Friday, October 23, 2015
Congressmen Urge Swift Action on Fuel Systems
Two U.S. congressmen are calling on the FAA to act immediately on requiring all new-build helicopters to have crash-resistant fuel systems. Those systems are the focus of next week’s Rotorcraft Certification Summit opening session; NTSB Director of Aviation Safety John DeLisi will brief summit attendees on the fatal 2014 Bell Helicopter 206L1+ air ambulance crash that led to the safety board’s recent call for fuel system improvements. The FAA plans to convene a rulemaking advisory committee to address that call, a process that typically takes years. “While diligence is important in this process,” representatives Jared Polis and Ed Perlmutter wrote to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta Oct. 22, “it is also imperative that we begin addressing these needless deaths immediately.” The Colorado democrats’ letter was prompted by a Denver TV station’s reporting on fuel-system safety in the wake of a July 3 Airbus AS350-B3E crash in Frisco, Colorado, that killed the pilot, severely burned a paramedic and injured a flight nurse. Polis is a member of the powerful Rules Committee of the House of Representatives, and Perlmutter is on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, the jurisdiction of which includes civil aviation research and development like that supporting the FAA’s high-priority NextGen air traffic control system. A limited number of seats remain available for the Rotorcraft Certification Summit Oct. 27 in Irving, Texas.