The Aviation ministry said that clear guidelines already exist regarding visibility and distance from clouds in which helicopters are permitted to operate in a safe manner.
India has recorded just six helicopter accidents in the last five years as compared to 507 accidents in the United States of America and 15 in the United Kingdom, said the Ministry of Civil Aviation to a parliamentary committee. A parliamentary standing committee on transport, tourism and culture headed by V. Vijayasai Reddy has observed that for decades, many lives are lost in helicopter accidents. The Committee feels that the Government should give paramount importance to the safety of helicopter operations in the country. The Committee may be apprised of the helicopter accident /incidents in the country and furnish a comparison of the same with developed countries during the last few years.
The ministry on Tuesday replied that clear guidelines already exist regarding visibility and distance from clouds in which helicopters are permitted to operate in a safe manner and the guidelines for flights in Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC) are mentioned in Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR).
The Committee strongly recommended that the Ministry may thoroughly examine the safety provisions presently in place to ensure safe helicopter operations and further strengthen the safety features and airworthiness checks for helicopters.
The Ministry may bring clear guidelines regarding the weather conditions in which helicopters can be permitted to be operated in a safe manner and work on issuing alerts/warnings to dissuade helicopter operations in particular regions owing to inclement weather conditions.
In addition, for commercial operations, the visibility for the conduct of Special Visual Flight Rules (VFR) flights is mentioned in CAR and the training and qualification requirements for the same are also mentioned in CAR.
Further, issuance of alerts/ warnings for inclement weather conditions is done by the respective Air Traffic Services units, and the same is available to all operational personnel before a flight and at the time of filing the Air Traffic Clearance.