Thursday, November 12, 2015
One-Engine IFR Proposal Finally May Go to FAA
A proposal backed by industry trade groups for the FAA to ease the path for certification of single-engine IFR helicopters might finally move forward. But it lacks full consensus, as one helicopter maker has differences with specifics of the proposal that it feels have not been addressed in the drafting process. Four industry groups—the General Aircraft Manufacturers Assn., AHS International, the Aircraft Electronics Assn. and Helicopter Assn. International—are expected to formally submit the Single-Engine IFR White Paper to the agency’s Rotorcraft Directorate by Nov. 16 or so. The white paper presents “general consensus, with differences of opinions,” said one official closely involved in the process. Many in that process considered the proposal finalized in mid-September, and the groups had aimed to formally submit it by Oct. 1. Their goal is “to restore affordable single-engine IFR within the current regulatory structure” by reversing a 1999 change to certification guidance that made standards for single-engine IFR helicopters more stringent at a time when the FAA had eased similar standards for airplanes. But the OEM then renewed concerns about specific points in the paper that it felt diverged from FAA-accepted practices or failed to address past FAA comments on the issue. This OEM appears to be unswayed by the trade groups’ argument that the white paper was intended not as a final, accept-or-reject proposal, but rather as the start of discussion with the agency on revising current means of compliance for IFR certification under Federal Aviation Regulations Part 27. The FAA had been looking for a consensus proposal from the industry.