NTSB Wants Tighter Standards for Public-use Helicopters

 - January 4, 2011, 12:17 PM

The NTSB late last month issued a fresh batch of recommendations (A-10-148-158 and A-10-159-168) related to its findings in the 2008 fatal crash of a Carson-operated Sikorsky S-61N. Meanwhile, the Helicopter Association International (HAI) plans to hold a summit on January 20 for all interested stakeholders to address the murky issue of privately owned public-use aircraft and Part 135 compliance. Specifically, the NTSB is recommending that the FAA require revised hover performance charts for all helicopters that are based on helicopter performance in all conditions, including light and variable winds; develop surveillance and oversight programs for Part 135 operators whose aircraft operate as public aircraft; clarify FAA authority over public aircraft; require Part 29 crash-resistant fuel tanks and seating on Sikorsky S-61s; mandate 10-micron fuel filters on S-61s powered by GE CT58-140 engines; and eliminate flight recorder exemptions for transport-category helicopters. The NTSB also recommended that the U.S. Forest Service bring its air operations up to Part 135 standards.