View all text of Chapter 447 [§ 44701 - § 44743]

§ 44730. Helicopter air ambulance operations
(a)Compliance Regulations.—
(1)In general.—Except as provided in paragraph (2), not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this section, a part 135 certificate holder providing air ambulance services shall comply, whenever medical personnel are onboard the aircraft, with regulations pertaining to weather minimums and flight and duty time under part 135.
(2)Exception.—If a certificate holder described in paragraph (1) is operating, or carrying out training, under instrument flight rules, the weather reporting requirement at the destination shall not apply if authorized by the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration.
(b)Final Rule.—Not later than June 1, 2012, the Administrator shall issue a final rule, with respect to the notice of proposed rulemaking published in the Federal Register on October 12, 2010 (75 Fed. Reg. 62640), to improve the safety of flight crewmembers, medical personnel, and passengers onboard helicopters providing air ambulance services under part 135.
(c)Matters To Be Addressed.—In conducting the rulemaking proceeding under subsection (b), the Administrator shall address the following:
(1) Flight request and dispatch procedures, including performance-based flight dispatch procedures.
(2) Pilot training standards, including establishment of training standards in—
(A) preventing controlled flight into terrain; and
(B) recovery from inadvertent flight into instrument meteorological conditions.
(3) Safety-enhancing technology and equipment, including—
(A) helicopter terrain awareness and warning systems;
(B) radar altimeters; and
(C) devices that perform the function of flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders, to the extent feasible.
(4) Such other matters as the Administrator considers appropriate.
(d)Minimum Requirements.—In issuing a final rule under subsection (b), the Administrator, at a minimum, shall provide for the following:
(1)Flight risk evaluation program.—The Administrator shall ensure that a part 135 certificate holder providing helicopter air ambulance services—
(A) establishes a flight risk evaluation program, based on FAA Notice 8000.301 issued by the Administration on August 1, 2005, including any updates thereto;
(B) as part of the flight risk evaluation program, develops a checklist for use by pilots in determining whether a flight request should be accepted; and
(C) requires the pilots of the certificate holder to use the checklist.
(2)Operational control center.—The Administrator shall ensure that a part 135 certificate holder providing helicopter air ambulance services using 10 or more helicopters has an operational control center that meets such requirements as the Administrator may prescribe.
(e)Subsequent Rulemaking.—
(1)In general.—Upon completion of the rulemaking required under subsection (b), the Administrator shall conduct a follow-on rulemaking to address the following:
(A) Pilot training standards, including—
(i) mandatory training requirements, including a minimum time for completing the training requirements;
(ii) training subject areas, such as communications procedures and appropriate technology use; and
(iii) establishment of training standards in—(I) crew resource management;(II) flight risk evaluation;(III) operational control of the pilot in command; and(IV) use of flight simulation training devices and line-oriented flight training.
(B) Use of safety equipment that should be worn or used by flight crewmembers and medical personnel on a flight, including the possible use of shoulder harnesses, helmets, seatbelts, and fire resistant clothing to enhance crash survivability.
(2)Deadlines.—Not later than 180 days after the date of issuance of a final rule under subsection (b), the Administrator shall initiate the rulemaking under this subsection.
(3)Limitation on construction.—Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to require the Administrator to propose or finalize any rule that would derogate or supersede the rule required to be finalized under subsection (b).
(f)Definitions.—In this section, the following definitions apply:
(1)Part 135.—The term “part 135” means part 135 of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations.
(2)Part 135 certificate holder.—The term “part 135 certificate holder” means a person holding an operating certificate issued under part 119 of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, that is authorized to conduct civil helicopter air ambulance operations under part 135.
(Added Pub. L. 112–95, title III, § 306(a), Feb. 14, 2012, 126 Stat. 58.)