In the realm of aviation, safety remains paramount, and the ability to operate aircraft over extended ranges with a single engine is a crucial aspect of modern air travel. To ensure the safety of these operations, a set of regulations and approvals known as ETOPS, EDTO, and LROPS have been established. Anyone in aviation or just curious about air travel needs to understand these acronyms and their significance.
ETOPS is abbreviation for “Extended Range Twin-Engine Operations“.
EDTO means “Extended Diversion Time Operations“.
LROPS means “Long Range Operations“. Let’s continue to examine in more detail…
ETOPS stands for Extended-Range Twin-Engine Operations. It refers to the authorization granted to twin-engine aircraft to operate over long distances where diversion airports may be limited. This authorization is based on stringent requirements for aircraft design, maintenance, and operational procedures, ensuring that the aircraft can safely reach a suitable airport even with one engine inoperative.
Authorities revise ETOPS regulations based on the technical capabilities of specific aircraft. For example, the disadvantage of B777 ETOPS regulation versus Airbus’ four-engine model A340 received an ETOPS permit for a maximum of 208 minutes. However, an airline company suffers an engine problem with a B777 may encounter a limitation in ETOPS time.
In November 2009, the Airbus A330 became the first aircraft type to receive ETOPS-240 approval. On 12 December 2011, the Boeing 777 raised the bar even higher with 330 ETOPS approvals. On May 28, 2014, ETOPS-330 certification was obtained for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. In February 2015, the Boeing 747-8 joined the ranks of aircraft certified for ETOPS-330 operations. The Airbus A350, which officially entered service in the Qatar Airways fleet in January 2015, had an ETOPS time of 370 minutes in the first phase. Technical advancements and flight data have steadily pushed ETOPS durations further and further.
ICAO Requirements for Extended Range Twin Engine Operations (ETOPS) have been in effect use since 1985. The aim in this application is to establish a general level of operational safety for twin-engine aircraft with that of modern three- and four-engine aircraft. Later, as aircraft reliability and range improved, it expanded the flight limits of all multi-turbine-engined aircraft from nearby alternatives to those farther away. These changes triggered a review of existing regulations for ETOPS.
ETOPS – EDTO – LROPS
After many years of discussions and studies on the recently stated situation, in 2012 ICAO Annex 6 Part 1, Amendment 36. This replaced ETOPS with the Extended Deflection Time Operations (EDTO) regime. However, since then, although the EDTO regime has been widely accepted, EDTO has not been universally adopted. And the ongoing ETOPS is permitted in Annex 6, provided that the EDTO concepts are “properly embodied in the relevant or documentation”. “ETOPS” has continued to be used by FAA and others as previously redefined as an acronym for “Extended Interval Transactions” instead of “Interval Twin Transactions”. EASA currently continues the ETOPS as originally defined. And the acronym ‘LROPS’ (Long Range Operations) for extended range operations of three and four engine aircraft.
References and Further Reading:
1. ICAO: Overview of new ETOPS/LROPS/EDTO rules: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ETOPS
2. SKYbrary: Extended Range Operations: https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/rulemaking/committees/documents/media/ACOetopsT1-06142000.pdf
3. Sofema Aviation Services: EDTO / ETOPS / LROPS: https://sassofia.com/news-press/gain-a-detailed-understanding-of-etops-operations-approval-with-our-new-training/
4. Aviationfile: ETOPS – EDTO – LROPS , What are They ?: https://www.aviationfile.com/etops-edto-lrops-what-are-they/
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