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Thu, May 17, 2018

FAA Loosens 'Doors Off' Helicopter Flight Ban

Will Allow Flights If Operator Obtains An LOA From The Agency

The FAA has released a modification of its policy banning "doors off" helicopter flights that was put in place following an accident in New York City that resulted in the fatal injury of five passengers aboard the aircraft.

According to a National Policy Notice announcing the change, all principal inspectors (PI), aviation safety inspectors (ASI), and aviation safety technicians (AST) in Safety Assurance offices who have oversight responsibility of operators, or pilots that conduct doors-off flights for compensation or hire, are required to convey the information contained in the Order to those operators or pilots immediately.

Operators and pilots must cease using SPRSs during doors-off flight operations for compensation or hire until the FS Office of Safety Standards, on behalf of the Acting Administrator, issues a letter of authorization (LOA) for those supplemental restraints.

The LOA will be issued after determining that the restraints to be used can be quickly released by a passenger with minimal difficulty and without impeding egress from the aircraft in an emergency. The FAA will consider the design, manufacture, installation, and operation of the SPRS when reviewing all applications for an LOA. The ability of a passenger to quickly release the restraint with minimal difficulty must be inherent to the SPRS.

An SPRS must not require the use of a knife to cut the restraint, the use of any other additional tool, or the assistance of any other person. An SPRS also must not require passenger training beyond what would be provided in a preflight briefing. The applicant bears the burden of clearly and convincingly demonstrating that the SPRS can be quickly released by a passenger with minimal difficulty and without impeding egress from the aircraft in an emergency.

Additionally, PIs, ASIs, and ASTs must ensure that operator and pilot procedures are in place that ensure that all passenger-carrying doors-off flight operations for compensation or hire are prohibited unless the passengers are at all times properly secured using FAA-approved restraints. Correct use of FAA-approved SPRSs during flight meets this requirement.

Operators, pilots, or individuals desiring authorization to use an SPRS should electronically complete FAA Form 7711-2, Certificate of Waiver or Authorization Application, and save it for submission to the FAA. This form is available here.

(Source: FAA)

FMI: www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Notice/N_8900.457.pdf

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