NAO 209-124: Aviation Safety Policy

Issued 09/02/11; Effective 09/02/11

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is responsible for providing a safe working environment for its workforce, and for partners who are exposed to the risks associated with flying on aircraft owned or operated by NOAA. The purpose of this order is to make aviation safety the number one priority for all aviation operations by creating policy that:


.01 Except as provided in Section 2.02, this order applies to all NOAA personnel flying on any aircraft in the performance of their official duties, and to all individuals flying on aircraft owned or operated by NOAA. For purposes of this order, aircraft operated by NOAA includes aircraft:

. 02 This order does not apply to the use of:


.01 NOAA operations often require flights for transportation or mission operations accomplished in both rotary and fixed wing aircraft operated by NOAA or other federal agencies of the U.S. Government. These may include the armed forces, state and local governments, foreign governments, and civilian aviation service providers. These aircraft operators may be providing the service directly to NOAA or to another party. Examples of routine NOAA flight operations include hazardous weather research, aerial damage assessment, air chemistry, forecaster training, coastal and offshore surveys, enforcement, and remote sensing .

.02 An aircraft operated by the U.S. Government, or one owned and operated by the government of a state, the District of Columbia, or a territory or possession of the United States or a political subdivision of one of these governments, may be considered to be operating as a "public aircraft" as defined in sections 40102 and 40125 of title.49 of the U.S. Code. Except for certain airspace rules that apply to all aircraft (reference Federal Aviation Act of 1958, Title 49 U.S.C. Subtitle VII), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has no legal jurisdiction over public aircraft operations. As such, public aircraft are not subject to many federal aviation regulations, including requirements relating to aircraft certification, maintenance, and pilot certification.

.03 To ensure the safety of federal employees while operating in public aircraft, federal agencies are required to develop agency-specific flight program standards that meet or exceed applicable civil or military rules. These standards must be incorporated in contracts and agreements as set forth in Safety Standards Guidelines for Federal Flight Programs codified by regulations set forth in 41 CFR 102-33.140 and 41 CFR 102-33.155-185.


. 01 NOAA is responsible for ensuring that:

.02 The Director, Office of Marine and Aviation Operations (OMAO). The Director, OMAO, shall broadly administer NOAA's aviation safety policy through the Aviation Safety Program Manager (ASPM). The Director, OMAO, shall approve all revisions to the accompanying NOAA Aviation Safety Handbook.

.03 NOAA Aviation Safety Board CNASB).

a. The NASB is composed of the both voting and non-voting personnel appointed by Line and Staff offices as governed by the Terms of Reference. The NASB is chaired by the ASPM. Duties, functions, responsibilities and procedures are delineated in the Aviation Safety Policy Handbook.

b. Voting members of the NASB must meet the aviation safety training and qualification standards outlined in the NASB Terms of Reference.


5 USC Chapter 81:

14 CFR 1.1:

41 CFR 102-33.20:

49 U.S.C. Subtitle VII:

49 CFR 830:

49 CFR sections 40102 and 40125 International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a United Nations agency, Annexes 1, 6, and 8 of the Chicago Convention standards. Federal Aviation Administration International Aviation Safety Assessment Program:


Further information on the Aviation Safety Policy and procedures mentioned in this NAO can be found in the NOAA Aviation Safety Policy Handbook.

NAO 209-1, NOAA Safety Policy:

NAO 216-104, Management and Utilization of Aircraft:

NAO 217-106, Transportation of Non-government Personnel as Passengers on NOAA Vessels, Aircraft, and Motor Vehicles:

NOAA Aviation Safety Board Terms of Reference:

NOAA Aircraft Operations Center (AOC) Aircraft Operations Manual: in Draft available from AOC


This Order supersedes NAO 209-124, Aviation Safety Policy, dated October 1, 2006.

Implementation of the Aviation Safety Policy will be consistent with existing collective bargaining agreements and the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute.

Use of aircraft for NOAA operations is also governed by NAO 216-104, Management and Utilization of Aircraft, and by NAO 217-106, Transportation of Non-government Personnel as Passengers on NOAA Vessels, Aircraft, and Motor Vehicles. This Order should be read in conjunction with the others. If there is a conflict, this Order shall govern.

An electronic copy of this Order will be posted in place of the superseded Order on the NOAA Office of the Chief Administrative Officer website under the NOAA Administrative Issuances Section. http://www.corporateservices.noaa gov/ocao/ames/


Under Secretary of Commerce for
Oceans and Atmosphere

Office of Primary Interest:
Office of Marine and Aviation Operations (OMAO)