Faced with the prospect of increasing Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) scrutiny and policy changes for future Inlet Barrier Filter (IBF) development standards, Aerometals (formerly FDC/Aerofilter) continues to encourage aircraft owners, operators and concerned aviation professionals to respond to the FAA proposed policy statement No. PS-ASW-27/29-7. A recent extension for public comment submittal extends the due date to April 15, 2016
and can be found athttps://www.faa.gov/aircraft/draft_docs/policy/
. The FAA Policy Statement on Certification of Engine IBF Installations on Rotorcraft contemplates new and what Aerometals considers unrealistic certification guidance and a threat to the very future of any new developments.
During a meeting held at this year’s Helicopter Association International (HAI) Heli-Expo in Louisville, KY, Lance Gant, Rotorcraft Directorate Manager, stated “Inlet Barrier Filters are nothing but goodness when operating in certain parts of the world.” Furthermore, Mr. Gant confirmed that the current certification standards have not resulted in any “unsafe conditions”. When asked about the intent of the proposed policy change, the FAA was unable to answer why the new policy was under consideration with no evidence of an unsafe condition.
Two primary U.S. STC holders have produced over 7000 IBF systems over the last twenty years with over 20 million flight hours flown – all with no reported incidents or accidents directly related to an IBF system. Early systems were developed to protect military turbine engines operating in harsh environments and later adapted to provide the same safety and power margin protection for civil applications. IBF systems are known to significantly reduce erosion and damage as well as operating costs for turbine engines. Both companies have stated that aftermarket IBF development will stop, leaving only OEM involvement if this proposed policy statement is adopted.
Aerometals submitted an initial FAA Supplemental Type Certification (STC) application in March of 2012 for an IBF system for the Sikorsky S-92 and has yet to receive FAA approval after extensive testing and burdensome new methods of compliance following an FAA “issue paper” outlining over 90 new requirements. The company has several other projects that have been halted because of changing FAA guidance under unclear circumstances including the EC2135T2/T2+ and the H130. Aerometals contends that the FAA continues to obstruct IBF business with unrealistic demands under no clear or admitted reasons for the changes to an already rigorous and time-consuming certification process. Aircraft owners and operators continue to wait for new engine protection systems under development with no clear approval timeframe. For further information, please contact John Holland at firstname.lastname@example.org