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PANS-OPS is an air traffic control acronym which stands for Procedures for Air Navigation Services – Aircraft OPerationS. PANS-OPS are rules for designing instrument approach and departure procedures. Such procedures are used to allow aircraft to land and take off when instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) impose instrument flight rules (IFR).
The Flight Safety section of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is responsible for PANS-OPS, which outlines the principles for airspace protection and procedure design to which all ICAO signatory states must adhere. The regulatory material surrounding PANS-OPS may vary from country to country.
Handling of obstacles
Chapter 4 of Annex 14 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation "[establishes] a series of obstacle limitation surfaces that define the limits to which objects may project into the airspace" surrounding an aerodrome. PANS-OPS defines "protection surfaces" which are imaginary surfaces in space that guarantee an aircraft a certain minimum obstacle clearance, similar to the purpose of obstacle limitation surfaces (OLS) in Annex 14. These surfaces may be used as a tool for local governments in assessing building development. Where buildings may (under certain circumstances) be permitted to penetrate the OLS, they cannot be permitted to penetrate any PANS-OPS surface, because the purpose of these surfaces is to guarantee pilots operating under IMC a descent path free of obstacles for a given approach.
- PANS-ATC: Procedures for Air Navigation Services – Air Traffic Control
- PANS-ATM: Procedures for Air Navigation Services – Air Traffic Management (ICAO Doc. 4444)
- PANS-TRG: Procedures for Air Navigation Services – Training (ICAO Doc. 9868)
History, Pans-Ops software
In 1989 the very first commercially available off the shelf instrument procedure design software conforming to ICAO document 8168 Pans-Ops was programmed. This software was first demonstrated at Bailbrook College in Bath, England in 1992 to a procedure design course. Prior to this all procedure design was done with pencil, tracing paper and a calculator. The software was programmed on a 386 IBM laptop computer and written in the “LISP” programming language.
- "Annexes and PANS". International Civil Aviation Organization. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
- Annex 14 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation – Aerodromes, Volume I: Aerodrome Design and Operations (7th ed.). July 2016. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
- Procedures for Air Navigation Services, Air Traffic Management (16th ed.). International Civil Aviation Organization. 2016. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
- Procedures for Air Navigation Services, Training (2nd ed.). International Civil Aviation Organization. 2016. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
- Procedures for Air Navigation Services, Aircraft Operations, Volume I: Flight Procedures (5th ed.). International Civil Aviation Organization. 2006. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
- Procedures for Air Navigation Services, Aircraft Operations, Volume II: Construction of Visual and Instrument Flight Procedures (6th ed.). International Civil Aviation Organization. 2014. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
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