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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation A-18-002
Details
Synopsis: These recommendations are derived from our investigation of a July 6, 2016, accident involving an experimental research and development Bell 525 helicopter, N525TA, which broke up in flight and impacted terrain near Italy, Texas. The two test pilots received fatal injuries, and the helicopter was destroyed.1 The helicopter was being operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 as a developmental flight test. As a result of this investigation, the NTSB is issuing one safety recommendation to the FTSC and one safety recommendation to Bell Helicopter Textron.
Recommendation: TO BELL HELICOPTER TEXTRON: Provide information about the lessons learned from the July 6, 2016, accident specific to the benefits of recording devices for parametric data, cockpit audio, and cockpit images during experimental flight test activities to interested manufacturers, flight test industry groups, and other appropriate parties.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Open - Acceptable Response
Mode: Aviation
Location: Italy, TX, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA16FA199
Accident Reports: Use of Recording Devices During Experimental Flight Test Activities
Report #: ASR-18-01
Accident Date: 7/6/2016
Issue Date: 1/16/2018
Date Closed:
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. (Open - Acceptable Response)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: Bell Helicopter Textron Inc.
Date: 7/6/2018
Response: We note that you are still planning to present the lessons learned from this accident at this year’s annual Society of Experimental Test Pilots International Symposium; however, your presentation to the Flight Test Safety Committee, which was previously scheduled for this year, has been rescheduled for next year. Pending the completion of these meetings and our receipt and review of your presentations and any associated materials distributed at the meetings, Safety Recommendation A-18-2 remains classified OPEN-ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: Bell Helicopter Textron Inc.
To: NTSB
Date: 5/7/2018
Response: -From William A. Randall, Manager, Continued Operational Safety, Bell: Thank you for your letter of April 10, 2018 concerning Bell's response to A-18-2. For completeness of your records, please be advised that Bell has shifted the scheduling of its presentations on the 525 Lessons Learned. We intend to make a presentation at the SETP Symposium in September and will make an additional presentation at the 2019 Flight Test Safety Committee workshop. At the completion of these events, Bell will submit the requested presentations for your review.

From: NTSB
To: Bell Helicopter Textron Inc.
Date: 4/10/2018
Response: We note that you plan to brief the flight test safety committee (FTSC) at a workshop scheduled for May 2018 about your post mishap evaluation and changes you have implemented as a result, including a policy change requiring aircraft undergoing high- and medium-risk test activities to have operational onboard or telemetry voice recording systems. We further note that you plan to give a presentation at the annual Society of Experimental Test Pilots (SETP) International Symposium in September 2018. Please send us copies of your presentations to the FTSC and the SETP, as well as any associated materials distributed at these meetings. Pending our review of the materials and completion of your presentations, Safety Recommendation A 18 2 is classified OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: Bell Helicopter Textron Inc.
To: NTSB
Date: 2/12/2018
Response: -From William A. Randall, Manager, Continued Operational Safety: The information contained herein is provided in response to the January 9, 2018 National Transportation Safety Board Safety Recommendation Report regarding the July 6, 2016 accident of a Bell 525 test article near Italy, Texas; NTSB Accident Number DCA 16FA 199. The action directed to Bell Helicopter stated: "Provide information about the lessons learned from the July 6, 2016, accident specific to the benefits of recording devices for parametric data, cockpit audio, and cockpit images during experimental flight test activities to interested manufacturers, flight test industry groups, and other appropriate parties (A-18-2)" As an aircraft developer and manufacturer, Bell Helicopter fully supports industry efforts to improve safety during aircraft developmental operations. Bell has been and is engaged on multiple fronts to share lessons learned from the event internally and with the larger industry and flight test communities. Our internal post mishap evaluation resulted in a policy change requiring high and medium risk test activities to have either on board or telemetry voice recording systems operational. Additionally, the use of cockpit cameras is now a standard for major development programs to include the 525 and V-280 programs. Bell's flight test activity has a robust and effective parametric data recording process with both on-board and telemetry systems. This importance of this capability is highlighted in our industry briefing. Bell began sharing lessons learned during the 525 return to flight briefings given to the FAA, TCCA and EASA. These briefings covered the root cause and corrective actions for returning the aircraft to flight, as well as Bell's internal efforts to enhance test processes including the voice recording policy, cockpit video and the value of parametric data. The next planned action is to submit a briefing to the flight test safety professionals at the upcoming Flight Test Safety Committee (FTSC) Workshop in Arlington, TX in May 2018. The FTSC is comprised of flight test professionals from the Society of Flight Test Engineers, The Society of Experimental Test Pilots (SETP) and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. We also plan to submit for presentation to the wider flight test audience at the annual SETP International Symposium in September 2018. Through the courses of action described above, Bell has and continues to convey the lessons learned from this tragic event along with the potential benefits of video, voice and other data recording and telemetry to regulators, flight test professionals, rotorcraft technical subject matter experts and other aircraft manufacturers.

From: NTSB
To: Bell Helicopter Textron Inc.
Date: 1/16/2018
Response: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged by Congress with investigating every civil aviation accident in the United States and significant accidents in other modes of transportation—railroad, highway, marine, and pipeline. We determine the probable cause of the accidents and issue safety recommendations aimed at preventing future accidents. In addition, we carry out special studies concerning transportation safety and coordinate the resources of the federal government and other organizations to provide assistance to victims and their family members affected by major transportation disasters. On January 9, 2018, the NTSB adopted its safety recommendation report Use of Recording Devices During Experimental Flight Test Activities, ASR-18/01. The details of a related accident investigation and the resulting safety recommendations may be found in the attached report, which can also be accessed at http://www.ntsb.gov. Among the Safety Recommendations is one issued to the Flight Test Safety Committee, which can be found on page 4 of the report. The NTSB is vitally interested in this recommendation because it is designed to prevent accidents and save lives. We would appreciate a response within 90 days, detailing the actions you have taken or intend to take to implement this recommendation.