NPA 2022-11 proposes to mandate the installation of a crash-resistant fuel system on all newly produced rotorcraft. Additionally, all existing rotorcraft operating in Europe will be required to undergo a retrofit within a defined timescale to ensure they conform.
Under current rules enforced since 1994, all newly produced certified rotorcraft are required to be fitted with a crash-resistant fuel system. However, EASA notes that there are still a number of rotorcraft types being produced and operated in the European Union (EU) that were certified before that year.
EASA stated in the proposal that currently ‘around 60 per cent of all rotorcraft in service across EU member states are compliant with requirements for occupant protection … with regards to crash-resistant fuel systems (CRFS)’.
The agency hopes the proposed regulatory changes would ‘provide an increase in the safety level of the European rotorcraft fleet, whilst providing a pragmatic period of compliance’.
EASA also noted that: “Furthermore, if no action is taken in Europe, there would be a regulatory difference with the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), [which] have mandated compliance with the CRFS requirements for newly manufactured rotorcraft that are operated or registered in the US.”
The proposal is available online, and has been opened to public comment – proposals can be submitted online until 13 February 2023. The NPA will be submitted to the European Commission later that year, with a final decision on the amendment expected in 2024.
A separate amendment to HEMS regulations proposed by EASA through NPA 2018-04 was delayed in September, following a request from stakeholders to slow down rulemaking activities.