Agency reiterates need for TAWS equipment to improve oilfield support operations in Gulf of Mexico

Mandatory fitment of terrain awareness and warning systems (TAWS) for turbine-powered transport helicopters, and special crew training to manage automatic flight control systems, have now become formal US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration. The board’s call for TAWS to be fitted on turbine-powered helicopters with seating for six or more passengers was made three weeks ago in an accident report (Flight International, 21-27 March), but makes additional demands aimed at making Gulf of Mexico oil support operations safer.

As well as the TAWS and automatic flight-control systems demands, the NTSB wants the FAA to ensure that the national infrastructure for the automatic dependent surveillance – broadcast (ADS-B) is operational by fiscal year 2010 to enable radar-like tracking of low-level traffic in the area.

Meanwhile, the NTSB says, the FAA should inform operators of the benefits of commercial flight-tracking systems and encourage their acquisition. Among its list of safety demands is that the FAA should require helicopters with cockpit voice recorders to carry out a prescribed functional check every day before the first flight.

The FAA is also urged to ensure pilots are better trained on Honeywell SPZ-7000 series automatic flight control systems, particularly their coupling status annunciation.


Source: Flight International