Last month key industry players expressed strong concerns about proposed FAA rule changes for helicopter operations, particular those governing emergency medical services (EMS) providers.
Notice of proposed rulemaking
Major industry groups are expressing their displeasure with key sections of the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) governing helicopter EMS operations. In formal comments filed last week with the FAA, they voiced objection to portions of the rule mandating helicopter terrain awareness and warning systems (HTaws), IFR weather reporting and operational control centers.
Jan. 5, 2011:
Safety Systems for
Part 139 Certified Airports
The FAA will extend the comment period for the Airport Safety Management System (SMS) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), which had been scheduled to end on Jan. 7, 2011. The proposed rule seeks to require all airports certified under Part 139 to develop and implement an SMS program to cover all non-movement areas of the airport, including tenant ramps. The comment period is now extended until March 7.
The FAA’s first notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on safety management systems (SMS) was published on October 7 and will require Part 139 airports to adopt an SMS program within six to nine months of publication of the final rule. Comments are due by Jan. 5, 2011.
In comments submitted to the FAA regarding the proposed flight-duty and rest requirements for Part 121 operators, both NBAA and the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) question the agency’s apparent intent to apply these requirements for Part 121 operations to Part 135 charter operations. The alphabet groups warned that a “one size fits all” regulatory approach to pilot fatigue rules for Part 121 and 135 will simply not work.
While the FAA has filed a “difference” explaining that it does not have a formal safety management system (SMS) rule for aircraft operators, despite the ICAO November 18 deadline that is now passed, it is in the process of SMS rulemaking.
With the comment period on a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on flight-, duty- and rest-time requirements for Part 121 flight crews closing on November 15, the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) expressed concern that the FAA plans eventually to expand the regulations to encompass Part 135 on-demand operations.
Last month, after years of prodding from the NTSB and extensive consultation with the industry, the FAA issued its much anticipated notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that tightens the equipment, training and operational requirements for helicopter EMS providers in the name of safety. However, the 133-page NPRM doesn’t stop with the helicopter EMS community.
The FAA last month proposed new pilot duty-time limitations and rest requirements for Part 121 carriers that stand to alter scheduling practices and hiring needs profoundly across the U.S. airline industry.