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FAA Extends Deadline for Final Helicopter Safety RuleApril 17–In response to industry feedback and so that the FAA can develop detailed guidance materials, the FAA is extending the compliance deadline for the helicopter safety rule by one year to April 22, 2015. This will provide the industry with necessary FAA materials and adequate time to adapt their manuals and provide training to pilots.

On February 20, the FAA issued a final rule that requires helicopter operators, including air ambulances, to have stricter flight rules and procedures, improved communications, training, and additional on-board safety equipment. The rule represents the most significant improvements to helicopter safety in decades and responds to government’s and industry’s concern over continued risk in helicopter operations.  The deadline for equipage requirements will remain unchanged from the final rule and become effective within three years, or by April 24, 2017, with the exception of requirements for Operations Control Centers by 2016, and Flight Data Monitoring System by 2018. Most of the operational requirements were to become effective within 60 days of publication, or by April 22, 2014 but are now extended to April 22, 2015.

For more information, go to the Federal Register.