Essential for the
- An objective determination is made that an additional crewmember
is required to be on board the aircraft to ensure the successful outcome of the
mission by the first line supervisor (e.g., loadmaster accompanying bulk fuel).
- 8. Airspace Conflict.
- A near mid-air
collision, intrusion, or violation of airspace rules.
- 9. Air Tanker.
- An aircraft used for
the dispensing of a substance (normally fire retardant or water) on a wildfire.
- 10. Aviation Board of Directors.
- Representative Bureau senior management officials providing executive level Bureau involvement in the formulation of policy and the management aspects of
aviation activities in the Department.
- 11. Bailed Aircraft.
- Aircraft on loan
from the Department of Defense (DOD).
- 12. Basic Ordering Agreement.
- A Basic
Ordering Agreement (BOA) is a written instrument of understanding, negotiated
between an agency, contracting activity, or contracting office and a
contractor, that contains (1) terms and clauses applying to future contracts
(orders) between the parties during its term; (2) a description, as specific as
practicable, of supplies or services to be provided; and (3) methods for
pricing, issuing, and delivering future orders under the BOA. A BOA is not a
- 13. Bureau.
- A level of government
defined by Bureaus, services, surveys, and offices within the Department.
- 14. Commercial Aviation.
vendor being paid for aviation services.
- 15. Contract Aircraft.
- An aircraft that
has been approved by Office of Aircraft Services for use in accordance with the
terms of a formal contract. Generally, there is no monetary limitation on the
extent of use of the contract aircraft.
- 16. Cooperator Aircraft.
- An affiliated,
military, or other Government agency aircraft.
- 17. DOI 2181 Pilot.
- A pilot meeting
Office of Personnel Management (OPM) classification 2181 standards.
- 18. Dual-Function Pilot.
- Any person who
acts as pilot-in-command of an aircraft while on official Government business
and is not a full-time pilot (OPM classification 2181) but whose job
description does include pilot duties.
- 19. Emergency.
- (a) Life-Threatening - A situation or occurrence of a serious nature, developing suddenly and unexpectedly and demanding immediate action to prevent loss of life.
- (b) Operational - An unforeseen combination of circumstances that calls for immediate action, but not life-threatening
- 20. Excess/Surplus Military Aircraft.
- Aircraft whose ownership has been transferred to a Government agency by the U.S. Armed Forces.
- 21. Fatal Injury.
- Any injury resulting in death within 30 days of the accident.
- 22. Federal Aviation Regulations.
- Rules and regulations contained in Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
- 23. First Aid.
- Any medical attention
that involves no medical bill. If a physician prescribes medical treatment for
less than serious injury and makes a charge for this service, that injury
becomes “medical attention.”
- 24. Flight Crewmember.
- A pilot, flight
engineer, or flight navigator assigned to duty in an aircraft during flight
time who holds a valid Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airman’s
Certificate and flight physical.
- 25. Fleet Aircraft.
- ircraft bailed by DOI, owned by DOI, or
leased by DOI with intent to purchase.
- 26. Forced Landing.
- A landing
necessitated by failure of engines, systems, components, or incapacitation of a
crewmember, which makes continued flight impossible and which may or may not
result in damage.
- 27. Ground Mishap, Aircraft Ground Mishap.
- An aircraft mishap in which there is no intent tofly; however, the power plants and/or rotors are in operation and damageincurred requiring replacement or repair of rotors, propellers, wheels, tires,wing tips, flaps, etc., or an injury is incurred requiring first aid or medicalattention.
- 28. Hazard, Aviation Hazard.
- Any condition, act or set of circumstances that exposes an individual to
unnecessary risk or harm during aviation operations.
- 29. High Performance Airplane.
- An airplane that has more than 200 horsepower or that has a retractable landing
gear, flaps, and controllable propeller.
- 30. High Reconnaissance.
- A route of flight which includes
reconnaissance and is conducted above 500 feet above ground level (AGL). This
reconnaissance does not include any aircraft maneuvers which are in excess of
commercial pilot skills, maneuvering below 1.4 Vso, or climbs/turns/descents
greater than standard rate. This does not include any type of precise
maneuvering or specialized equipment.
- 31. Hover Landings.
- Hover landings are landings which do
not meet the definition of toe-in, single-skid, or step-out landings. These
landings are characterized by the necessity to maintain a substantial amount of
hover power while the landing gear is in contact with the surface. This is
normally due to the nature of the surfaces such as swampy ground,
tundra/muskeg, snow, lava rock, etc. During these landings, the potential
center of gravity shifts are not as hazardous as in the previously mentioned
landings (i.e., toe-in, one-skid); however, the pilot remains alert and on the
controls as opposed to a flat surface/flat pitch landing stability.
- 32. Incident.
- An occurrence other than
an accident, associated with the operation of an aircraft which affects or
could affect the safety of operations.
- 33. Incident with Potential.
- An incident that narrowly misses being an accident and in which the circumstances
indicate significant potential for substantial damage or serious injury. Final
classification will be determined by the USDA-FS National Aviation Safety and
Training Manager or the OAS Aviation Safety Manager, as appropriate.
- 34. Incidental Passenger Use of Military Aircraft.
- The condition that exists when a DOI employee is a passenger onboard a military aircraft and is unable to affect the management of the flight
in any manner. This includes the initiation, conduct, and termination of the
- 35. Incidental Pilot.
- Any person who acts as pilot-in-command of
an aircraft while on official Government business whose job description does
not include pilot duties (i.e., piloting of private or Government aircraft for
official Government business in lieu of operation of private or
Government-owned/leased automobile, reference FPMR 101.7).
- 36. Inspector.
- (a) Office of Aircraft Services (OAS) Accepted Inspector.
- An individual employed by a government agency other
than DOI who is listed on the USFS Approved Inspectors List.
- (b) OAS Approved Inspector.
- Any inspector approved by OAS. This includes OAS employees, DOI employees, and
other government agency employees listed on the OAS-approved Inspectors List.
- (c) OAS Inspector.
- An OAS employee listed on the OAS-approved Inspectors List.
- 37. International DOI Operations.
- The condition that exists when a DOI employee is engaged in aviation operations
outside the fifty United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the
Virgin Islands. These operations are outside the scope of the DOI aviation
- 38. Large Helicopter.
- A helicopter with
a certified gross weight over 12,500 pounds.
- 39. Maintenance Deficiency.
- An equipment
defect or failure which affects or could affect the safety of operations or
that causes an interruption to the services being performed.
- 40. Medical Attention.
- An injury where
a physician prescribes medical treatment/charges for the service.
- 41. Medium Helicopter.
- A helicopter with
a certified gross weight between 6,000 and 12,500 pounds.
- 42. Military Aircraft.
- An aircraft
maintained and operated by an active or reserve component (all Reserve forces,
as well as Army National Guard and Air National Guard) of the DOD or by any active
or reserve component of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG). All references to military
aircraft include both DOD and USCG aircraft. The U.S. Government Manual
describes the USCG, “The Coast Guard is a branch of the Armed Forces of the
United States at all times and is a service within the Department of
Transportation except when operating as part of the Navy in time of war or when
the President directs.”
- 43. Mishap, Aviation Mishap.
include aircraft accidents, incidents with potential, aircraft incidents,
aviation hazards and aircraft maintenance deficiencies.
- 44. Mountain Flying: Airplanes.
- Conducting flight operations that require special techniques including takeoffsand landings at locations with 5,000 feet above sea level or greater pressure
altitudes, at temperature ranges above 75ºF, and/or limited and unimproved
- 45. Mountain Flying: Helicopters.
- Conducting flight operations in mountainous terrain including pinnacle landings and approaches at varying elevations and pressure altitudes of over 5,000 feet
above sea level at temperature ranges above 75ºF, and in areas of rugged peaks, deep canyons, cliffs, rock outcropping, steep slopes; including landing on mountain tops and confined areas surrounded by trees, brush, rocks, snow, or ice.
- 46. OAS-Designated Routes.
- Flight routes designated by OAS which are Bureau-requested, over mountainous terrain and pilot-specific.
- 47. Offshore Operations.
- These are operations beyond a point where navigation by visual reference to landmarks can be made.
- 48. Operational Control, Aircraft Under the Operational Control of DOI.
- The condition existing when a DOI entity exercises authority over initiating, conducting or terminating a flight.
- 49. Operated by DOI, Aircraft Operated by DOI.
- The condition existing when the pilot-in-command is a DOI employee acting on official Government business for DOI.
- 50. Operating Agency.
- An executive
agency or any entity thereof using agency aircraft it does not own.
- 51. Operating Cost.
- Expenses which
include, but are not limited to, lease costs, crew costs, maintenance costs
(materials and labor), fuel costs, facilities costs, administrative support
- 52. Operator.
- Any person who causes or
authorizes the operation of an aircraft, such as the owner, lessee, or bailee
of an aircraft. For DOI aircraft operations, the Bureau office exercising
operational control over the aircraft is considered to be the operator.
- 53. Other Government Agency Aircraft.
- Aircraft of U.S. registry which are owned, leased, or operated by a Government agency at the Federal, State, or local levels other than DOI. This does not
include “military aircraft” but does include bailed/loaned or excess/surplus
military aircraft under the control of a Government agency. Foreign government
aircraft are not included.
- 54. Passenger.
- Any person aboard an
aircraft who does not perform the function of a flight crewmember or air
- 55. Point-to-Point Flight.
between airports (excluding operations defined in 351 DM 1 as Special Use) that
a pilot determines the route of flight based on navigational requirements.
- 56. Precautionary Landing.
- A landing
necessitated by apparent impending failure of engines, systems, or components
which makes continued flight unadvisable.
- 57. Precision Reconnaissance (including Fire Recon).
- This type of reconnaissance is conducted above 500 feet above ground level (AGL). Transect type operations, utilization of specialized
equipment, or missions not normally conducted in the commercial sector are
examples of specific tasks requiring special consideration and which make this
a special-use activity.
- 58. Privately Owned Aircraft.
- Any aircraft piloted by a DOI employee on official business which has an FAA registration showing the DOI employee as an owner(s) or member of the club
which owns the aircraft.
- 59. Public Aircraft.
- An aircraft used
only for the United States Government or owned and operated (except for
commercial purposes) or exclusively leased for at least 90 continuous days by a
government (except the United States Government), including a State, the
District of Columbia, or a territory or possession of the United States, or
political subdivision of that government; but does not include a
government-owned aircraft transporting property for commercial purposes; or
transporting passengers other than (a) transporting (for other than commercial
purposes) crewmembers or other persons aboard the aircraft whose presence is
required to perform, or is associated with the performance of, a governmental
function such as firefighting, search and rescue, law enforcement, aeronautical
research, or biological or geological resource management; or, (b) transporting
(for other than commercial purposes) persons aboard the aircraft if the
aircraft is operated by the Armed Forces or an intelligence agency of the
United States. An aircraft described in the preceding sentence shall,
notwithstanding any limitation relating to use of the aircraft for commercial
purposes, be considered to be a public aircraft for the purposes of this part
without regard to whether the aircraft is operated by a unit of government on
behalf of another unit of government, pursuant to a cost reimbursement
agreement between such units of government, if the unit of government on whose
behalf the operation is conducted certifies to the Administrator of the Federal
Aviation Administration that the operation was necessary to respond to a
significant and imminent threat to life or property (including natural
resources) and that no service by a private operator was reasonably available
to meet the threat. 49 U.S.C. 40102 (a)(37).
- 60. Series, Helicopter.
- The subgrouping
of makes and models such as Bell 206A, Bell 206B, Bell 206L. The letter
designator of A, B, and L denotes series.
- 61. Serious Injury.
- Any injury that:
- (1) Requires hospitalization for more than 48 hours, commencing within 7 days from the date the injury was received.
- (2) Results in a fracture of any bone (except simple fractures of fingers, toes or nose).
- (3) Causes severe hemorrhages, nerve, muscle or tendon damage.
- (4) Involves any internal organ.
- (5) Involves second or third-degree burns or any burns affecting more than 5% of the body surface.
- 62. Shore.
- That area of the land adjacent to the water which is above the high water mark and excludes land areas which are intermittently under water.
- 63. Single-Skid Landings.
landings are those landings that are used to drop off or pick up passengers or
cargo while holding the helicopter with one full skid on the ground and the
other suspended in the air. When in contact with the ground, the center of
gravity can shift laterally. This type of landing is normally used in sloping
terrain or when the helicopter cannot land and reduce the power to flat pitch.
- 64. Small Helicopter.
- A helicopter with a certified gross weight under 6,000 pounds.
- 65. Special Use Activities.
involving the utilization of airplanes and helicopters in support of DOI
programs which are not point-to-point flight activities and which require
special considerations due to their functional use. This may require deviation
from normal operating practices where authorized by OAS. Special pilot
qualifications and techniques, special aircraft equipment, and personal
protective equipment are required to enhance the safe transportation of
personnel and property.
- 66. Step-out Landings.
landings are those landings that are used to drop off or pick up passengers and
cargo (other than rappel/short haul) while holding the helicopter in a hover.
The helicopter is not in contact with the ground and the center of gravity can
shift laterally and longitudinally. This type of landing is normally used in
lieu of toe-in/single-skid landings in terrain where the helicopter cannot land
and reduce power to flat pitch.
- 67. Substantial Damage.
- Any damage or
failure which adversely affects the structural strength, performance or flight
characteristics of the aircraft and which would normally require major repair
or replacement of the affected component. Engine failure or damage limited to
an engine if only one engine fails or is damaged, bent fairings or cowling,
dented skin, small punctured holes in the skin or fabric, ground damage to
rotor or propeller blades, and damage to landing gear, wheels, tires, flaps,
engine accessories, brakes, or wing tips are not considered “substantial
damage” for the purpose of this part.
- 68. Toe-In Landings.
- Toe-in landings
are those landings that are used to drop off or pick up passengers or cargo by
resting the helicopter on the toes of the skids. This requires holding a
significant amount of hover power (within 15% of hover power) to keep the
helicopter from falling backwards. When the helicopter is operated in this
manner, there is the potential of significant lateral and longitudinal CG shift
during loading/offloading operations. When the helicopter is balanced on the
forward 1/3 or less of the skid tube, main rotor blade clearance is another
significant concern (1/2 of flat surface/flat pitch blade clearance). These
landings are normally used where landing areas are on slopes which exceed the
capability of the helicopter. Identification criteria for toe-in landings are:
- (1) Inability to reduce below hover power by 15%.
- (2) Forward 1/3 or less of skid tube in contact with surface.
- (3) 1/2 or less of flat pitch/flat surface blade clearance exists.
- 69. Vendor.
- An operator being paid by DOI for services.
- 70. Volunteer Service.
services are limited to personal services received without compensation (salary
or wages) by the Department from individuals or groups.
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