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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation A-08-064
Synopsis: Parachute jump (or skydiving) operations, which the Federal Aviation Administration defines as the activities performed for the purpose of or in support of the descent parachutists (or skydivers) who jump from aircraft, are a segment of U.S. general aviation that transports parachutists on at least 2. 16 to 3 million jumps annually, according to data compiled by the United States Parachute Association (USPA). Most parachute operations flights are operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 and are typically revenue operations; parachute jump operators provide the flights as part of their services to parachutists who pay to go skydiving, or parachutists pay dues for membership in parachuting clubs. The risks of parachuting are generally perceived to involve the acts of jumping from the aircraft, deploying the parachute, and landing; parachutists are aware of and manage these risks. However, the National Transportation Safety Board’s special investigation of the safety of parachute jump operations found that traveling on parachute operations flights can also present risks. Since 1980, 32 accidents involving parachute operations aircraft have killed 172 people, most of whom were parachutists.
Recommendation: TO THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION: Develop and distribute guidance materials, in conjunction with the United States Parachute Association, for parachute jump operators to assist operators in implementing effective aircraft inspection and maintenance quality assurance programs.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Aviation
Location: SULLIVAN, MO, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Accident #: CHI06FA210
Accident Reports: Crash of Skydive Quantum Leap de Havilland DHC-6-100, N203E
Report #: SIR-08-01
Accident Date: 7/29/2006
Issue Date: 9/25/2008
Date Closed: 5/23/2013
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FAA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Jump Operations,

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
Date: 5/23/2013
Response: We previously classified this recommendation “Open—Unacceptable Response,” because the revised AC 105-2D, published on May 18, 2011, did not contain adequate guidance on implementing effective aircraft inspection and maintenance quality assurance programs. However, since then, the USPA (1) developed and distributed to all Group Member Drop Zone operators an aircraft maintenance guidance packet, clarifying which FAA regulations apply to jump plane operators and explaining the inspection and maintenance options available, (2) amended its Basic Safety Requirements to verify that all aircraft used for parachute operations comply with the commercial maintenance requirements described in FAR Part 91.409(a) through (f), and (3) verified that all its member operators are complying with the amended requirements. These actions satisfy Safety Recommendation A-08-64. Because the FAA worked with the USPA as requested to develop this additional guidance, the recommendation is classified CLOSED—ACCEPTABLE ACTION.

From: FAA
Date: 2/11/2013
Response: -From Michael P. Huerta, Administrator: Since our October 9, 2010, response, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) worked with USPA to revise the following guidance to assist the parachute jump operators in implementing more effective inspection and maintenance quality assurance programs: • Advisory Circular (AC) 105-2D, Sport Parachuting, was revised to include clearer guidance concerning maintenance and inspection of jump aircraft utilized by the drop zones. Published on May 18, 2011, the revised AC provides suggestions to improve sport parachuting in compliance with 14 CFR Part 105. The AC is available at: Advisory Circular/ AC%20 1 05-2D.pdf. In its March 6, 2012, letter, the Board expressed concern that the revised AC did not contain guidance to address this recommendation. However, paragraph 7 addresses jump aircraft maintenance and jump pilots, stating that whenever flights are offered for compensation or hire, the flight is considered a commercial operation under part 91 and is subject to both a specific aircraft inspection program and an acceptable maintenance program. The various inspection programs are detailed and a sample aircraft status inspection list is provided in the AC. • Order 8900.l, Flight Standards Information Management System (FSIMS), volume 6, chapter 11, section 5, published on August 1, 2011, provides Aviation Safety Inspectors (ASIs) surveillance procedures to include the entire parachute operation, including, but not limited to: o Aircraft configuration authorization; o Required maintenance and operation inspections; o Flight manual supplements; o Placards; o Operational waivers; o Pilot certification and training; and o Parachute airworthiness. This section of FSIMS is available at: • Order 1800.56M, National Flight Standards Work Program Guidelines, effective July 30, 2012, adds new surveillance requirements for ASIs, including surveillance of jump operations as part of the ASI's work program. This order is available at: • Training Course #27100175, "Other Types of Aviation for General Aviation Airworthiness Inspectors," provides details concerning the uniqueness of jump operations and aircraft maintenance requirements to newly hired ASIs. The FAA also met with USP A to develop maintenance and inspection programs for parachute jump operators. Together, we developed procedures that enable parachute jump operators to implement effective inspection and maintenance quality assurance programs. USPA undertook an active on-going role in educating the owners of jump aircraft, pilots, parachutists, and skydiving drop zone operators (DZO) by using the association's monthly magazine, Web site, and email communications. USPA group members' DZOs operate for hire, and, as stated above, they must ensure that all aircraft utilized for the purpose of parachute operations comply with the maintenance requirements described in § 91.409 (a) through (t), as applicable. USPA used a two-pronged approach to define their safety improvements. The first effort was to review the regulations with respect to jump operations and to clarify what is expected. The second effort was to implement a method to validate a DZO's completed actions for compliance with the associated regulations. A USP A status form is completed by the members and returned to USPA ensuring that aircraft used in skydiving drop zone operations have complied with the aircraft inspection requirements. The DZOs that do not return these status forms cannot be involved in the USPA group member program. To date, the response by the members show a majority of the USPA-affiliated DZOs are involved in the USPA reporting program. A sample USPA Aircraft Status Form is available at: GM_MailingAircraftStatusForm.pdf. Also, USP A added a section concerning maintenance, inspection, and airworthiness of aircraft used for jump operations that must be met for approval or renewal of a USPA drop zone. This information is available at: d/503/Default.aspx. Although manufacturers' service bulletins, service information letters, and time between overhaul limitations are recommendations for part 91 operators, life-limited components listed in the aircraft limitations are required compliance items. The FAA and USPA recommend that the owner/operators review the manufacturer's maintenance manual or any other manufacturer's recommended information and incorporate appropriate actions. USPA's response to this recommendation showing that this was ajoint effort and that the FAA and USPA are in agreement is available at: I believe that the FAA, through the above actions both individually and with USPA, has effectively addressed this recommendation, and I consider our actions complete.

From: NTSB
Date: 3/6/2012
Response: We previously classified this recommendation “Open—Acceptable Response,” because the FAA had indicated that it planned to address the recommendation in its revisions to AC 105-2C. However, the revised AC 105-2D, published on May 18, 2011, did not contain the recommended guidance. Accordingly, please clarify how the FAA currently plans to address this recommendation. In the interim, Safety Recommendation A-08-64 is classified OPEN—UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: NTSB
Date: 5/18/2011
Response: The NTSB notes the FAA’s and the USPA’s ongoing efforts to address these recommendations, and we look forward to reviewing the FAA’s revised AC and Order 8900.1, Flight Standards Information Management System. Once revised as planned, the guidance contained in these documents should heighten the awareness of pilots, operators, and parachutists on the safe conduct of sport parachuting operations. Pending completion of these revisions and our subsequent review, Safety Recommendations A-08-64 and -67 remain classified OPEN – ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
Date: 10/9/2010
Response: CC# 201000388: - From J. Randolph Babbitt, Administrator: The Federal Aviation Administration, working in conjunction with USPA, is revising Advisory Circular (AC) 105-2, Sport Parachuting, to comply with this safety recommendation. Both the sport parachute skydiver and the aircraft operator use AC 105-2 for guidance and information during Drop Zone (DZ) operations. The revised AC will provide information for DZ operators, including inspection, maintenance, configuration, and pilot safety requirements. The FAA is also revising FAA Order 8900.1, Flight Standards Information Management System, to comply with this safety recommendation. The status of both revised guidance documents will be included in our next update. USPA agrees with the FAA that current regulatory requirements for inspection and maintenance must be better communicated and disseminated. USPA will educate aircraft owners, pilots, and DZ operators by using the association's monthly magazine, email, and website, as stated in their response to this safety recommendation (enclosed). The USPA Web site serves as a central communication platform for sport parachuting information and provides safety-related information through direct email communication with its membership, which includes both individuals and DZ operators. In addition, USPA will include the content of the FAA's revised AC and Order 8900.1 in their manual, which is available online and in print. I will keep the Board informed of the FANs progress on this safety recommendation, and I will provide an update by August 2011.

From: NTSB
Date: 4/26/2010
Response: The FAA indicated that it agrees with the intent of these safety recommendations and will work with the United States Parachute Association (USPA) to develop maintenance and inspection programs for parachute jump operators. The FAA further indicated that guidance would be incorporated into the USPA’s manual as part of the requirements for the intended parachute landing area, referred to as the Drop Zone. The NTSB looks forward to reviewing the details of the developed maintenance and inspection programs and associated guidance material. Pending our review, Safety Recommendations A-08-63 and -64 are classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
Date: 1/15/2009
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 2/17/2009 12:26:33 PM MC# 2090077: - From Robert A. Sturgell, Acting Administrator: FAA Comment. The Federal Aviation Administration met with the United States Parachute Association (USPA) to discuss the need to develop maintenance and inspection programs for parachute jump operators. We agree with the intent of these recommendations and will work together to develop the recommended programs. The guidance will be placed in USPA’s manual as part of the requirements for the Drop Zone. We anticipate completion and implementation of the procedures and guidance by October 2009.