Engine filtration experts from Donaldson Aerospace & Defense, a business unit within Donaldson Company, Inc. (NYSE: DCI) will present July 7 at a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) meeting being held to discuss proposed policy changes to the Inlet Barrier Filtration (IBF) certification process for helicopters. The public meeting will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn at Fort Worth Alliance Airport from 9 a.m. to noon.
The proposed policy changes have also drawn the interest of members of the aviation subcommittees in both houses of Congress. Senator Amy Klobuchar and Representative Rick Nolan sent a letter this week to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta questioning the need for the shift in policy and asking why the agency is making the changes without using its more deliberative Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ARAC) process.
The FAA has cited the need to “ensure the safe and standardized installations of IBFs in rotorcraft” as rationale for the new approach. Donaldson’s position is that because it will limit IBF installation on existing helicopters, the proposed policy would actually compromise safe, efficient operations of many helicopters important to public safety.
Citing IBF safety records, the company will tell the FAA that there is no rationale for a change in policy. “The existing policy has allowed development and installation of technology that has improved the performance of helicopters, substantially reduced the cost of maintenance and enhanced operators’ margin of safety,” said Tom Scalf, senior vice president of Engine Products at Donaldson Company. “The FAA is proposing a far-reaching change in an existing policy and doing so without fully considering the distinguished 20-year track-record of IBFs.” According to Scalf, “This proposed policy will undermine the future development of a proven technology and is not in the best interest of those it is intended to serve. We urge that it be withdrawn.”
Sen. Klobuchar and Rep. Nolan cited the two-decade long safety record of IBF systems and said “the change in current policy could be unworkable.” The members of Congress, both of whom serve on the aviation subcommittee in their respective chambers, pointed out that the FAA has said it has not found a safety issue with IBF systems, according to published news reports. They asked FAA administrator Michael Huerta to answer why the agency sees the need for a change in policy in light of the technology’s record.
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