Top FAA regulators justified the new omnibus helicopter safety rule at February’s Heli-Expo convention. John Duncan, director of FAA flight standards, and Kim Smith, manager of the rotorcraft directorate, said the new rule is necessary in light of a recent surge in helicopter accidents, and they are confident that it will contribute to a significant reduction in the accident rate.
The FAA has released its long-awaited omnibus helicopter rule governing emergency medical services (EMS), Part 135 and Part 91 procedures, operations, training and testing and required equipment. The agency estimates that the new rule is expected to cost operators $311 million to implement over the next decade. It closely mirrors the FAA’s notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) released in 2010.
On February 20, the FAA issued a far-reaching final rule that will require helicopter operators, including air ambulance services, to abide by stricter flight rules and procedures that better prepare both pilots and helicopters for safer operations. Within 60 days, all operators will be required to use enhanced procedures for flying in challenging weather, at night, and when landing in remote locations.
The FAA has pushed out, from 4 p.m. until approximately 5 p.m., the start of an eight-nautical-mile-wide TFR centered over MetLife Stadium in New Jersey on Super Bowl Sunday. From that time until an hour after the end of the game, no general aviation flights will be allowed to enter the TFR ring below 18,000 feet. From noon until 5 p.m., a one-nautical-mile-wide TFR with a minimum altitude of 3,000 feet will be imposed around the stadium.
An FAA enforcement case against the operator of a commercial drone or unmanned aircraft system (UAS) may lead to a determination of whether the FAA has regulatory jurisdiction over model radio-control aircraft and whether the agency can prohibit the commercial operation of such aircraft. This is believed to be the first FAA enforcement action against the operator of a radio-controlled model aircraft.
Incorrect data in aviation records is serious in the extreme. Aviation depends on data entry to record everything from student pilot training to air carrier compliance with airworthiness directives to scores of information on every aspect of defeating gravity safely. For that reason, air safety relies in large part on records, the accuracy of which is critical.
The FAA is reminding aircraft operators through a special airworthiness information bulletin– NOTC5068, issued November 22–about a few idiosyncrasies to keep in mind when updating aircraft navigational databases. “The cyclical updates may exclude certain navigation data, including approach procedures, which makes this information unavailable for selection on the aircraft flight management system or navigation equipment,” warned the bulletin.
The FAA talks a lot about the importance of safety management systems. It has several web pages dedicated to SMS. Newsletters dedicated to SMS. And employees certainly talk it up at internal and external meetings. But talk is cheap, as we all know.
New risk management requirements for safety management systems (SMS) and the responses to these encapsulated in the International Standards for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) have been big drivers of demand for a wide array of training for flight and ground crews. But what corporate pilot and flight department manager Scott Macpherson found when he tried to provide this for his team was that he just could not get all this training conveniently in one place.
The International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) is here at LABACE once again to continue to inform South American aircraft operators about the voluntary International Standards for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) program that it established just over 11 years ago in response to shifting regulatory demands on the sector.