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Single-Engine IFR Proposal Stuck in ‘Review’

By Staff Writer | November 1, 2015

An industry proposal for the U.S. FAA to streamline certification of single-engine instrument flight rule helicopters is stuck in a trade association review process.

Four U.S. aviation associations spent much of the last year drafting the proposal. The groups—the General Aircraft Manufacturers Assn., AHS International, the Aircraft Electronics Assn. and Helicopter Assn. International—published the single-engine IFR “white paper” on their websites on July 12 and solicited additional comment. 

They planned to call formally on the FAA Rotorcraft Directorate by Oct. 1 to ease the single-engine IFR certification process. But that date came and went with no disposition.

A 1999 change to certification guidance made standards for single-engine IFR helicopters more stringent at a time when the FAA had eased similar standards for airplanes.

For example, the new guidance required a certification applicant to demonstrate that the failure of a system on a light helicopter was “extremely improbable” by showing that it would not suffer a single failure in one billion flight hours. To achieve that, some systems on an IFR light single would have to be triply redundant, which the white paper authors argued would make such an aircraft prohibitively expensive to build and operate.

Despite the protracted work on the white paper, industry officials said, new or revived comments were received near the Oct. 1 deadline that remained unresolved at press time. So the FAA must wait for the formal presentation.
 

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