Extensive changes are in store for the regulations that guide helicopter EMS operations, under an FAA Notice for Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) released Thursday. The agency is moving to tighten flight rules and procedures, implement safety-related equipment such as night vision goggles and TAWS, and improve pilot training for the HEMS industry, which has seen a recent spike in crashes. HEMS operators can prevent accidents by “preparing pilots and equipping helicopters for all the unique flying conditions they encounter,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. FAA will publish the proposals on Oct. 12 in the Federal Register, and the NPRM will also be available through FAA’s website. The agency will accept public comments until Jan. 10, 2011.
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