FAA’s Proposed New Helicopter Safety Rules

by James T. Crouse on October 20, 2010

in Helicopter Safety

I applaud the FAA for these proposed changes which should help helicopter safety and should save lives.  Despite the efforts of manufacturers, operators and government agencies, the helicopter accident rate has not seen a major improvement.

For years, although the technology is readily available, the FAA has not mandated flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders on smaller aircraft, including helicopters, which would help in post-accident analysis to determine the real cause of the crash.  If this information were available, we could not only help the families of the victims of these terrible accidents, but we could use the information for prevention of future accidents.

Too often air safety investigators are left with trying to piece the facts together from wreckage scene components and other indirect data which can make the true cause difficult to determine.  This often leads to blaming the pilot when, in fact, the aircraft and its systems might well have been at fault. 

I believe the government should go further and mandate two pilots on all Part 135 helicopter operations, and insist on adequate ground-based flight following and operational management of medical helicopter operations, in addition to requiring flight recording devices on all light aircraft—helicopters and fixed-wing.

Leave a Comment

Next post: