Bureau demands international standard for power-assisted safety systems

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has called on the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) as a matter of priority to develop an international standard for the marking of aircraft fitted with rocket-assisted recovery parachute systems.

The call is in response to concerns by the ATSB and other aircraft accident investigation authorities that undeployed parachute systems present a potentially serious safety risk to personnel attending accident sites.

The move follows an incident in which a Cessna 172 and a Sting TL-2000 ultralight collided during landing in Western Australia in 2002. The nose and propeller of the 172 became entangled with the rear fuselage of the TL-2000, the latter having a rocket-assisted parachute system that had not deployed.

The rocket actuation cable became entangled with the 172's propeller and any further rotation might have activated the rocket, which could have ruptured the aircraft's fuel tank, says the ATSB.

Increasing numbers of aircraft are fitted with such systems says the ATSB, and there is no consistent identification or markings system warning of the hazards posed by the rocket, it adds.

The US National Transportation Safety Board has also expressed concerns about the dangers and has issued its own recommendations to the US Federal Aviation Administration on how to handle such systems at accident sites.

A warning decal is being developed for light sport aircraft made in the USA, but the NTSB is urging ICAO, working with the FAA and the European Aviation Safety Agency, to develop an international standard.


Source: Flight International