Hawaii’s two U.S. senators, Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono, have introduced legislation that would mandate all air tour and skydiving flights be conducted under FAR Part 135 and that all aircraft used for such purposes be equipped with crash-resistant flight recorders capable of supporting flight operations quality assurance programs.
The Air Tour and Skydiving Safety Improvement Act would also require establishing and implementing a performance-based standard for remote flight data monitoring, flight data monitoring programs for tour operators, and controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) training, as well as a requirement for tour and skydiving aircraft to have TAWS. Schatz said the legislation is necessary in the wake of several high-profile skydiving and air tour accidents in Hawaii over the last 18 months.
He added, “The tragic number of air tour accidents we’ve seen in Hawaii has made it clear that we need to do more to protect passengers and pilots. Our new bill will apply essential safety standards recommended by the NTSB, protecting passengers and improving the safety of air tours for everyone.”
The bill from the Aloha State senators comes just days after several of their Senate colleagues introduced legislation that would mandate installation of helicopter TAWS (HTAWS) and crash-resistant flight data and cockpit recorders on all transport-category (Part 29) turbine helicopters that can carry six or more passengers.