FAA Seeks Comments On Helicopter Certification Regulations
The FAA has begun the process that could lead to rewriting the certification regulations for normal and transport category helicopters certified under Parts 27 and 29. On February 22 the FAA issued a request for public comment, due on or before May 23. Specifically, the FAA is seeking comments on whether it should revise the maximum weight and passenger seat capacity for helicopters in both categories and to make airworthiness standards “more efficient and adaptable to future technology.” Currently helicopters with a maximum gross weight greater than 7,000 pounds or with 10 or more passenger seats must be certified under the more stringent transport category, Part 29. Last year the FAA denied Bell Helicopter’s request for a Part 27 exemption to allow its 429 light twin to operate at weights between 7,001 and 7,500 pounds, although other countries have approved the 429 at the higher weight. Bell is appealing the FAA’s decision. In its denial, the FAA noted that granting Bell’s request could upset FAA/EASA regulatory “harmonization,” but held open the possibility of revisiting Part 27 requirements.