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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation A-09-002
Details
Synopsis: On July 27, 2007, about 1246 mountain standard time, two electronic news gathering (ENG) helicopters, N613TV and N215TV, collided in midair while maneuvering in Phoenix, Arizona. The Eurocopter AS350B2 helicopters, from local channels 3 and 15, had been covering a police pursuit. N613TV, the channel 3 helicopter, was operated by KTVK-TV, and N215TV, the channel 15 helicopter, was operated by U.S. Helicopters, Inc., under contract to KNXV-TV. Each helicopter had a pilot-reporter and a photographer on board. The occupants on board both helicopters were killed, and the helicopters were destroyed by impact forces and postcrash fire. The helicopters were operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. No flight plans had been filed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident.
Recommendation: TO THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION: Require electronic news gathering operators to assign reporting responsibilities to someone other than the flying pilot unless it can be determined that the pilot’s workload would remain manageable under all conditions.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Alternate Action
Mode: Aviation
Location: Phoenix, AZ, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: LAX07MA231AB
Accident Reports: Midair Collision of Electronic News Gathering Helicopters KTVK-TV, Eurocopter AS350B2, N613TV, and U.S. Helicopters, Inc., Eurocopter AS350B2, N215TV
Report #: AAR-09-02
Accident Date: 7/27/2007
Issue Date: 2/9/2009
Date Closed: 10/5/2016
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FAA (Closed - Acceptable Alternate Action)
Keyword(s): Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (Public Operators)

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 10/5/2016
Response: We note that on June 28, 2016, you issued Advisory Circular (AC) 91-88, “Electronic News Gathering Operations,” which strongly encourages ENG operators to assign reporting responsibilities to someone other than the flying pilot unless it can be determined that the pilot’s workload would remain manageable under all conditions. We also note that the AC includes sample risk assessment tools and pilot-reported operational safety guidelines. Although the AC does not require operators to ensure that their pilots’ workloads remain manageable, we believe it will serve as a reminder to ENG pilots and aircraft operators that aviation tasks are critical to flight safety and may not be thoroughly completed when a pilot’s attention is diverted to non-aviation tasks. We also believe that the tools provided in the AC will be useful for identifying circumstances in which the pilot should be focusing solely on operating the aircraft and not on reporting. Consequently, we believe that the AC constitutes an acceptable alternate response to Safety Recommendation A-09-002, which is classified CLOSED--ACCEPTABLE ALTERNATE ACTION.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 7/6/2016
Response: -From Michael P. Huerta, Administrator: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is developing the new Electronic News Gathering Operations Advisory Circular (AC) which will address these four recommendations when it is likely published in 2016. The AC will include best practices and guidelines for ENG pilots and aircraft operators and sample risk assessment tools for use in enhancing overall safety during operations. The AC will also promote the use of electronic traffic advisory systems and provide information regarding the equipage of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) equipment both voluntarily (ADS-B IN) and required (ADS-BOUT). The AC will also address pilot-reporter responsibilities and provide recommendations related to task management and delegation of assignments to ensure duties and responsibilities are safely accomplished during ENG operations. For ENG operators, the AC will highlight the advantages of utilizing high-visibility rotor blade paint schemes and high-visibility anti-collision lighting on their aircraft to aid in collision avoidance. Finally, this AC will incorporate pertinent information from the Helicopter Association International's ENG Aviation Safety Manual detailing best practices for ENG operations and other helicopter operations. The manual is available at the following Web site: https://www.rotor.org/portals/I/ENG_Safety_Manual.pdf The FAA will provide an immediate notification once the referenced AC has been published.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 4/8/2016
Response: In your November 22, 2010, letter, you told us that you planned to issue an advisory circular (AC) that would incorporate workload guidelines to address pilot flying duties for helicopter operators, and brief helicopter operators on these guidelines. We responded that such actions would not satisfy Safety Recommendation A-09-2, and we encouraged you either to require that all ENG operators establish formal procedures that determine a pilot’s workload will remain manageable under all conditions during ENG operations, or to require that ENG operators assign reporting responsibilities to someone other than the flying pilot. Pending your taking the recommended action, Safety Recommendation A 09-2 was classified “Open?Unacceptable Response” on February 24, 2011. We are concerned because, although this recommendation is more than 7 years old, we have received no additional information from you since your 2010 letter. Please inform us about any progress that you may have made to address this safety issue. In the meantime, Safety Recommendation A-09-2 remains classified OPEN--UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 2/24/2011
Response: The NTSB previously noted the FAA’s plans to (1) issue an advisory circular (AC) that would incorporate workload guidelines to address pilot flying duties for helicopter operators, and (2) brief helicopter operators on these guidelines. However, the NTSB indicated that these actions would not satisfy Safety Recommendation A-09-2 without provisions for a determination that the flying pilot’s workload would remain manageable under all conditions. The NTSB believes that use of a risk matrix can be an effective method for identifying those conditions under which a pilot’s workload would remain manageable. Although we recognize that some ENG operators might incorporate additional or more stringent requirements, we are concerned that a standard level of safety will not be achieved unless all operators are required to use such a tool. Accordingly, the NTSB encourages the FAA either (1) to require that all ENG operators establish formal procedures that determine a pilot’s workload will remain manageable under all conditions during ENG operations or (2) to require that ENG operators assign reporting responsibilities to someone other than the flying pilot. Pending the FAA’s taking the recommended action, Safety Recommendation A-09-2 is classified OPEN – UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 11/22/2010
Response: CC# 201000421 - From J. Randolph Babbitt, Administrator: The Federal Aviation Administration delayed publishing an Advisory Circular (AC) for ENG operations until we reviewed the Helicopter Association International's (HAI) ENG Aviation Safety Manual and we could collect additional input from participants attending the FAA ENG Safety Conferences in 2010. These conferences are now complete. We will incorporate pertinent information from the HAI manual and these conferences into an AC detailing best practices for ENG operations, which we plan to publish by December 2010. This AC will include a risk matrix for determining conditions under which a pilot's workload will remain manageable during ENG operations. Some ENG operators may wish to incorporate more stringent requirements than those recommended by the FAA for assessing risk. For this reason, the FAA does not believe that creating a rule to require the use of this matrix would be appropriate.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 8/27/2009
Response: The FAA replied that it is reviewing the safety management procedures and guidelines specified in the Helicopter Association International’s (HAI) ENG Aviation Safety Manual and it plans to incorporate workload guidelines that will address flying pilot duties in an FAA advisory circular (AC) for helicopter operators, which it anticipates publishing by January 2010. In addition, the FAA reported that it plans to brief ENG helicopter operators on its workload guidelines during its annual regional helicopter safety conferences, scheduled to be held in the major metropolitan areas around the country. The FAA’s planned action to issue an AC and then brief helicopter operators on these guidelines will not satisfy Safety Recommendation A-09-2 without provisions for a determination that the flying pilot’s workload will remain manageable under all conditions. We encourage the FAA to include in the AC, procedures to determine that a pilot’s workload will remain manageable under all conditions during ENG operations or a requirement that ENG operators assign reporting responsibilities to someone other than the flying pilot. Pending the FAA’s issuance of an AC that meets the intent of the recommendation, Safety Recommendation A-09-2 is classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 4/17/2009
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 4/27/2009 2:52:43 PM MC# 2090266: - From J. Randolph Babbitt, Administrator: The Federal Aviation Administration is currently reviewing safety management procedures and guidelines specified in the Helicopter Association International’s (HAI) ENG Aviation Safety Manual. Specifically, pilot flying workload guidelines will be incorporated into an FAA advisory circular (AC) for helicopter operators. Workload guidelines will address pilot duties involving aircraft control, collision avoidance, navigation, and the radiohnter-cockpit communications. Guidelines will also address tasks specifically related to ENG operations such as reporting, monitoring station video broadcast from the helicopter, and communicating with the station news department. We anticipate publishing this AC by January 2010. In addition to publishing the AC, ENG helicopter operators in major metropolitan areas will be briefed on these guidelines during annual regional helicopter safety conferences.