Recommendation R20030219

Recommendation issued to: Civil Aviation Safety Authority

Recommendation details
Output No: R20030219
Date issued: 16 December 2003
Safety action status:
Background: Why this Recommendation was developed

Output text

Safety Recommendation

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau recommends that the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, in conjunction with the relevant industry associations, highlight the safety benefits to helicopter pilots and crew of the wearing of personal protective equipment, such as helmets and personal flotation devices when carrying out water-bombing in support of fire fighting operations, through safety promotion initiatives.

Initial response
Date issued: 06 February 2004
Response from: Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Action status: Monitor
Response text:

The following response was received from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority 6 February 2004:

On 21 November 2003, CASA advised the Bureau that in 2004, a helicopter specific issue of FSA is planned for release. The safety benefits to helicopter pilots and crew of wearing personal protective equipment will be considered for publication as part of that issue.

Further correspondence
Date issued: 15 October 2007
Response from: Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Response status: Closed - Accepted
Response text:

In relation to personal protective equipment for pilots, CASA does not legally require pilots to wear helmets although most pilots engaged in specialised helicopter aerial work activities do wear helmets. In relation to floatation devices, CASA does require Life Jackets to be worn when single engine helicopters are operating greater than gliding distance from land. This is detailed in Civil Aviation Order (CAO), 20.11, 5.1.1(a) and 5.1.7. However, if the aircraft is operating within gliding distance there is no legal requirement. Some operators that have crews engaged in specialised helicopter activities supply their flight crews with crew vests such as the Switlik IIV35C which act as a floatation device and provides pockets for Emergency Locator Transmitters and flares.

CASA is of the view that all pilots engaged in these types of activities should be wearing helmets as there is sufficient evidence from accidents where helmets have saved the lives or reduced the severity of injuries to crews. In addition flight crew vests such as the Switlik are also a significant safety enhancement and should be encouraged. It is noted that ATSB are not recommending that CASA amend legislation but rather should raise awareness through safety promotion initiatives. CASA will draw this recommendation to the attention of its safety promotion areas for consideration and inclusion in future safety promotion actions.

Last update 03 April 2012