The FAA is evaluating an industry proposal to ease the path for certification of single-engine helicopters for operations under instrument flight rules certification and expects to respond in the next few months, the agency told R&WI.
The agency maintains that single-engine IFR helicopter certification is allowed today. But several industry leaders say the FAA’s requirements for redundancy of systems needed to support such certification are too stringent and make it economically unfeasible to pursue such approval (and the safety benefits that more IFR-capable helicopters would provide). Four trade associations—the General Aircraft Manufacturers Assn., AHS International, the Aircraft Electronics Assn. and Helicopter Assn. International—sent the joint proposal, called the Single-Engine IFR White Paper, to the FAA on Nov. 18.
They see certification of single-engine IFR helicopters “as the first step toward a cultural shift in the helicopter community,” the groups said in a cover letter to FAA Rotorcraft Directorate Manager Lance Gant. “We look forward to working with the FAA to improve the future of rotorcraft safety through this initiative and anticipate productive dialogue in the coming months.”
The FAA and senior officials of helicopter manufacturers and trade associations have been discussing IFR equipment requirements and certification for Federal Aviation Regulations Part 27 single-engine helicopters for more than a year.