This work will focus on solutions that give helicopter
occupants the greatest possible chance of surviving an
emergency landing or accident.
The FAA issued rules in the 1980s and 1990s to protect
helicopter crews and passengers from blunt force trauma
and post-crash fires. Those rules raised occupant
protection standards for new type-design helicopters.
However, the rules did not apply to newly-manufactured
helicopters with older type designs still in production,
including new “derivative” models that are sufficiently
similar to older type designs.
a result, most helicopters produced today are not
required to include life-saving features such as
crash-resistant fuel systems and energy-absorbing seats
mandated by later rules, and voluntary equipage has been
In fact, as of the end of 2014, only 16 percent of the
helicopter fleet included crash-resistant fuel systems
and only 10 percent had energy absorbing seats. The
Rotorcraft Occupant Protection Working Group will
provide the FAA with three reports over the next