Alphabets Object To Portions of Helo NPRM

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - 2:52pm

Major industry groups are expressing their displeasure with key sections of the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) governing helicopter EMS operations. In formal comments filed last week with the FAA, they voiced objection to portions of the rule mandating helicopter terrain awareness and warning systems (HTaws), IFR weather reporting and operational control centers. The groups-which include the Helicopter Association International (HAI), the Association of Air Medical Services and the National EMS Pilots Association (Nemspa)-want night-vision goggles (NVGs) as an alternate means of compliance to the HTaws mandate. Nemspa noted that data on the benefit of HTaws was thin, while HAI maintained that NVGs are the best way to avoid terrain accidents. HAI maintained that the new IFR weather reporting standards, which disallow the use of area forecasts, would have the unintended consequence of encouraging VFR flight into MVFR. The rule would also mandate Part 121-style operation control centers for operators with 10 or more helicopters. HAI found this 'incompatible' with Part 135 operations.

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“When you get into the larger aircraft it becomes like a hotel, with dozens of staff supporting the plane based in a galley area down below. You have very comprehensive cooking facilities, and on larger aircraft we have looked at theatres, with spiral staircases and a Steinway grand piano. The limitations for what you can put inside a plane are pretty much the limits of physics, and even money cannot always overcome that. Even so, people are still always trying to push [the limits]. ”

-Howard Guy of Design Q, a UK-based consultancy