An Operations Manual should contain procedures, instructions and guidance for use by operational personnel in the execution of their duties. (ICAO Annex 6: Operation of Aircraft)
The Operations Manual may contain some or all of the information contained in the Aircraft Flight Manual (AFM), but it also contains much other information regarding the way in which flights are to be conducted.
Contents of an Operations Manual
An Operations Manual, which may be issued in separate parts corresponding to specific aspects of operations, ... shall contain at least the following: (ICAO Annex 6 Appendix 2)
1. Operations administration and supervision
1.1 Instructions outlining the responsibilities of operations personnel pertaining to the conduct of flight operations.
1.2 Checklist of emergency and safety equipment and instructions for its use.
1.3 The minimum equipment list for the aeroplane types operated and specific operations authorized, including any requirements relating to operations in RNP (Required Navigation Performance) airspace.
1.4 Safety precautions during refuelling with passengers on board.
2. Accident prevention and flight safety programme Details of the accident prevention and flight safety programme provided ... including a statement of safety policy and the responsibility of personnel.
3. Personnel training
3.1 Details of the flight crew training programme and requirements.
3.2 Details of the cabin crew duties training programme ...
4. Fatigue and flight time limitations Rules limiting the flight time and flight duty periods and providing for adequate rest periods for flight crew members and cabin crew ...
5. Flight operations
5.1 The flight crew for each type of operation including the designation of the succession of command.
5.2 The in-flight and the emergency duties assigned to each crew member.
5.3 Specific instructions for the computation of the quantities of fuel and oil to be carried, having regard to all circumstances of the operation including the possibility of the failure of one or more powerplants while en route.
5.4 The conditions under which oxygen shall be used and the amount of oxygen determined ...
5.5 Instructions for mass and balance control.
5.6 Instructions for the conduct and control of ground de-icing/anti-icing operations.
5.7 The specifications for the operational flight plan.
5.8 The normal, abnormal and emergency procedures to be used by the flight crew, the checklists relating thereto and aircraft systems information ...
5.9 Standard operating procedures (SOP) for each phase of flight.
5.10 Instructions on the use of normal checklists and the timing of their use.
5.11 Emergency evacuation procedures.
5.12 Departure contingency procedures.
5.13 Instructions on the maintenance of altitude awareness and the use of automated or flight crew altitude callout.
5.14 Instructions on the use of autopilots and autothrottles in Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC).
5.15 Instructions on the clarification and acceptance of ATC clearances, particularly where terrain clearance is involved.
5.16 Departure and approach briefings.
5.17 Route and destination familiarization.
5.18 Stabilized approach procedure.
5.19 Limitation on high rates of descent near the surface.
5.20 Conditions required to commence or to continue an instrument approach.
5.21 Instructions for the conduct of precision and nonprecision instrument approach procedures.
5.22 Allocation of flight crew duties and procedures for the management of crew workload during night and IMC instrument approach and landing operations.
5.23 Instructions and training requirements for the avoidance of controlled flight into terrain and policy for the use of the ground proximity warning system (GPWS).
5.24 Information and instructions relating to the interception of civil aircraft ...
5.25 Information relating to exposure to solar cosmic radiation.
6. Aeroplane performance Operating instructions and information on climb performance with all engines operating, if provided ...
7. Route guides and charts A route guide to ensure that the flight crew will have, for each flight, information relating to communication facilities, navigation aids, aerodromes, and such other information as the operator may deem necessary for the proper conduct of flight operations.
8. Minimum flight altitudes
8.1 The method for determining minimum flight altitudes.
8.2 The minimum flight altitudes for each route to be flown.
9. Aerodrome operating minima
9.1 The methods for determining aerodrome operating minima.
9.2 Aerodrome operating minima for each of the aerodromes that are likely to be used as aerodromes of intended landing or as alternate aerodromes.
9.3 The increase of aerodrome operating minima in case of degradation of approach or aerodrome facilities.
10. Search and rescue
10.1 The ground-air visual signal code for use by survivors ...
10.2 Procedures ... for pilots-in-command observing an accident.
11. Dangerous goods Information and instructions on the carriage of Dangerous Goods, including action to be taken in the event of an emergency.
12.1 A list of the navigational equipment to be carried including any requirements relating to operations in RNP airspace.
12.2 Where relevant to the operations, the long-range navigation procedures to be used.
13. Communications The circumstances in which a radio listening watch is to be maintained.
14.1 Security instructions and guidance.
14.2 The search procedure checklist provided ...
15. Human Factors Information on the operators’ training programme for the development of knowledge and skills related to human performance.
The structure and content of the Operations Manual is detailed in EU-OPS 1.1045 and the referenced Appendix. In essence, the Operations Manual comprises four parts:
- Part A. General/Basic. This part comprises all non type-related operational policies, instructions and procedures needed for a safe operation.
- Part B. Aeroplane Operating Matters. This part comprises all type-related instructions and procedures needed for a safe operation. It takes account of any differences between types, variants or individual aeroplanes used by the operator.
- Part C. Route and Aerodrome Instructions and Information. This part comprises all instructions and information needed for the area of operation.
- Part D. Training. This part comprises all training instructions for personnel required for a safe operation.
For ease of use, most operators create subsidiary documents, in particular a Quick Reference Handbook (QRH) or Emergency and Abnormal Checklist (EAC), copies of which are provided on every flight deck for the personal use of each member of the operating flight crew.
Amendment of the Operations Manual
Amendment of the Operations Manual - in hard copy and electronic format - is the responsibility of the Operator who has issued it. This is an important function of the flight operations department and must be carefully controlled to ensure that all officially issued and controlled copies of a Manual and any subsidiary documents (including copies of parts of the OM) are updated as part of the same action. It is normal for there to be a formal channel available which can be used to issue urgent individual changes to all holders of a Manual or a dependent document rapidly and for the full document text to be re-issued incorporating any individual changes issued since the previous edition at prescribed intervals of not greater than a calendar year.
- ICAO Annex 6: Operation of Aircraft, Appendix 2 - Contents of an Operations Manual;
- ICAO Doc 9376: Preparation of an Operations Manual;