Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation A-10-146
Details
Synopsis: On January 4, 2009, about 1409 central standard time, a dual-engine Sikorsky S-76C++ helicopter, N748P, registered to and operated by PHI, Inc., departed controlled flight and crashed into marshy terrain about 7 minutes after takeoff. Both pilots and six passengers on board were fatally injured, and one passenger was seriously injured. The helicopter was substantially damaged. The helicopter departed Lake Palourde Base Heliport in Amelia, Louisiana, en route to the South Timbalier oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico. No flight plan was filed with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)1 for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 135 air taxi flight, nor was one required.
Recommendation: TO THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION: Update the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 29 transport-category helicopter bird-strike standards so that they are consistent with the latest military and civilian bird-strike database information and trends in bird populations.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Open - Acceptable Response
Mode: Aviation
Location: Morgan City, LA, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: CEN09MA117
Accident Reports:
Report #: None
Accident Date: 1/4/2009
Issue Date: 11/23/2010
Date Closed:
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FAA (Open - Acceptable Response)
Keyword(s): Wildlife

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 2/16/2017
Response: We note that on November 5, 2015, you tasked the Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ARAC) with recommending occupant protection rulemaking for older, certification basis-type designs of normal- and transport category rotorcraft that are still in production. In addition, we are aware that, on April 27, 2016, you tasked the ARAC with recommending bird-strike protection rulemaking, policy, and guidance for normal-category rotorcraft, and with proposing enhanced bird-strike protection standards for transport-category rotorcraft. Pending our timely receipt and review of proposed regulatory changes to improve rotorcraft bird-strike and low rotor speed alerting requirements, Safety Recommendations A 10 141, -146, and 147 remain classified OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 9/15/2016
Response: -From Michael P. Huerta, Administrator: The FAA Rulemaking Management Council (RMC) tasked the Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ARAC) to setup: 1) The Rotorcraft Occupant Protection Working Group to provide advice and recommendations on occupant protection rulemaking in normal and transport category rotorcraft for older certification basis type designs that are still in production. This ARAC tasking was approved and subsequently published in the Federal Register (FR) on November 5, 2015 (80 FR 68599); and 2) The Rotorcraft Bird-Strike Protection Working Group, which was recently approved at the March 2016 RMC meeting with a tasking soon to be published in the FR. The Board stated in its letter to the FAA on July 23,2015. that Safety Recommendation A-10- 144. which does not pertain to bird-strikes, should be addressed independent of a possible general restructure of the rotorcraft airworthiness standards. We have reviewed the existing standards and guidance and have determined that changing the regulations to require an audible low rotor revolution per minute alarm system and master warning light for all dual-engine helicopters is not justified. The FA A's Rotorcraft Directorate has no data indicating that such a design requirement would have prevented an accident or incident. Consequently. we believe that the costs of pursuing rulemaking activity to require a low rotor speed warning for multi-engine rotorcraft equipped with a device that automatically increases power on the operating engine when the other engine fails, far outweighs any benefit. I believe the FAA has effectively addressed Safety Recommendation A-1 0- 144 and consider our actions complete. I will keep the Board informed of the FAA's progress on Safety Recommendations A-10-141, -146, and -147 and provide an update by May 31, 2017.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 7/23/2015
Response: We note that, based on the public’s response to your February 22, 2013, request for comments on “Interest in Restructure of Rotorcraft Airworthiness Standards,” you are exploring the possibility of restructuring the airworthiness standards. We also note that an industry-led Certification Process Study (CPS) will evaluate rotorcraft airworthiness standards, maintenance, operations, and training and develop a CPS report, which could include possible rulemaking recommendations to the FAA. We are concerned that it will be another 2 years, at least, before any rulemaking to address the CPS recommendations is initiated. However, we understand that determining whether a restructure is necessary is the first step to addressing these recommendations. Accordingly, pending our timely receipt and review of proposed regulatory changes that satisfy the recommended improvements to the rotorcraft bird-strike requirements and to the low rotor speed alerting requirements, Safety Recommendations A-10-141, -146, and 147 remain classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESOPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 5/4/2015
Response: -From Michael P. Huerta, Administrator: On February 22, 2013, the FAA published the Interest in Restructure of Rotorcraft Airworthiness Standards request for comments (78 FR 12254). The comment period for the notice closed in May 2013. The FAA completed its review of all comments provided by the public, and published a notice of disposition of comments on July 31 , 2014 (79 FR 44320). As a result of our review, the FAA plans to explore the possibility of restructuring the airworthiness standards. The next step in this process is to begin an industry-led Certification Process Study (CPS). Within this CPS, industry would evaluate rotorcraft airworthiness standards, maintenance, operations, and training. At the conclusion of the CPS, industry would provide recommendations to the FAA via a CPS report, which we expect would include rulemaking recommendations. Any rulemaking recommendations would follow the formal rulemaking process. On March 2, 2015, members of the industry met with the FAA to provide a status on the CPS and to begin finalizing the industry CPS membership. The CPS effort is expected to take at least 18-24 months to complete. From the CPS, we anticipate some rulemaking recommendations from industry. Any rulemaking recommendations will follow the formal rulemaking process. I will keep the Board informed of the FAA's progress on these recommendations and provide an update by February 28, 2016.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 3/27/2014
Response: We note that, on February 22, 2013, you published the request for comments on “Interest in Restructure of Rotorcraft Airworthiness Standards.” We also note that, after you determine whether a restructure is necessary, you will begin the process to draft and incorporate the recommended improvements to the rotorcraft bird-strike requirements and to the low rotor speed alerting requirements. Pending our timely receipt and review of proposed regulatory changes that satisfy Safety Recommendations A-10-141, 144, -146, and -147, these recommendations are classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 1/7/2014
Response: -From Michael P. Huerta, Administrator: At a public meeting, held in conjunction with the Helicopter Association International Heli-Expo on March 8, 20 II , the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) discussed possible changes to the rotorcraft airworthiness standards in parts 27 and 29. These changes included Board-recommended changes to bird-strike requirements. In 2012, before an internal review of the proposed regulatory changes could be conducted, the FAA decided to explore restructuring the applicable airworthiness standards for normal and transport category rotorcraft. As a result, the FAA has placed changes to rotorcraft airworthiness on hold. On February 22, 2013, the FAA published the Interest in Restructure of Rotorcraft Airworthiness Standards request for comments (78 FR 12254). This notice is available at the following Web address: https://www. federalregister.gov/articles/20 13/02/22/20 13-03 709/interest -in-rcstructure-ofrotorcraft-airworthiness-standards. The comment period for the notice closed in May 2013. The FAA is currently reviewing all comments and will make a determination on restructuring the applicable airworthiness standards. We plan to make a decision in late fiscal year 20 14. Regardless of whether or not the FAA determines that rotorcraft airworthiness standards should be restructured, the FAA is proceeding with an internal review of all proposed regulatory changes, including those discussed during the public meeting in 2011. I will keep the Board informed of the FAA's progress on these recommendations and provide an update by October 30, 2014.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 9/20/2012
Response: The FAA indicated that changes to the rotorcraft bird-strike requirements had been discussed at a February 2011 public meeting that was held during a regulatory review of Parts 27 and 29. Pending timely completion of the recommended revisions to the regulations, Safety Recommendations A-10-146 and -147 remain classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 6/5/2012
Response: -From Michael P. Huerta, Acting Administrator: We discussed proposed changes to the rotorcraft bird strike requirements at a February 2011 public meeting during a regulatory review of parts 27 and 29. We plan to evaluate and address the bird-strike requirements, along with other proposed changes from the public meeting, during an internal review before the end of2012. I will keep the Board informed of the FAA's progress on these safety recommendations and provide an updated response by March 2013.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 7/11/2011
Response: The FAA indicated that it is evaluating the requirements of 14 CFR 29.631 to determine whether they should be included in the upcoming rotorcraft regulatory and policy review. Pending our receipt and review of the FAA’s findings, Safety Recommendation A-10-146 is classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 1/31/2011
Response: CC# 201100057: - From J. Randolph Babbitt, Administrator: We are evaluating the current bird-strike requirements of § 29.631 to determine whether they should be included in the upcoming rotorcraft regulatory and policy review. Our evaluation includes a review of multiple databases for the size of birds encountered.