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General Aviation Safety
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.
TO THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION: Require direct surveillance of parachute jump operators to include, at a minimum, maintenance and operations inspections.
Original recommendation transmittal letter:
Closed - Acceptable Action
SULLIVAN, MO, United States
Crash of Skydive Quantum Leap de Havilland DHC-6-100, N203E
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status:
FAA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Jump Operations, Maintenance, Oversight
Safety Recommendation History
The FAA stated that Order 8900.1, “Flight Standards Information Management System,” Volume 6, Chapter 11, Section 5, was revised on August 1, 2011, to include maintenance and operation inspections, aircraft configuration authorization, flight manual supplements, placards, operational waivers, pilot certification and training, and parachute airworthiness. The FAA also stated that Order 1800.56, “National Flight Standards Work Program Guidelines,” was revised on July 21, 2011, to include surveillance of any parachute operation aircraft under Part 91 conducting parachute operations in accordance with Part 105. We note that an Aviation Safety Inspector must choose at least 1 airworthiness inspection and 1 operations inspection from a list of 10 inspection types (for example, 1 maintenance spot inspection and 1 operations ramp inspection). These revisions satisfy the intent of Safety Recommendation A-08-68; accordingly, it is classified CLOSED—ACCEPTABLE ACTION.
-From Michael P. Huerta, Acting Administrator: On August 1, 2011, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) published revised Order 8900.1, volume 6, chapter II, section 5 (enclosed), to include maintenance and operation inspections, aircraft configuration authorization, flight manual supplements, placards, operation waivers, pilot certification and training, and parachute airworthiness. Additionally, on July 21, 2011, the FAA published Order 1800.56 Revision L, appendix A, item 19, Parachute Operations (enclosed). These requirements apply to any parachute operation aircraft under part 91 conducting parachute operations in accordance with part 105. An Aviation Safety Inspector must conduct at least 2 of the following 10 inspections per year on each parachute operation/drop zone located within the Flight Standards District Office jurisdiction. One inspection must be an airworthiness inspection and the other must be an operations inspection. These inspections may be different types (e.g., one maintenance spot inspection and one operations ramp inspection) and could include: (a) Ramp (1622, 3627, or 5627) (b) Parachute Jumps (1696) (c) Spot (3628, 3631, or 5681) (d) Aircraft Records (3694 or 5694) (e) Title 14 CFR Part 65 Rigger (senior or master) (3678) I believe that the FAA has effectively addressed this safety recommendation with the publication of these Orders, and I consider our actions complete.
The FAA indicated that it will revise Order 8900.1, “Flight Standards Information Management System,” Volume 6, Chapter 11, Section 5, to include maintenance and operation inspections, aircraft configuration authorization, flight manual supplements, placards, operational waivers, pilot certification and training, and parachute airworthiness. In addition, the FAA indicated that it will revise Order 1800.56, “National Flight Standards Work Program Guidelines, to include surveillance of parachute jump operators as part of inspectors’ work programs. The actions proposed are responsive to this recommendation; accordingly, pending implementation of a requirement for direct surveillance of parachute jump operators that includes maintenance and operations inspections, Safety Recommendation A-08-68 is classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.
Letter Mail Controlled 2/17/2009 12:26:33 PM MC# 2090077: - From Robert A. Sturgell, Acting Administrator: The FAA will revise FAA Order 8900.1, Flight Standards Information Management System, Volume 6, Chapter 11, Section 5, to provide aviation safety inspectors surveillance procedures to include the entire parachute operation, including, but not limited to: Aircraft configuration authorization; Required maintenance and operation inspections; Flight manual supplements; Placards; Operational waivers; Pilot certification and training; and Parachute airworthiness. The FAA will also revise FAA Order 1800.56, National Flight Standards Work Program Guidelines, to include surveillance of parachute jump operators as part of inspectors’ work programs. I will keep the Board informed of the progress of these recommendations and provide a further response by December 31, 2009.
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