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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation A-07-026
Details
Synopsis: On September 24, 2004, about 1642 Hawaiian standard time, a Bell 206B helicopter, N16849, registered to and operated by Bali Hai Helicopter Tours, Inc., of Hanapepe, Hawaii, impacted mountainous terrain in Kalaheo, Hawaii, on the island of Kauai, 8.4 miles northeast of Port Allen Airport in Hanapepe. The commercial pilot and the four passengers were killed, and the helicopter was destroyed by impact forces and postimpact fire. The nonstop sightseeing air tour flight was operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 and visual flight rules (VFR) with no flight plan filed. Instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) prevailed near the accident site.
Recommendation: TO THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION: Require that Hawaii air tour operators equip tour aircraft with compatible automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) technology within 1 year of the installation of a functional National ADS-B Program infrastructure in Hawaii.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Unacceptable Action
Mode: Aviation
Location: Kalaheo, HI, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: LAX04FA329
Accident Reports: Weather Encounter and Subsequent Collision into Terrain, Bali Hai Helicopter Tours, Inc., Bell 206B, N16849
Report #: AAR-07-03
Accident Date: 9/24/2004
Issue Date: 2/27/2007
Date Closed: 4/18/2014
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FAA (Closed - Unacceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Air Tours, Instruments

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 4/18/2014
Response: In your initial response to us regarding this recommendation, on May 17, 2007, you proposed addressing it through memorandums of agreement (MOA) with Hawaiian air tour operators, who would voluntarily equip their aircraft to use the capabilities of an ADS-B system, thus achieving the same safety benefits. At that time, you believed that this approach would “expedite the equipage process,” because you were concerned that the recommended mandate would require more time and would result in operator opposition. You also suggested that, as the Hawaiian ADS-B program infrastructure became available, you might begin rulemaking to require commercial air tour operators to equip air tour aircraft with compatible ADS-B technology within 1 year of a final rule. We replied that use of MOAs might be an acceptable alternative solution that would satisfy the recommendation. On November 11, 2011, and again on August 28, 2012, you informed us that no Hawaiian air tour operators had expressed any interest in voluntarily equipping their aircraft as needed to use the ADS-B system, and that no MOAs had been created or were planned. In your current letter, you reiterate that no Hawaiian operators have volunteered to install or use ADS-B equipment. Rather than addressing this problem, you are reducing the ADS-B ground infrastructure because “investments in expanding the ground infrastructure would not yield any safety improvements unless the tour operators have the appropriate avionics to achieve the safety benefits.” In short, you have decided not to take the recommended action and have declined to extend to Hawaiian air tour operators the safety benefits of ADS-B. Consequently, Safety Recommendation A-07-26 is classified CLOSED—UNACCEPTABLE ACTION.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 3/18/2014
Response: -From Michael P. Huerta, Administrator: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) continues to make progress with the installation of ADS-B ground infrastructure in Hawaii. As stated in our previous response, helicopter tour operators are not required to equip ADS-B (Out or In) to fly in the airspace. Hawaiian air tour operators fly in a portion of airspace that will not be affected by the Automatic Dependent Surveillance - Broadcast (ADS-B) Out Performance Requirements to Support Air Traffic Control (A TC) Services Final Rule (75 FR 30 160). The FAA sought a memorandum of agreement to ensure commitment. However, the tour operators have not shown interest in equipping with ADS-B. Therefore, this is no longer a viable alternative. Investments in expanding the ground infrastructure would not yield any safety improvements unless the tour operators have the appropriate avionics to achieve the safety benefits. The ADS-B Pilot Advisory Services will be available to a large percentage of the islands by April2014 and the FAA anticipates improved safety benefits if helicopter tour operators become properly equipped. The current status of ADS-B ground infrastructure is as follows: Name, Planned Radio Station Installation, Testing, Pilot Advisory Services, Estimated Number of Contributing Radio Stations Planned Honolulu En Route SV-161, Feb 2014, Mar 2014, Apr2014, Aug 2014, 12 Hilo Terminal SV-236 Feb 2014, Mar2014, Apr 2014, Aug 2014, 3 Lihue (Kauai) Terminal SV-237 Feb2014, Mar 2014, Apr 2014, Aug 2014, 5 Kahului Terminal SV-70 Feb 2014, Mar 2014, Apr 2014, Aug 2014, 5 Honolulu Terminal SV-11 Feb 2014, Mar 2014, Apr 2014, Aug 2014, 4 Honolulu -Hickam AFB Surface SV- 192 Feb 2014, Mar 2014, Apr 2014, Aug2014, 2 Hawaii CTV -1022 Feb 2014, Mar 2014, Apr 2014, Aug2014, 12 I will keep the Board informed on the progress of these recommendations and provide an update by December 31, 2014.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 11/20/2012
Response: We remain concerned that air tour operators in Hawaii have not expressed interest in voluntarily equipping their aircraft with the avionics needed to use ADS-B. Unless they install the avionics needed to use ADS-B, aircraft tour operators will not benefit from the FAA’s accelerated deployment of ADS-B in 2013. Accordingly, pending the issuance of a requirement for Hawaiian air tour operators to equip their aircraft with compatible ADS-B technology within 1 year of the installation of a functional National ADS-B Program infrastructure in Hawaii, Safety Recommendation A-07-26 remains classified OPEN—UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 8/28/2012
Response: -From Michael P. Huerta, Acting Administrator: In 2009, the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Surveillance Broadcast System Program Office facilitated a thorough safety analysis of weather and surveillance coverage over the Hawaiian Islands to determine the benefit of Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) for helicopter tour operators. Since each Hawaiian Island is unique, the analysis was scoped to assess Kauai as a representative island, supported by historical accident rate criteria. As part of the analysis, the team evaluated radar, Wide-Area Multilateration, and ADS-B technologies. It was determined that ADS-B was the only surveillance source that met the needs of the tour operators. Based on the result of the analysis, the FAA plans to increase the number of ADS-B radio stations on the island of Kauai. While the current program baseline is scheduled to deploy two radio stations, the analysis indicates there would be a need for an additional three radio stations above the current program baseline. Also, the analysis concluded there would be a need to deploy six weather cameras, which would be a new service on the island. ADS-B Implementation in Hawaii: The FAA plans to provide an ADS-B ground infrastructure in Hawaii as part of a national implementation plan. The baseline for implementation in the Hawaiian Islands is scheduled for 2013. This will provide pilot advisory services (i.e., traffic and weather information to properly equipped aircraft). In addition, the FAA will provide air traffic separation services by April 2014. An approximate implementation schedule for the Hawaiian Islands is listed in the table below. Name: Honolulu Enroute Planned radio station installation: April 2013 Testing: February 2014 Pilot Advisory Services: March 2014 ATC Separation Services: April 2014 Number of Radio stations proposed: 1 (at Molokai and coverage by Terminal Ration station news) Name: Hilo Terminal Planned Radio Station Installation: April 2013 Testing: January 2014 Pilot advisory services: March 2014 ATC separation services: April 2014 Number of radio stations (proposed): 3 Name: Lihue (Kauai) Terminal Planned Radio station installation: April 2013 Testing: January 2014 Pilot advisory services: March 2014 ATC separation services: April 2014 Number of Radio Station Proposed: 2 Name: Kahului Terminal Planned Radio station installation: April 2013 Testing: January 2014 Pilot advisory services: March 2014 ATC separation services: April 2014 Number of Radio Station Proposed: 1 Name: Honolulu Terminal Planned Radio station installation: April 2013 Testing: January 2014 Pilot advisory services: March 2014 ATC separation services: April 2014 Number of Radio Station Proposed: 2 Name: Honolulu Surface Planned Radio station installation: May 2013 Testing: January 2014 Pilot advisory services: March 2014 ATC separation services: April 2014 Number of Radio Station Proposed: 3 ADS-B Implementation Considerations: a. The implementation of the recommendations will only be feasible if the air tour operators equip with ADS-B compatible avionics; b. Presently, the helicopter tour operators have not shown an interest in equipping their aircraft; c. A memorandum of agreement will be created if air tour operators express interest in equipping with ADS-B; d. The analysis will only expand to look at other islands if strong interest in ADS-B equipage is expressed by the tour operators; and e. This analysis will serve as additional data if any stimulus funding becomes available for incentivizing equipage. I will keep the Board informed of the FAA's progress on these recommendations and provide an update by August 31, 2013.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 2/29/2012
Response: We note the FAA’s unsuccessful efforts to create Memorandums of Agreement (MOAs) with air tour operators in Hawaii that would establish helicopter operators’ voluntarily equipping their aircraft with the avionics needed to use ADS-B. Our concern remains that, without these avionics being installed on tour aircraft, operators will not benefit from the FAA’s accelerated deployment of ADS-B in 2013. The FAA did not indicate another plan for addressing this safety issue. Accordingly, pending a requirement for Hawaii air tour operators to equip tour aircraft with compatible ADS-B technology within 1 year of the installation of a functional National ADS-B Program infrastructure in Hawaii, Safety Recommendation A-07-26 is classified OPEN—UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 11/10/2011
Response: -From J. Randolph Babbitt, Administrator: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) conducted an Alternatives Analysis (enclosed) to determine the best solution for surveillance, weather, and communications needed to improve service for the Hawaii Tour Operators. The baseline deployment for ADS-B on all Hawaiian Islands is on schedule for 2013. The island of Kauai was selected as the initial 'pilot' project due to historical accidents and potential for ADS-B benefits. Due to operational differences on each Hawaiian island, it was determined that it would be more realistic to approach one island at a time. To support in-flight surveillance and weather capabilities, the preferred alternative for Kauai would entail implementation of additional ADS-B infrastructure (including the flight information service - broadcast service), supplemented with six weather cameras for preflight information. However, the implementation of this alternative will only be feasible with ADS-B equipage by air tour operators. As previously mentioned, it is our intent to create a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) once air tour operators express interest in equipage with ADS-B. Unfortunately, we are not aware of any operator that has expressed an interest in equipping with ADS-B, or interest in participating in an MOA prior to the 2020 mandate. At this time the FAA does not have funding allocated for the additional radio stations and expansion of weather cameras and finds little to no value in doing so until air tour operators equip with ADS-B. I will keep the Board informed of the FAA's progress on these safety recommendations and provide an updated response by May 31, 2012.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 12/4/2007
Response: The FAA indicated that is considering an alternative to the requirement recommended. In this alternative approach, the FAA will create MOAs with air tour operators in Hawaii, as discussed in its response to Safety Recommendation A-07-25. The FAA believes that the MOA approach will result in ADS-B equipment being installed and used sooner than is likely with a requirement for air tour operators to have the equipment installed. A mandate may also result in operator opposition and increase the uncertainty of the ultimate action taken. Development of MOAs with commercial Hawaiian air tour operators is an acceptable alternative approach so long as the FAA can provide evidence that all operators have adopted the MOA. The Board is particularly concerned that air tour flights operated under visual flight rules (VFR) may not adopt the MOA, despite the fact that these operations would realize important safety benefits in Hawaii if ADS-B were available and used in these operations. Pending development and adoption of MOAs for the equipage with ADS-B equipment for all aircraft used in commercial Hawaiian air tour operations, and evidence to indicate that all affected operators (including those under VFR) have signed an MOA, Safety RecommendationA-07-26 is classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE ALTERNATE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 5/17/2007
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 5/31/2007 8:30:30 AM MC# 2070237: - From Marion C. Blakey, Administrator: As stated above in the response to safety recommendation A-07-25, the FAA’s Surveillance and Broadcast Services program office is considering an MOA as an option rather than an equipage mandate. This approach could expedite the equipage process along with the deployment of the ground infrastructure. If we use the mandate process as the alternative method, it may require a longer time and result in operator opposition. We will continue to work with HA1 to decide if an MOA would be more mutually beneficial than the mandate. As the Hawaiian ADS-B Program infrastructure becomes available, we may begin rulemaking action to require commercial air tour operators to equip air tour aircraft with compatible ADS-B technology within 1 year of a final rule. If the agency chooses to do rulemaking, it would be subject to an economic and safety analysis.