FAA Delays Helicopter Rule Implementation

The FAA is giving helicopter operators another year to comply with new safety rules announced by the agency in February. The announcement of the delay came only a few days before the rules were set to go into effect, which was scheduled to happen today. Instead the date for compliance is now set for April 22, 2015. The reason for the delay, the FAA said, was a "response to industry feedback" and to give the agency more time to "develop detailed guidance materials."

While the new rules include some requirements that affect both Part 91 and Part 135 helicopter operators, the strictest rules befall those flying under Part 135, particularly those offering air ambulance services. These operators will be required to implement more rigorous pilot training, improved communications and stricter rules and procedures.

There are also new rules with regards to safety equipment; however, most of those requirements will take effect on April 24, 2017. Exceptions to the date of implementation for the new equipment are Operations Control Centers, which will be required in 2016, and Flight Data Monitoring Systems, which must be implemented in 2018.

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Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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