Published: Sun, March 18, 2018

FAA Restricts Doors-Off Helicopter Tours

FAA Restricts Doors-Off Helicopter Tours

The FAA's statement follows the incident, with the agency adding that they are also conducting a thorough review of the current rules for these types of helicopter flights and are urging that operators, pilots, and consumers all be aware of the risks involved. "HAI wants to create the safest possible flight for the public".

In the wake of this week's deadly helicopter accident involving passengers who were harnessed into their seats for an "doors off" photo flight over NY, the Federal Aviation Administration on Friday said it was placing new restrictions on aircraft operators.

Five passengers were killed in the fatal mishap when the pilot of a Eurocopter AS350 being operated by Liberty Helicopters said he lost power. New York Fire Department divers had to cut the passengers' bodies loose.

Preliminary findings show no flight control malfunctions or evidence of engine abnormalities. Pilot Richard Vance was able to escape his and was the sole survivor of the flight.

Open-door flights, sometimes called doors-off flights, offer sweeping, unobstructed views of landmarks and skylines, making them popular with tourists and photographers who often dangle their feet outside. USA aviation regulations exempt operations including crop dusting, fire fighting and "aerial photography or survey".

The association certifies the safety of helicopter operators and refuses to give its accreditation to companies that conduct tours with open doors. On Friday, the agency said they found no signs of engine failure or pre-impact mechanical problems.

The Federal Aviation Administration, which oversees the industry, is "giving urgent attention to the use of harnesses specifically for aerial photography flights", it said in a statement on Wednesday.

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