So you’re an air ambulance operator and need to comply with the new 135.607 rule, but you’re not sure what is being required. First, let’s take a look at the rule*.
After April 23, 2018, no person may operate a helicopter in air ambulance operations unless it is equipped with an approved flight data monitoring system capable of recording flight performance data.
The system must:
A) Receive electrical power from the bus that provides the maximum reliability for operation without jeopardizing service to essential or emergency loads, and
B) Be operated from the application of electrical power before takeoff until the removal of electrical power after termination of flight.
Now, points A and B are pretty clear, but many people aren’t sure what data is included in “flight performance data.” So let’s look at Section 10 in the Final Rule.
The FAA proposed that the flight data monitoring system “would be required to capture data according to a broadly defined set of parameters including information pertaining to the aircraft’s state (such as heading, altitude, and attitude), condition (such as rotors, transmission, engine parameters, and flight controls), and system performance (such as full authority digital engine control, and electronic flight instrumentation system).”
This is helpful, but it’s still not specifying that you must capture “X, Y and Z” parameters — instead, it gives recommendations. From discussions with the FAA, it’s our understanding that the language was left vague so that they don’t mandate a “one-size-fits-all” approach. There are aircraft operating in this sector of the industry that vary greatly in the flight data information available to them. For example, what works for a brand new Airbus H145 may not be a good solution for a legacy Bell 206, since they have completely different onboard systems.
*[Docket No.: FAA-2010-0982; Amdt. Nos. 91-330; 120-2; 135-129]: Helicopter Air Ambulance, Commercial Helicopter, and Part 91 Helicopter Operations
Casey DeLanghe, Sales Manager, helps our customers find the best solutions in Flight Data Monitoring. If you have any questions, please contact Casey at firstname.lastname@example.org.