15-Sep-2014 Source: HeliHub.com
Rules are Rules. But there’s always a need to test their reasonableness and rulemakers need to show flexibility.
When EASA came out with a ruling that would bring to an end the commercial operation of Robinson R22 and R44 helicopters, something needed to be done. The British Helicopter Association was instrumental in leading the way on this, and working with EASA, the UK CAA, Robinson and others they have now secured an exemption from the rule for operations in the UK.
In simple terms, the proposed rule coming in to force on 28th October required these two small helicopter types to have four-point upper-torso-restraints fitted. Failure to do so would mean that commercial operations by the R22 and R44 would no longer be allowed.
There is no technical solution available for retrofit of the four-point restraint system on the R22. While a technical solution available for a similar retrofit on the R44, its installation introduces
additional hardware that due to the specific cabin layout of the type, might impose additional risks to the rear seat passengers in the event of an accident or a hard landing. Plus the cost of such modification is considerable. Newly-built R44s can be built with an alternate design four-point upper-torso-restraint system.
EASA have issued a document entitled “Recommendation N° UK/09/2014 on the notification by the United Kingdom of its intent to derogate from certain provisions of Commission Regulation (EU) No 965/2012 on the basis of Article 14(6) of Regulation (EC) No 216/2008.” detailing the background to the case, the legal framework under which they are operating and their evaluation. They conclude with the recommendation that the four-point system is not required for the R22 and R44.
BHA petitioned, CAA supported, Robinson assisted, EASA listened and agreed. Good result all round.
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com