EASA Pushing for Recorders on Small Helicopters

 - November 21, 2019, 11:19 AM

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is recommending the installation of flight recorders on Part 27 helicopters, those with mtows of 7,000 pounds or less and nine or fewer passenger seats. In a recent EASA safety information bulletin (SIB), EASA said that although the recommendation falls short of a mandate, the agency “recognizes the potential safety enhancement that can be achieved through this equipment.”

EASA noted that light-weight flight recorders are available that meet less demanding requirements than crash-protected flight recorders. In addition, the agency has previously published standards for recorders. For recording equipment that does not entirely meet these standards, the recommendations of this SIB can also apply.

According to EASA, flight recorder data (e.g. time, flight parameters, attitude, alarms, pilot control input, audio, inertial acceleration) is “highly beneficial for the following safety aspects: operational fleet management, training, troubleshooting, data analysis, and risk assessment, and accident/incident investigation.”

The SIB concludes with EASA asking “all owners and operators of small rotorcraft, registered in the EASA member states, consider installing a flight data recorder.” Additionally, EASA recommends “affected TC and STC holders to include installation of a flight recorder as part of the basic rotorcraft configuration or as an option for in-service retrofit."