Julian Moxon/Paris

French-led efforts to win a relaxation of forthcoming European rules governing the operations of single-engined and light-twin helicopters have met a "positive response" from the Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA), claims the Groupement Francaise de l'Helicopter (GFH).

According to Charles Schmitt, vice-president of Paris-based GFH, there is a "fairly good probability" that the JAA operations committee, which met in Helsinki, Finland, during the first week of July, will accept recommendations to amend the proposed Joint Aviation Requirement Operations (JAR/OPS) 3 on single-engined and light-twin helicopters.

The GFH has been trying to find a solution to the regulations, which, if enacted as they now stand, would ban single-engined and light-twin operations from elevated sites such as oil rigs and rooftops. The recommendation to the JAA is similar in concept to that covering extended-range twin-engined-operations by business jets (Flight International, 9-15 July, P6).

Essentially, the idea is to allow such helicopters to be operated from elevated sites in non-congested areas, if the helicopters meet stringent safety and operational conditions. These must result in the probability of engine failure at critical take-off and landing times being limited to acceptable levels.

The GFH proposes certification of helicopters to clear them for landing on elevated sites where statistics indicate a probability of one engine failure in excess of every 20 million hours. It admits that this is less than the figure for aircraft (one every 100 million hours), but Schmitt says that the condition applies to just "2s" of critical flight time in helicopters instead of several hours in airliners.

He adds that there have been difficulties in establishing the statistical data from the past ten years of helicopter operations. "We had to harmonise the US statistics with those of Europe to be able to take advantage of the far greater use of helicopters in the USA," he says. That work is almost finished.

Source: Flight International