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Pilot Association reacts to FAA heliport advisory

June 9, 2011  By Carey Fredericks

June 9, 2011, Washington, D.C. - In answer to the many questions regarding the FAA’s new heliport advisory circular rewrite efforts I would like to offer up the views of the National EMS Pilots Association (NEMSPA).

Given the huge impact and importance this particular advisory circular has on the entire helicopter industry and our community at every level and the fact that a rewrite of this magnitude does not occur very often, the last being in 2004, NEMSPA is reviewing it very carefully.
With the new adoption of the FAA Heliport A/C as a requirement by the NFPA for fire code compliance this past January, the FAA A/C is now mandatory for all new and upgraded heliports in most areas.  While the FAA A/C is advisory only in the eyes of the FAA, it is now 100% regulatory for the obtaining of building and fire permits.  Hence the importance to assure this AC is well founded on the needs of the industry for safe, cost-effective, and mission-responsive heliports.
NEMSPA, along with every other facet of the helicopter community will be putting together comments over the next few weeks to share with the rest of industry and the FAA. This will encompass what our opinions are and any concerns that we may have with the myriad of new changes that have been proposed in this new heliport advisory circular rewrite effort by the airports division of the FAA and their consultants.
My understanding is that the Helicopter Association International (HAI) along with the FAA will be co-hosting a two day meeting in Alexandria, VA July 12th and 13th.  This meeting will be held at HAI’s headquarters office where representatives from all of industry will sit down with the FAA's airports division along with several other liaisons from other FAA departments to discuss the newly rewritten heliport advisory circular.  This task force will be reviewing the new advisory circular’s merits, justifications, and any concerns that will need to be addressed prior to this document progressing further into the system
The FAA's Airport’s Division has posted a draft of the new A/C on the FAA web site just a little over a week ago for review and has asked that industry review the new advisory circular and make comments back to them by the end of July.
Link to draft A/C: http://www.faa.gov/airports/resources/draft_advisory_circulars/
It is our hope that  all parties involved from industry and the multiple disciplines within the FAA will work together to insure that the end product is a well written and fully vetted industry/FAA document which represents the best interest of all involved.  NEMSPA will work diligently with all groups to insure that this advisory circular is a positive for the entire industry and has no unintended consequences which could be crippling to any part of the helicopter community.


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