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Use Of Trained Ground Staff/escorts To Complete Passenger Briefings As Per 723.39

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Received feb 5/13:


Further to previous conversations with CS Standards and the NASIMS submission, please contact Expedition and let them know that they may use ground staff to provide the pre-takeoff passenger briefing.


The content of the briefing can be provided by the ground staff, or by audio or audiovisual means. The flight crew shall be advised that the briefing has been completed - verbally or by established hand signal.


The air operator shall ensure that the person is trained (CARs) and has a training record (CARs).


The content of the passenger briefing shall meet the minimum regulatory requirements, as applicable to the helicopter and the operation.


The COM shall document the procedures to be followed by ground staff and flight crew. (CARs)


Content of the required training for ground crew shall be documented and included in the approved training program (CARs)


They should keep it simple and relevant to their needs, for this type of operation.


This should help them get everything in place for the re-start of their contract.


After you inform the operator, please share this with Bill Turcotte and Jamie B, so they know to expect a small COM submission.


Please let me know if you have any questions





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I am working on the CAP for finding CS-01-01 and I have some questions about the approval that was granted by Terry Long with regards to using ground staff to provide pre-take-off passenger briefings.


1) Can you tell me what sort of approval this is and what the basis is for such an approval? Is it some sort of “Equivalent Level of Safety” or “Alternate Means of Compliance Approval”? Under what authority was this approval granted?


2) Or is Terry stating that using ground staff is compliant with the regulation as written?



I ask these question because all correspondence I received from Terry (including the approval e-mail) seems to distinguish this method of compliance as different from “audio or audiovisual means”.


On January 10/13 I received an e-mail from my POI stating:


“I contacted Terry Long as planned and everything below is what she had to say regarding your proposed amendment. I am away this week and most of next week but I am checking my emails each evening.


"...audio or audiovisual" is quoted directly from 723.39(1):

"Audio" means through the public address system, usually using pre-recorded announcements.

"Audiovisual" is pre-recorded, is shown on a monitor/screen and includes at least those items required by regulation to be demonstrated to the passengers.”


In the approval e-mail to you on February 5, 2013, she states:


“Hi Janice,

Further to previous conversations with CS Standards and the NASIMS submission, please contact Expedition and let them know that they may use ground staff to provide the pre-takeoff passenger briefing.


The content of the briefing can be provided by the ground staff, or by audio or audiovisual means.


The applicable Standard states:


723.39 Briefing of Passengers

(1) Standard Safety Briefing

The standard safety briefing shall consist of an oral briefing provided by a flight crew member or by audio or audiovisual means which includes the following information.

CARs 101.01(1) defines flight crew member as:


"flight crew member" - means a crew member assigned to act as pilot or flight engineer of an aircraft during flight time; (membre d'équipage de conduite)


Clearly our ground staff are not Flight Crew Members, so the only way I can see that we are compliant with the regulation and standard is if we acknowledge that a ground handler falls under “Audio or Audiovisual means”.


I am not trying to be difficult(or question Terry Long’s authority); for the record, we do appreciate the approval, but I need to understand on what basis and authority this approval was granted for several reasons:


1) To ensure the Corrective Action Plan is completed accurately.

2) To ensure that my COM amendment is submitted as an accurate representation of the CARs minimum requirements and receives approval

3) To ensure compliance with the CARs as we have not applied for an exemption and in the event there is a conflict between our COM and the CARs the CARs take precedence.

4) To ensure the policies and training programs created are clearly understandable to all of our pilots and employees. In this case the pilot believed he was compliant with 723.39 using ground staff to conduct briefings, but did not fully explain how he was compliant to the inspector. The inspector did not believe he could be compliant using ground staff. The pilot assumed the inspector knew the regulations better than he and did not have access to the CARs on the ramp at the airport. The end result: he called his Operations Manager for guidance. I would like to clearly state the policies and procedures to our pilots and ground crew in the COM and Training Program so they are able to refer to it and have an intelligent conversation with an inspector in the future (or any time they have a question/concern or want to re-familiarize themselves).

5) I would like provide CARs 703.39/723.39 training to these employees. If I do not fully understand how we are compliant, I am not able provide the CARs training accurately.

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Good afternoon Chad,


As previously indicated in a message forwarded to you on February 5, 2013, you may use trained ground staff to provide the pre-take off passenger briefing prior to embarkment, and to provide safe movement to and from the helicopter when the rotors are turning.


Many Canadian operators use trained ground staff for perform some or all of these duties during operations similar to what you have described. Those operators have published simple, clear procedures in the company operations manual explaining who does it, how it is done, and how the pilot in command is advised that it has been completed. From that, they have developed and documented the training points required to ensure the person understands what is required and how it is to be done. A training record to document the results is also required for each assigned member of your ground staff.


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Hello Chad,


As per our conversation earlier today, our legal department here at Transport Canada deems that a ground handler does not meet the intent of723.39(1) The standard safety briefing shall consist of an oral briefing provided by a flight crew member or by audio or audiovisual means….


Currently our standards branch is working on a National Exemption to address the issue. They are aware that the exemption needs to be put in place prior to mid-march and are working hard to meet that deadline.


Please continue with your CAP as we have discussed previously, as it on track with the intent of the proposed exemption.

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Niagara Helis uses ground staff to do the briefings.



Thanks Phil. The only real reason I posted all this info is to find out what others are doing. GOTTA LOVE THE INTERNET. It seems each time we have an issue with TC we find the rules are being enforced differently from one company to the next. The HAC calls it "regional disparity", but it seems it's not necessarily a regional issue as we see different interpretations being used within regions. This case is an example of this. This Disparity crates a great deal of confusion (to the point it has become a safety issue) and creates a great deal of unnecessary work for Operations Managers and CP's across the country.....it also interferes with fair market.

According to the Technical team lead at Cabin Safety MANY operators use ground crew. Apparently the inspectors who approved this felt it met the CARs requirement; unfortunately the legal department disagreed. We've been advised that any operators using ground crew have been told to cease until the exemption is released. Maybe I'll have yo go for a tour of the falls...

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