FAA rule aims to improve helicopter safety

Washington – The Federal Aviation Administration published a final rule Feb. 21 intended to improve helicopter safety.

FAA issued the rule in response to a continuing trend of injuries and fatalities among commercial helicopter and helicopter air ambulance operations.

For those operations, the requirements include enhanced operating procedures for flying in bad weather or at night or when landing in remote locations. Helicopter air ambulances also must install flight data monitoring systems, as well as new on-board technology to help operators avoid terrain and obstacles.

The rule establishes new minimum altitude requirements based on weather conditions for general aviation helicopters operating near airports.

The requirements for enhanced operating procedures and altitude requirements are scheduled to go into effect April 22.