The FAA has released its long-awaited omnibus helicopter rule governing emergency medical services (EMS), Part 135 and Part 91 procedures, operations, training and testing and required equipment. The agency estimates that the new rule is expected to cost operators $311 million to implement over the next decade. It closely mirrors the FAA’s notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) released in 2010.
Visual flight rules
The FAA has released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that would allow many more operators to continue flying below decision altitude/decision height or minimum descent altitude (DA/DH or MDA) during IMC when equipped with enhanced flight vision systems (EFVS). Such systems generally use infrared sensors to deliver real-time images of the external view to cockpit displays, and the new rules would not apply to synthetic vision systems. Millimeter-wave radar could also be used for future EFVS operations.
The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada has updated its investigation of the May 28 midair collision between a Beechcraft Bonanza and a Piper PA-28 over the Washington, D.C. suburb of Summerduck, Va. The TSB is handling the investigation at the request of NTSB chairman Deborah Hersman to avoid any potential conflicts of interest because the two victims aboard the Bonanza were U.S. government employees.
Change is coming to the helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) industry, and once the dust settles there could be fewer providers flying fewer helicopters in a more costly and highly regulated environment.
As Eclipse Aviation awaited FAA approval at press time of a new-design pitot/angle-of-attack probe to prevent a freezing problem that occurred during three test flights, the FAA issued an Airworthiness Directive in final form, effective at the end of June. The AD restricts Eclipse 500 operations to day VFR, no IFR flight plans allowed. Before the AD was issued, operators had been able to file an IFR flight plan but had to remain in VMC.
As Eclipse Aviation awaits FAA approval of a new-design pitot/angle-of-attack probe to prevent a freezing problem that occurred during three test flights, the FAA issued an Airworthiness Directive in final form, effective tomorrow. Operators had been able to file an IFR flight plan but had to remain in VMC. The AD further restricts Eclipse 500 operations to day VFR, no IFR flight plans allowed.
More than 15 years after the publication of initial proposals, commercial single-engine operations under instrument meteorological conditions (SE-IMC) could at long last become permitted in Europe, though not before 2010.