NC Aviation Law Attorney

Raleigh, N.C. Aviation Attorney Comments On FAA’s Proposal For New Helicopter Safety Rules

Yesterday the Federal Aviation Administration announced it is proposing stricter flight rules for helicopters, including those which are aimed at increasing safety for medical helicopters. 

This comes after a rash of medical helicopter crashes in the last few years. 

James T. Crouse of Crouse Law Offices had the following comments:

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

For years, Crouse says, 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 we had this information, 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, 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.  “Unfortunately, this often leads to blaming the pilot when, in fact, the aircraft and its systems might well have been at fault,” Crouse says. 

“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.  Finally, the FAA should require flight recording devices on all light aircraft—helicopters and fixed-wing.”

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