New Helicopter Rules – Do they Affect Your Rotorcraft Clients?

Tomorrow (Feb. 21), the FAA expects to publish for comment new helicopter operations rules.

The proposed rules would require all helicopter air ambulance flights with medical personnel on board to be conducted under part 135 (proposed §§ 135.1, 135.601).

These proposed new rules would include some new equipment requirements for rotorcraft operated under Part 135 (including those that have just been redefined as 135 operations by the new rule).  This could impact distributors who are supporting the rotorcraft marketplace.  The new equipage rules include:

  • Each Helicopter will be required to be equipped with a radio altimeter (proposed § 135.160);
  • Helicopter operations conducted over water will be required to carry additional safety equipment to assist passengers and crew in the event an accident occurs over water (proposed § 135.168);
  • Helicopter air ambulances must be equipped with helicopter terrain awareness warning systems (HTAWS) (proposed § 135.605);
  • Helicopter air ambulances must be equipped with a flight data monitoring system (proposed § 135.607).

In addition the proposed rule would impose new operational requirements for rotorcraft operated under Part 135, such as:

  • Requiring pilot testing of rotorcraft handling in flat-light, whiteout, and brownout conditions and demonstration of competency in recovery from an inadvertent flight into instrument meteorological conditions (IIMC);
  • Air ambulance operators with 10 or more helicopters will be required to establish operations control centers (OCC) (proposed § 135.619) and will be required to drug-and-alcohol test their operations control specialists;
  • Helicopter air ambulance operators will be required to establish operations manual procedures for conducting FAA-approved preflight risk analyses (proposed § 135.617);
  • Helicopter air ambulance pilots will be required to identify and document the highest obstacle along the planned route (proposed § 135.615);
  • Helicopter air ambulance operators will be required to provide safety briefings or training for helicopter air ambulance medical personnel (proposed § 135.621);
  • Helicopter air ambulance pilots will be required to hold instrument ratings (proposed § 135.603).

ASA members who support the rotorcraft industry (especially the air ambulance community) may want to let their customers know about this significant rule change.

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About Jason Dickstein
Mr. Dickstein is the President of the Washington Aviation Group, a Washington, DC-based aviation law firm. He represents several aviation trade associations, including the Aviation Suppliers Association, the Aircraft Electronics Association, the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association and the Modification and Replacement Parts Association.

One Response to New Helicopter Rules – Do they Affect Your Rotorcraft Clients?

  1. Jason Dickstein says:

    Helicopter Rule Follow-Up:

    Yesterday we posted about the planned FAA Helicopter rule. That final rule was published today is available online:

    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-02-21/pdf/2014-03689.pdf

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