An Air Methods Airbus Helicopters AS350 B3e falls out of the sky on July 3, 2015, while taking off on a public relations mission in Frisco, Colorado. Image courtesy of the NTSB
Colorado’s push for crash-resistant fuel systems legislation remains, as Colorado Rep. Jared Polis and Rep. Ed Perlmutter have introduced an act, local outlet 9News reported. The “Helicopter Fuel System Safety Act,” as the report says the representatives call it, is an extension of legislation that was previously proposed.
This effort for legislation was prompted by the July 2015 crash of an Air Methods Airbus Helicopters AS350 B3e in Frisco, Colorado. The pilot was fatally injured, and both flight nurses were seriously injured. In March, the NTSB found that the probable cause of the accident was the preflight hydraulic check and lack of salient alerting when hydraulic pressure was not restored before takeoff. The Airbus AS350 B3e has a dual hydraulic system. The helicopter fell from the sky into a parking lot, resulting in a post-crash fire.
In 2015, the two Colorado congressmen wrote a letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, calling for action.
“While diligence is important in this process,” they wrote, “it is also imperative that we begin addressing these needless deaths immediately.”
In October 2015, a U.S. rulemaking advisory subcommittee planned to start working on options for increasing crash-resistant fuel systems use in new and existing helicopters. At that point, the Occupant Protection Working Group of the FAA’s Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee was also set to look at how to increase the use of crashworthy seats.
9News also reported that Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner attached an amendment to the FAA Reauthorization Act that would require the FAA to alert helicopter owners of fuel system retrofits and encourage their installation.