A pair of Colorado congressmen has introduced legislation that would give a modest tax credit against the cost of retrofitting crash-resistant fuel systems in EMS helicopters. H.R. 6832, the Safe Helicopters Now Act, provides for a tax credit of up to 10 percent of the cost of installing the safer fuel system.
The bill is being considered by the House Ways and Means Committee. The legislation was introduced by U.S. Reps. Joe Neguse (D) and Ed Perlmutter (D) at the urging of the widow of a Flight for Life pilot who died after the Airbus A-Star he was flying crashed and burned near Frisco, Colorado, in 2015.
The new FAA reauthorization act requires all new-build helicopters, including those type certified before 1994, to have crash-resistant fuel systems; however, it does not mandate retrofit of those systems on helicopters currently flying that were type certificated before 1994, including derivatives of the A-Star. By some estimates, this exempted group accounts for up to 85 percent of all EMS helicopters currently in service. The new reauthorization act does call on the FAA to speed certification of retrofittable, crash-resistant fuel systems for this aircraft population.